Our Team

Anjanine Bonet, Associate Director of Operations & Scholarships

Born in Oakland and raised in San Pablo and Berkeley, Anjanine dedicated her youth to the pursuit of classical music, theater, and academic success (nerd alert!). After completing her undergraduate degree, Anjanine worked as, among other things, a violin teacher, gigging/recording instrumentalist and vocalist, and academic tutor in New Haven, CT before returning to California – this time, to Richmond, which she is happy to call home. Before becoming the Scholarships & Internal Operations Manager, Anjanine served with Richmond Promise as the Scholarships & Data Coordinator (Americorps VISTA) and is truly thrilled to work alongside such an incredible team serving such promising Scholars.

“This work is deeply important to me. Throughout my youth, I was immensely fortunate to have encountered equity-minded adults who wanted to see me succeed and worked to help me access opportunities I sincerely doubt I would have had otherwise. But for me, this work is not only about giving back (important as I think that is) – it’s also about trying to do my part, however small, to move us forward as a people.”

abonet@richmondpromise.org

Maribel Rodriguez, Development Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

A proud immigrant with Roots in La Piedad Michoacan, Mexico, Maribel has dedicated her career to working towards social justice and equity while uplifting the voices of People of Color. Maribel holds a double degree from UC Santa Cruz in Sociology and Latinx Studies as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration from CSU East Bay. Before joining Richmond Promise Maribel worked at a various non-profit organization in the bay area providing both direct services and most recently focusing on fund development. She approaches fundraising from a community-centric approach and is invested in dismantling the notion of scarcity created by the non-profit industrial complex.

“I am fortunate to be part of the team because my academic journey was influenced by organizations like Richmond Promise! Being able to provide a humble contribution to such a powerful mission and witness the rise of the next generation of leaders feels me with joy.”

mrodriguez@richmondpromise.org

Catherine Collins, Communications & Development Associate

 

 

 

 

Catherine recently moved back to her hometown of San Rafael, CA, following graduation from Gonzaga University with a BA in International Relations and Spanish. Growing up in a household of teachers, Catherine has always been passionate about educational equity and how classrooms might better celebrate and support students from underserved communities. After three years of marketing work with Gonzaga’s Center for Community Engagement, Catherine returned to the Bay Area with a desire to understand the intersections of community health, development, and education in/around her home. She now joins the Richmond Promise team as a Communications and Development Associate, and is eager to learn alongside/support partners and programs core to the sustainability of Richmond Promise’s community-centric commitment. She can frequently be found reading or attempting recipes inspired by Chef’s Table marathons in her free time.

“When old systems fail, there’s this opportunity for our work. The work/lived experience of small business owners, Richmond residents, local officials, educators, etc. to come together and make magic out of shared love and commitment to this city’s health. It has been an incredible privilege to continually witness, learn from, and highlight the hope, creativity, and connection among our youth and neighbors.”

ccollins@richmondpromise.org

Miguel Molina, Associate Director of Programs & Partnerships

Born and raised in the streets of Richmond, California, Miguel Molina is a graduate from Richmond High and most recently UC Davis. As a young adolescent growing up through a turbulent time period of gang violence, economic recession, and infrastructural decay, Miguel understands the harsh conditions many communities like our own have suffered through. Miguel’s past work experience includes working as a mentor and instructional aide at Davis Senior High with ESL Students, and most recently as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Richmond Promise as Communications and Outreach coordinator. He currently serves as our College Access Coordinator, outreaching to the community & school sites, as well as coordinating our access and awareness programs.

“I am motivated to work at Richmond Promise because I am able to provide support services to my community. As a first-gen student I understand how difficult it is to gain access to and success in college. I am eager to provide our youth with the power and knowledge to thrive in higher education!”

mmolina@richmondpromise.org

Jada Saechao, College Access Coordinator (AmeriCorps VISTA)

Jada Saechao is a proud graduate of De Anza High School, where she walked across the stage as salutatorian of the Class of 2018. As a current senior at UC Davis, Jada has developed a passion for  school she could have never imagined. She is slated to graduate with two majors in just over 2 years, and motivated to go directly into a PHD or Masters program after completing her bachelors – intent on becoming a Professor and Researcher at her Alma Mater.

The Richmond Promise has given me the opportunity to fulfill an overarching goal of mine: to be a part of something bigger than myself. Through this organization, I have gained a support system and a sense  of belonging that I’ve been in search of for a very long time. Throughout my first year of college, there were definitely times in which I questioned if the struggle was really worth it and if I would be able to get  through the tribulations at hand. However, Richmond Promise provided me with constant support and  provided me with a source of aid in times of need. Now I am currently working as a College Access Coordinator and am so grateful to be a part of a team that is dedicated to giving back to the city of Richmond. Being the resource to other students that I never had is an extremely humbling experience. and I wouldn’t change it for the  world.”

jsaechao@richmondpromise.org

Christopher Whitmore, Executive Director

Born in Alameda County and raised in Richmond, Christopher is a proud product of the City of Richmond and the East Bay. Equally driven by the racial, educational, health, and economic disparities he experienced around him and the dedication he saw throughout the community to secure a more equitable future for the city, Christopher aspired at a young age to serve Richmond through public service. A graduate of Leadership Public Schools – Richmond, Christopher went off to Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Political Science. Immediately after graduating from Webster, Christopher moved to Washington, D.C., where he was accepted into a congressional fellowship and gained early work experience in the Office of United States Senator Bill Nelson. After an impactful experience in Washington, Christopher returned home to Richmond in 2015 to start a public service career in his hometown and region. Since returning home, Christopher has worked in the Office of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the Office of Richmond Mayor Tom Butt (twice!), most recently serving as Chief of Staff.

“Throughout my upbringing, I’d been told by many people to get out of Richmond and never look back. While I am proud to have gone off to college out of state, I’m even more proud to have come back to Richmond to serve my hometown and support other young people on their own journeys through life and higher education. There’s so much power and opportunity in Richmond’s homegrown leadership and I’m honored every day to serve our current and future waves of young leaders!”

cwhitmore@richmondpromise.org

Dariana Zermeno, College Success Manager

Raised in Richmond, Dariana’s passion lies in empowering and advocating for educational accessibility and equity for those who come from marginalized communities. She is passionate about providing support, tools and resources to the youth in her own neighborhood. As a first-generation college student, she attended UC Merced, where she obtained a BA in Psychology and had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in both Italy and Spain. Since graduating, Dariana has had the opportunity to serve and teach newly immigrated students as an English Language Development Graduate Tutor with WCCUSD’s, Hercules High School. Dariana also has had the pleasure of working as an EdTech Advising Fellow, followed by her experience as a College and Career Advisor with Students Rising Above, where she served a caseload of over 1000+ scholars with anything college-related and hosted various informational webinars and workshops. Dariana brings a plethora of experience and excitement to serve and work with the youth of her beloved community of Richmond.

“I would not be where I am today without the unconditional support, guidance, and love that I have received from programs like The Richmond Promise and people in my community who truly cared for my success. My passion for helping others comes from the need to pay it forward and the eagerness to see the youth in my community succeed. Receiving updates of successful news from students I have previously worked with, only motivates me further to make a lasting impact. I look forward to playing a part in the rise of the next generation of leaders in my neighborhood.”

dzermeno@richmondpromise.org

Desirae McNeil, College Success Coordinator

Raised in Hercules, California, Desirae attended Diablo Valley College before transferring to UC San Diego, where she obtained a BA in Psychology. Desire has a deep desire and passion for empowering those who come from marginalized communities and assisting them with navigating higher education. While attending community college, she was given the opportunity to work as a computer lab assistant for Disability Support Services (DSS). Upon transferring to UC San Diego, she worked as a program assistant at an on-campus wellness center and served as a transfer peer mentor for the Black Resource Center. Before joining the Promise, Desirae served as a Student Success Program Coordinator for the First-Year Experience Program at Contra Costa College. There she assisted students with navigating their first year of college and provided college success workshops. As the Americorps VISTA College Success Coordinator, Desirae now develops college transition programming and supports RP Scholars.

“If it were not for the support I received in college, I would not be where I am now. My passion for helping others is deeply rooted in my experience of others, helping me succeed in school. I am eager and excited to start providing that same support I was given to our Richmond Promise students.”

dmcneil@richmondpromise.org

Brenda Trujillo, College Success Coordinator (AmeriCorps VISTA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A former Richmond Promise Scholar herself, Brenda was born and raised in the Bay Area and graduated from Kennedy High School in 2016, making her a part of the first Richmond Promise cohort. After graduating high school, she attended Contra Costa College and later on transferred to Sacramento State where she graduated with honors and earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice. She had the opportunity to begin working with the Promise in 2019 as a Near Peer Ambassador where she realized her passion for increasing equity and college access in low-income communities. She also had the opportunity to serve as RP’s Campus Network Leader at Sac State for the 2019-20 school year and now serves as the AmeriCorps VISTA College Success Coordinator. She hopes to attend grad school soon and receive her Master’s degree in Educational Counseling with the intent of becoming a high school counselor or college advisor.

“Being a part of the first graduating class to receive the Richmond Promise scholarship has given me the opportunity to watch the program grow from the start. I am amazed to see how much RP has done for my community in such little time and I am thrilled to be a part of its impact. Now that I am finished with my undergrad journey, I cannot wait to lend a hand to those who are going through theirs.”

btrujillo@richmondpromise.org