Staff and Board
Michael has 25 years' experience in Bay Area politics. He started managing political campaigns with the California League of Conservation Voters, before becoming the Executive Director of the San Francisco Democratic Party and most recently the Senior Chapter Director at the Sierra Club Bay Chapter. Throughout his career Michael has led or worked on several dozens of election campaigns, dispatched thousands of volunteers, and made too many phone calls to count.
Campaign Director and Spokesperson
Ben graduated from Boston University in 2006 and began his organizing career right away by working to unionize healthcare workers in Massachusetts. Since then he has fundraised for various non-profit organizations, directed canvass operations and done electoral field organizing. Prior to working with Evolve Ben ran a telephone outreach project for the San Francisco Democratic Party and Labor Council during the fall 2010 election cycle. Aside from being a political junkie Ben enjoys hiking and wildlife photography.
Campaign Organizer and Volunteer Coordinator
Rachita graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2017 with a Political Science degree. It was here that she developed a passion for social justice and equality. During her experiences tutoring elementary students in Oakland, she saw first-hand that many students do not have access to a proper education because of systemic issues, especially students from low income minority communities. In pursuit of understanding the reasons behind these inequities at a deeper level, Rachita interned at Evolve during the summer of 2016. After graduation, she combined her passion for social justice with environmental justice by fundraising for Greenpeace across the Bay Area. Her motivation to get reform of Prop 13 on the ballot as soon as possible is what brought her back to Evolve. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music of contrasting genres, eating yummy vegetarian food (including ice cream), and visiting hipster coffee shops.
Emily is a senior at the University of San Francisco where she is completing her bachelor's degree in Sociology and minors in Legal Studies and Public Service & Community Engagement. During Emily's first two years of college, she worked as an elementary school tutor in the San Francisco Unified School District where she developed a passion for education and social justice. While studying sociology and working with elementary school students, Emily learned about the systemic inequalities that are drastically affecting our public schools--especially those in low-income communities. She joined the Evolve team to fight to increase funding for our California public schools. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading/watching sci-fi books and shows, finding new places to eat, and going out with her friends for milk tea.
Jennifer Ayala is currently a sophomore at the University of San Francisco where she is working towards her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in Legal Studies and Latin American Studies. Born and raised in San Francisco, Jennifer has been able to see the city undergo serious changes over the past couple of years and it is through the impact of these changes that she has developed a passion for social justice. As a first generation college student, Jennifer has been well aware of the social injustices and inequalities that plague the nation and her passion is to tackle these inequalities, hoping that everyone will have an equal opportunity to succeed. She has joined the Evolve team as an intern in order to combat those inequalities by supporting and working towards efforts to raise funding for public schools in California. In her spare time, she enjoys being an ice cream connoisseur, exploring the streets of San Francisco, and raising awareness on issues surrounding the Latinx community.
Tyler is a sophomore at UC Berkeley, pursuing a B.A. in Civil Engineering and a minor in Public Policy. As the son of two teachers working in underprivileged schools, but also having attended a higher quality public school district for all his life, Tyler has seen first hand the disparity in our education system. He knows just how much a quality education can impact the lives of our nation’s youth, and the importance that early classroom experiences can have on a child’s access to higher education. He believes that when large corporations finally pay their fair share of the tax burdens that have been increasingly shouldered by residential homeowners, Prop. 13 can finally fulfill its originally intended purpose. In the process, all Californians will reap the benefits of increased funding for our schools and vital public programs. In his free time, Tyler enjoys watching television dramas and comedies, reading fantasy novels, and studying/relaxing with his friends.
Valeria Ballesteros is a junior at the University of San Francisco, where she is working towards her bachelor’s in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She hopes to work towards prison reform to make it a more rehabilitative system rather than continuing with the punitive broken system that it is today. While at the same time breaking down the stigma the general public has on ex-convicts and make the transition for them to mainstream society easier so that recidivism rates diminish as well as homelessness. She has many ideas on how to make the criminal justice system both safe for the public, as well as humane and rehabilitative for the convict. Her concern scope is vast, as she is also concerned on international affairs, local and nationwide problems the public faces daily. She believes schools in California as well as emergency services need much bigger budgets as they are vital to the safety and prosperity of our state and country. She believes that reforming Proposition 13 will benefit the general public by making corporations pay their fair share. In her spare time she enjoys rock climbing, conversing with friends, watching movies and visiting the dog park with her own dog, Tecate.
Board of Directors
Anna is a graduate of the Greencorps Field School for Environmental Organizing. She has led environmental and public interest campaigns across the country. After settling in the Bay Area Anna managed the Sierra Club’s local environmental campaigns, winning campaigns to protect hillsides in Livermore and creating solar energy programs in San Francisco. Anna is currently a Senior Organizer with Greenpeace where she supports environmental campaigns across the globe.
Laura launched her career as a State Organizer for NARAL and has been active in public life ever since. Laura has led environmental campaigns as the Organizing Manger for the Bay Chapter Sierra Club, designed statewide electoral and media strategy with MSHC Partners, and worked on many San Francisco political campaigns. She is currently the Executive Director of the California Music and Culture Association and is active in San Francisco politics.
Emil began his involvement in social activism as an undergraduate student at the University of California at Santa Barbara and went on to volunteer on numerous anti-war and fair-pay/workers’ rights campaigns. As lead organizer for Evolve's school board and city council resolution campaign, he was instrumental in crafting effective messaging and working with local elected officials to pass over 110 resolutions statewide in support of Prop.13 reform. He currently works on providing free job skills-training opportunities at Jewish Vocational Service based in San Francisco. He is also a composer. More about him and his music may be found at emilmargolis.com.
Samuel Kippen is an organizer with eight years of experience in nonprofit advocacy and campaigns. As one of Evolve's first staff and now a longtime member of its Board, Sam is committed to reforming Proposition 13 to save California's struggling schools. Sam has worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council, 50+1 Strategies, and an array of progressive candidates and ballot initiatives. He currently serves as Community and Government Relations Specialist at Kamehameha, an $11 billion charitable trust with a mission to uplift Native Hawaiians through education. In his free time, Sam enjoys reading history books and making his son Santiago laugh.
Phil is a former organizer with the California League of Conservation Voters, with grassroots campaign experience in local, state, and national candidate races and initiatives. In 2014, he built a coalition that successfully lobbied the Alameda Board of Education to pass Evolve’s Prop. 13 reform resolution. He is also the parent of a grade-schooler in the Alameda School District.