Advisory Board

Board of Directors

Ruth Bender ~ Governance

image of Ruth Bender Ruth is the Director of Donor Advised Funds at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. Previously, as Philanthropic Advisor with Tides Foundation in San Francisco, Ruth specialized in international grantmaking and family foundation management. She managed Tides' global grantmaking efforts, enabling U.S.-based donors to efficiently fund organizations overseas; provided family and other private foundation clients with program and management services; and worked with Tides' Corporate Giving clients, helping to facilitate both domestic and global giving for corporations and corporate foundations. Until recently, Ruth sat on the Board of Directors of Mountainfilm in Telluride, GirlVentures and Grantmakers without Borders; and served on the steering committee for American Jewish World Service’s Bay Area Global Circle. She is also on the steering committee for Northern California Grantmakers’ Family Philanthropy Exchange.

Ruth enjoys traveling off the beaten path—including having been to Mali, documentary photography, telemark skiing, hiking with her dog, and renovating her house. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Colby College, and Certificates in Sustainable Management and Sports and Sustainability from the Presidio Graduate School.

Jamie Dubey ~ Secretary

image of Jamie Dubey Jamie is an attorney and consultant who has served as Chief of Operations and Innovations for the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. James also served as Senior Counsel for Yahoo! Inc., and helped to design, establish and chair Yahoo's premier philanthropic initiative, the Yahoo Employee Foundation. Prior to Yahoo, Jamie served as senior counsel and director of acquisitions for Supercuts, Inc. and was an attorney with O'Melveny & Myers. He is passionate about fostering sustainable development and social justice and has worked on volunteer projects in India, Uganda and Mexico. Jamie joined the AJWS board of trustees in January 2007 and is a member of the executive committee.

Jamie holds a JD from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley; and a BA, summa cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Stephen H. Swire ~ Treasurer

image of Stephen Swire Stephen Swire has been a resident of San Francisco since 1981. He is the Manager of Swire Property Group, active since the mid-1980s in the investment, re-development and development of mostly commercial properties in California, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon. He has been involved in numerous organizations at Board level, including Jewish Family and Children's Services (JFCS), the Jewish Community Federation and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Stephen has a BA from Pomona College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Stephen has a great interest in both the French culture and language.


Jackie Hoffner

image of Jackie Hoffner Jackie received her Bachelors degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Irvine, and worked in research at U.C. Irvine and the University of Washington. She has spent the last 18 years raising her two children while living in England, Russia and the United States. Currently, she is co-owner of Silverwood Ranch in Sonoma County, California.

Jackie is on the Advisory Team for the Alexander Valley Film Society, and also volunteers for WildAid, an organization that works to end the illegal wildlife trade.

Susana Millman

image of Susana Millman After a childhood in Manhattan and an academic career at Cornell and Columbia, Susana found her personal calling in world travel, first in South America where she studied certain aspects of ethno-botany. Eventually she took up photography, and the combination of wanderlust and a camera has taken her to places as diverse as Rajasthan, Myanmar (Burma), Western China, East Africa, and West Africa—specifically Mali.

While preparing for her visit to Mali, Susana met Barry Hoffner through mutual friends. His description of the organization's work there and the schools that Caravan to Class supports moved her, and she found great pleasure visiting and photographing the Mora and Tedeini schools during her time there in January, 2012. The subsequent events in Mali that began almost immediately after her departure have only fueled her interest in the country—and in Caravan to Class.

Shana Soltani

image of Shana Soltani Shana Soltani manages the KIVA Fellows Program, which places skilled volunteers with Kiva's field partners - including microfinance institutions, non-profit organizations, and social enterprises in over 60 countries around the world. Prior to her role at Kiva, Shana served as Director of Operations for the California office of Free the Children and worked with the Monitoring and Evaluation team of Search for Common Ground in Cote d'Ivoire. Shana's passion for development work and West African culture was established during a study abroad program in Mali in 2001, and she has returned to West Africa several times since then.

Shana holds a Master's Degree in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute for International Studies, and earned a certificate from the Development Project Management Institute in 2008.


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“The purpose of life is not to be happy—but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.”

~ Leo Rosten

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