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About Us

Guidestar Transparency Medal

As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization exclusively focused on food policy, CFPA dedicates the whole of its time, resources, and energy towards increasing low-income Californians access to healthy food. Support our work.

In 2016, CFPA engaged in a strategic planning process to establish programmatic & organizational priorities for the next three years. Learn more about CFPA's goals for 2017-19 and our commitment to advance equity and diversity. link



Our Team

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Jared Call, Managing Policy Advocate
Phone 323.401.4972, jared@cfpa.net
Jared leads the development of our Federal Agenda, and focuses on the intersection of the anti-hunger and anti-poverty movements and CFPA's mission. Current projects include advocating for a strong SNAP/CalFresh program in the federal budget, implementing policies to improve CalFresh access and participation, and ensuring successful implementation of state-funded nutrition benefit pilot projects. Jared received his BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University.

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Melissa Cannon, MS, RD, Policy Advocate
Phone 213.447.2300, melissa@cfpa.net
Melissa advocates progressive programs and policies that promote fair access to food for our state’s critically underserved communities. She specializes in the intersection of law, health care, and access to public benefits. Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and holds a Masters of Science in Health Policy and Law from UCSF and UC Hastings School of Law. She joined CFPA in 2015.

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Elsa M. Esparza, RD, Sarah Samuels Public Health Fellow
Cell 909.477.0253, elsa@cfpa.net
Elsa received her B.S. in Clinical Nutrition at UC Davis, completed her dietetic internship at CSU Sacramento, and is currently a Master of Public Health student at UC Berkeley. As the Sarah Samuels Public Health Fellow, this summer she will be synthesizing evidence and crafting a policy analysis with recommendations to increase the use of WIC benefits and strategies to better serve the needs of eligible individuals and their families.

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Elyse Homel Vitale, MPH, Senior Advocate
Office 510.433.1122 ext. 206, Cell 858.449.3597, elyse@cfpa.net
Elyse leads CFPA's annual administrative advocacy development process, directs CFPA's early childhood advocacy initiatives, and specializes in child-related policy advocacy. She holds an MPH from UCLA, and joined CFPA in 2010. Elyse has over 10 years of experience leading public health, social services, research, organizing, and advocacy projects.

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George Manalo-LeClair, MSW, Executive Director
Office 510.433.1122 ext. 103, Cell 415.794.6080, george@cfpa.net
George provides overall policy and administrative leadership for the organization. For many years, George directed CFPA's legislative efforts and led CFPA's CalFresh team, championing efforts to remove barriers to participation. Prior to joining CFPA, he was the Legislative Director for the Children's Alliance in Washington. George has a master's degree in social work and nearly three decades of experience in advocacy dating back to his time with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. He joined CFPA in 1999.

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Gwyneth Manser, MS, Mellon Public Scholar
Cell 609.314.0554, gwyneth@cfpa.net
Gwyneth received her Master of Science in Geography from Portland State University and is currently a Geography Ph.D. student at the University of California, Davis. As a Mellon Public Scholar, this summer she will be working with CFPA to help tell the stories of immigrants experiencing hunger, and leveraging that information to drive CFPA’s policy agenda in that arena. She has expertise in food systems and equity issues, and has conducted research on food access in Portland, Oregon, and food insecurity amongst students at the University of California, Davis.

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Tracey Patterson, MPH, Director of Engagement and Strategy
Office 510.433.1122 ext. 101, Cell 415.794.8645, tracey@cfpa.net
Tracey directs CFPA's state legislative agenda and the annual policy development process. Her area of expertise includes working in collaboration with communities to advance policies that increase access to food through the federal nutrition programs and improve the quality of food available in schools and communities. Prior to joining CFPA in 2013, she had a over a decade of experience working in and alongside high-poverty communities in California, Louisiana and New York. She has a MPH from the City University of New York.

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Tia Shimada, MPH, Director of Programs
Office 510.433.1122 ext. 109, tia@cfpa.net
Tia provides overarching leadership for CFPA’s programmatic work. She also oversees CFPA’s annual research agenda. Her areas of expertise include policy advocacy to optimize the federal nutrition programs and harnessing research to drive public policy. Tia has a strong interest in advancing equity and inclusion through systems change. She received her Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley and joined the staff in 2009.

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Gabby Tilley, MPP, Policy Advocate
Office 213.482.8200 ext. 202, Cell 562.544.7105, gabby@cfpa.net
Gabby leads CFPA’s work to increase food access among immigrant Californians; and provides communications and organizing support around efforts to extend the reach of state and federal nutrition programs. Prior to joining CFPA, Gabby served two AmeriCorps VISTA terms with the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps where she worked to increase SNAP participation and promote collaboration between anti-hunger organizations across the country. She received her Master of Public Policy from University of Southern California and joined the staff in 2018.