Dwight Alexander is Vice President and Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBSF). The FHLBSF is a wholesale banking institution with over $250 billion in assets, providing liquidity for its over 400 member financial institutions in California, Arizona and Nevada. There, Mr. Alexander is responsible for representing the Bank before Congress and its regulators. Prior to joining the FHLBSF, Mr. Alexander spent 10 years as an investment banker and financial advisor to states and local governments. In addition to his work responsibilities, Mr. Alexander is very active in the San Francisco community having served as President of the City and County of San Francisco Planning Commission (2004-2008) and currently sits on the boards of several Bay Area companies and non-profit organizations. Mr. Alexander is married to his wife of 16 years, and together they have two children.
Mr. Alexander holds J.D. degree from the Syracuse University College of Law, a Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.) from the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and is a graduate of Carleton College where he received a B.A. degree in Political Science. Mr. Alexander has served on the AFS Board for many years. He is currently the President of the Board of Directors and Chairs the Board’s Executive Committee.
“One of the hallmarks of a great society is how it cares for its children and its elderly. I believe with all of my heart that our communities are made more vibrant and humane by the work done by AFS. I feel privileged to be able to work along side the men and women that comprise AFS and perform such a vital role in our communities.”
Chair, Development Committee
CPA, Chair, Audit Committee
Sandra Collier is a Certified Public Accountant with more than twenty five years of experience, primarily in the financial services industry. Ms. Collier held several senior executive positions including Vice President and Controller of Irwin Home Equity Corporation, Controller of Paymap, Inc., Vice President of Secondary Marketing Finance and Operations at North American Mortgage Company and Revenue Manager at E-Loan, Inc. She has a BS from Sonoma State University in Business Management/Accounting and holds a California CPA license. In 2009 Ms. Collier decided to step-back from the for-profit business world in favor of non-profit work. She is currently working on a Masters Degree in Applied Anthropology from California State University and plans to continue working in the nonprofit sector after completing her degree program. Ms. Collier joined the AFS Board in 2010. Ms. Collier currently serves as the Chair of the Board’s Audit Committee.
“Serving as a Board Member to Alternative Family Services is personally gratifying to me. I recognize the need in Northern California for the kind of high quality programs and services AFS delivers to children in the foster care system.”
Lillie Ellison served as the Recruitment Manager for the City and County of San Francisco for four years. Prior to her position with the City of San Francisco, Ms. Ellison held several management positions in private sector organizations. She was one of the founding members of the Adecco Technical staffing division that serves global clients in technology based staffing services. Lillie received many notable awards throughout her 20 year career. Currently, Ms. Ellison is a human resources and recruitment process management consultant and lives in San Francisco. She holds a Bachelors degree in Organizational Management.
“I joined AFS because I was so impressed with the work they are doing with foster children that I wanted to support them in any way that I could. Helping children has always been one of my great passions and AFS has given me the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.”
Ms. Biel is a self employed paralegal in a practice she established over 25 years ago that offers legal services and assistance to San Francisco landlords. Married, she is the mother of five children. In the mid 1970s Ms. Biel was one of the first foster children placed with AFS. Her current involvement with AFS stems from her desire to give back to the organization, and be proactive in spreading awareness of the organization.
“I was a foster child, in the system many years ago and understand the full scope of being in foster care and being a foster child that succeeded and then emerged as a successful adult. I want AFS to continue to be the frontrunner agency to be available at that first critical moment when a child needs us to be there for them.”
Executive Director and Board Member ex officio
Dr. Berlin is the founder and Executive Director of AFS. In 1973 he was hired by Huckleberry House in San Francisco to create a foster care program for teenage runaways. That program was reincorporated as Alternative Family Services, which began independent operations on July 1, 1978. Dr. Berlin graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1969, earned his Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Goddard College in 1974 and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology in 1989. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on alienation and self esteem in Vietnamese refugee foster children. He has continuously guided the growth and development of AFS for almost 38 years.
“People need people, it is just that simple. Researchers have looked at why one child from challenging circumstances may have succeeded, while another from near identical circumstances did not. Invariably, the researchers found that the successful child was one who had key support from someone at a critical time of need. It may have been a parent, a grandparent, a clergyman, a neighbor. Having that critical support makes all the difference. AFS seeks to offer tangible, physical, moral, logistical, and financial support to the clients entrusted to our care, but also to our foster parents, staff and volunteers. This is the true meaning of our “extended family” concept.
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