Fund for Elders’ Independence Board of Trustees


Top Row: Nader Shabahangi, Braden Busch, Pello Walker, Karen White
Bottom Row: Michael Smart, Linda Trowbridge, Amy Kimmel, Lenore McDonald, Karlya Shelton-Benjamin

Fund for Elders’ Independence is a 501c3 foundation established in 2010 by Center for Elders’ Independence board of directors whose mission is to create awareness and diversify funding for Center for Elders’ Independence through fundraising.


Amy Kimmel, Chair, is the Director for Employer Relations and LLM at her alma mater, University of California, Hasting College of the Law. She both coaches LLM students on career and professional development in the US and cultivates and strengthens relationships with employers on behalf of UC Hastings students and alumni. Prior to returning to UC Hastings, Amy was a partner in a small firm in Oakland with a diverse civil litigation practice. She received her B.A. in Journalism from University of Oregon and is a very energetic and vocal Ducks fan. She lives in Berkeley and is proud to serve her community through her work with CEI. CEI was fortunate to meet Amy at The Volunteer Center of San Francisco’s annual Board Match forum while she was seeking an opportunity to become involved as a non-profit volunteer leader and to give back to the community.


Péllo Walker, Trustee, (Vice Chair) is the President of Daily Digital Imaging, a “Certified Green” direct marketing, print and mail company.  With over 20 years of creative ideas and information industry experience, Péllo has helped create successful campaigns for elected officials, and marketing products and services for companies.  He has also been a moderator and facilitator of C-level mastermind groups since 1998.  Known for his tireless energy and being an accomplished public speaker, Péllo has been asked to speak regularly at institutions of higher learning, conferences and organizations, and has emceed for many non-profit fundraisers.  Péllo is also a gourmet cook and sits on the board of the Diablo Valley College Foundation.


Braden Busch, Trustee (Secretary) is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Scion Staffing and Partner of Scion Executive Search. He’s a consultative nonprofit strategist and executive search partner. Over the past 12 years, Braden, has led hundreds of searches for nonprofit organizations, foundations and educational institutions in the Bay Area. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Oregon and lives on the Island of Alameda.


Kava Massih, Trustee (Treasurer) principal of Kava Massih Architects, has been a driving force behind a wide range of innovative architectural designs in the Bay Area since founding the firm in 1996, including local favorites Berkeley Bowl, Samuel Merritt University’s Library and Health Science Center II, Red Bull headquarters, AgeSong Assisted Living at Bayside in Emeryville, and the Cath Lab at Alameda County’s Highland Hospital. His specialty is challenging urban settings or where existing structures must be incorporated, rehabilitated or preserved. The firm proudly works with non-profit groups and often donates services and time to help nonprofits secure financial grants and fundraising efforts. Kava resides in Berkeley ad maintains offices in both San Francisco and Berkeley.


Karlya Benjamin, Founding Trustee, is a Fine Jewelry Professional, freelance photographer and former principal ballerina with the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York. As a ballerina she performed all over the world, at The White House, Kennedy Center and at the Royal Opera House for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In her freelance business, photography and design by Karlya, she uses “natural settings to capture quality moments to capture the quality of the moment and create memorable photographs” of people, places and things. Thirty-five of her photos are on display in the photo-mosaic at the entrance to the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. She attended school in Paris and has over 10 years of experience in fine jewelry. She lived and worked in Denver, New York, Paris, and Beverly Hills before settling in the East Bay. Karlya is a GIA certified Applied Jewelry Professional (A.J.P. ) and is currently a consultant and designer with Pavé Fine Jewelry in Oakland. She coaches dancers upon request and is fluent in French.


Linda Trowbridge is the CEO of Center for Elders’ Independence since July 2013, bringing 30 years of health care management experience and a longtime interest in the PACE model of integrated care. During her 30-plus year career, Linda has been involved strategically and as an operational leader in most areas of the health care arena, including delivery systems with acute care hospitals, physician groups, home care and hospice, long term care, and managed care, with large national and regional health care systems including Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph Health System, Catholic Healthcare West (now Dignity Health) and Sisters of Providence Health System. Most recently, she was a Principal at Health Management Associates, Inc. where she worked with integrated organizations, housing, health plans and community‐based organizations and responded to opportunities and challenges created through the Affordable Care Act. For 17 years, Linda served as a member of the governing board of On Lok, the original PACE provider located in San Francisco.


Michael Smart, Founding Trustee, is a retired health care administrator and former CEO of Alameda County Medical Center. Mike holds master’s degrees in public administration and in social work from the University of Missouri. For many years, Mike has served as the Chair of the CEI Board of Directors and was instrumental in the formation of the Fund for Elders’ Independence as a means to expand CEI’s services to more seniors while growing and diversifying revenues for CEI.


Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D., Founding Trustee (Secretary) is the CEO and co-founder, with his two brothers, of AgeSong, an assisted living community for seniors with six locations in San Francisco and the East Bay. An author and licensed psychotherapist, Shabahangi creates programs with the purpose of caring more comprehensively for the elderly. He teaches 'eldership' workshops in Europe and the United States that explore the difference between getting 'old' and growing into the role of an elder. Nader earned his doctorate at Stanford University and utilizes psychotherapy interns in his programs.


Flo Raskin, Trustee, began her career at Kaiser Permanente in 1986 at the Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center. She served as Assistant Administrator for Support Services, and then transitioned to work at KP Regional Offices on projects related to skilled nursing and durable medical equipment.  Since 1994 Flo has worked in Continuing Care, overseeing services including Home Health, Hospice, SNF, DME, Ambulance, case management programs, palliative care and life care planning, and care outside of KP. Flo earned her BS at Cornell University, and her MPH and MBA at the University of California, Berkeley. Flo has two young adult children, and lives with her husband in Piedmont. Flo is engaged in community service, and loves to travel and to hike.


Anne Bookin, Trustee, is an attorney living in Oakland with her attorney husband, Dan. For years, Anne has devoted her time and resources to be the primary long-distance caregiver for her parents in New York City. Anne read about Center for Elders’ Independence’s PACE program in the local Montclarian News and contacted CEI to learn more.  That lead to her leading the effort to form a foundation to help support growing CEI’s innovative Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, community-health model and make it available for more seniors and families.  Long after her son and daughter graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School, Anne has continued to coach their award-winning Mock Trial teams as a lead volunteer.


Irem Mertol, Trustee, is a Director at McKesson Ventures, a $250M healthcare venture fund for McKesson    Corporation. She invests in early to growth-stage healthcare technology and services companies that are significantly impacting cost and quality outcomes in the industry. Irem brings several years of experience as both an investor and entrepreneur across healthcare companies such as Burd Health, Omada Health, and Caremerge. She is especially passionate about discovering new delivery models and technologies to improve aging in place.  Irem holds an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and earned her undergraduate degree in Economics and Biomedical Engineering from Duke University.


Lenore McDonald, Executive Director, joined the Center for Elders’ Independence in October 2011 as its first Director of Development to oversee the newly formed Fund for Elders’ Independence.  A fundraising professional for over a decade, Lenore previously managed Golden Gate University’s Alumni Association and served as Director of Development & Alumni Services, responsible for growing unrestricted annual giving and programming for GGU’s 68,000 alumni. She is a certified fund‐raising executive (CFRE) by the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2007; was certified in project management (PMP) by Project Management International in 2002; and earned a certificate in Non‐Profit Leadership from Golden Gate University in 2010.  A long‐time recreational bicyclist and cycling advocate, Lenore commutes daily to CEI’s Oakland headquarters on her bicycle.  She founded “Gals With Gears” in 2013 and leads bike rides for women cyclists of 50+ years throughout the Bay Area.  She also organizes CEI’s bike riding group, the “PACE Setters”. Lenore formerly served on the Board of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and chaired its fundraising committee.  Currently she serves on the board of the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.