Staff

  • Joleen Ruffin, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

  • Since joining the Berkeley Community Fund as its Executive Director in 2013, the organization has tripled the number of students we serve on an annual basis and doubled our annual budget to provide the support our students need to successfully graduate college. Joleen has a rich background in scholarship assistance, operations management and student development. Her experience includes work with nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and private foundations, including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Stuart Foundation and UC Berkeley’s Office of Student Development. Like many of our scholars, Joleen was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college. She holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon.

  • Lynn Walker, College Success Manager

  • Lynn grew up on the east coast and earned her B.S. in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. She began her career serving youth and families in the child welfare system in New York City. Her passion for improving access to resources and opportunities for youth led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work from UT Austin and later to obtain a certificate in College Admissions and Career Planning from UC Berkeley. In her role as the College Success Manager, she develops programs and provides coaching and support to empower scholars to reach their higher education and career goals. Since joining BCF in 2014, Lynn has focused her efforts on deepening relationships with community partners and growing a supportive community of mentors, scholars, and alumni. She has increased scholar engagement by involving students in the planning and delivery of services. Lynn is grateful to the High Hopes Scholars whose talents, drive, and social activism provide constant inspiration and hope for future generations.

  • Linda Osuorji, College Success Advisor

  • Linda’s relationship with youth development began when she had the opportunity to mentor an incredible young woman when she was a senior in college. The interaction sparked her interest and commitment to providing youth-centered programming to students. The experience inspired Linda to start her career in the mentoring field once she graduated from CSU, Chico with a B.S. in Psychology. Her continued passion in working alongside students to reach their goals led to her having more than 12 years of comprehensive experience across multiple community service organization providing program development and implementation, youth and family support, and staff coaching. Linda recently pursued her Master’s degree in Leadership for Social Justice from Saint Mary’s College which later brought her to BCF. As the College Success Advisor, her role includes developing the High Hopes Scholarship mentor program, supporting scholars and their mentors to achieve their full potential, and creating networks of support and resources. Linda is excited to be part of the BCF team and continue the work to ensure opportunities and access for our young people.

  • Fatima Rodriguez-Ortiz, Program Coordinator

  • Fatima first joined the organization in 2016 and serves as BCF's Program Coordinator. She is the first in her family to graduate from college and was once a recipient of the High Hopes Scholarship in 2010. Fatima holds a double degree in Latin American/Latino Studies and Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. She has a strong passion for social justice, which led her towards internship opportunities at various organizations such as Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos, CURYJ, RISE and Y-Scholars. As coordinator, Fatima oversees the Berkeley Promise Scholarship Program, managing the application process, developing the curriculum for cohort meetings and conducting individual meetings. She one day hopes to become the director of her own non-profit organization providing retention programs for promising youth.

  • Colleen Sparks, Marketing & Program Assistant

  • A former High Hopes Scholar herself, Colleen initially joined the BCF staff as an intern, and currently works as the Marketing and Program Assistant. Her duties include managing our website, writing monthly newsletters, designing graphics and updating social media. She also helps support the scholarship programs and accounting. Colleen graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A in Community Studies and a minor in Education. Her studies focused on contemporary issues in education, social justice theories, advocacy, and community building. She has long had a passion for education and social justice, leading her to intern for other education focused non-profits, and is thrilled to be able to give back to the organization that helped her through college. Colleen is now pursuing her M.A in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of San Francisco.