Meet Our Team
These are the individuals responsible for making The Children’s Partnership what it is today.
Board Of Directors
Berenice Núñez Constant
Prior to joining HMA, she served as national vice president for Medicaid, Charitable Care and Coverage for Kaiser Permanente where she was responsible for the creation and implementation of strategies for Kaiser Permanente to participate in Medicaid.
She has also served as a Medicaid health plan medical director providing medical oversight for a one million-member program serving members insured through government payers including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Her clinical experience includes serving as medical director and physician for a Federally Qualified Health Centers providing healthcare services to low-income uninsured individuals and families, including the homeless. She has also been an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) teaching community medicine to residents and medical students. Dr. Fleischman is active in advocacy and improving programs and care for families in need. She earned a Doctor of Medicine degree and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCLA and is a graduate of the first class of the California Healthcare Foundation Medical Leadership Fellowship. She has also participated as faculty for the program. She has two children in college, and enjoys running, spinning, yoga, music, and scuba diving.
Tamara Ritchey Powers
Anthony has worked with a broad range of clients focused on pushing progressive criminal justice reform policies and new safety priorities. In California, he has worked with Californians for Safety and Justice on the passage and implementation of Proposition 47. He worked with the client to build a broad coalition of Latino, immigrant rights and business leaders to support the ballot initiative and engage in its implementation. Anthony has also been working with a group of re-entry providers in LA County to integrate financial coaching into their service delivery model and help build a national model on asset building for formerly incarcerated individuals. Nationally, Anthony has been working with Alliance for Safety and Justice to help the organization build its visibility nationally and in seven of the nation’s top incarceration states.
Anthony helped with the firm’s expansion into Texas, working alongside colleagues to assess the needs and opportunities in the Lone Star State. Anthony has provided communications and advocacy support to The Borderplex Alliance and the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) as they tackle economic development and education issues in the Texas border region. Anthony has helped both clients build relationships with national reporters and influencers and gotten them featured in The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, and El Diario de Mexico. A few of Anthony’s other clients include The California Endowment, The Campaign for College Opportunity, and Diverse Asset Managers Initiative. Prior to joining The Raben Group, Anthony worked as a data analyst for The Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC, conducting quantitative and qualitative research on a broad range of policy issues such as immigrant integration, environmental justice, and movement building and publishing reports on these topics. Anthony also worked at The California Endowment, developing grant-making strategies on youth development and violence prevention in California. Anthony is a native of Santa Ana, California, and child of immigrant parents whose story of adversity and perseverance navigating this country keep him grounded and committed to social justice. Anthony holds a master’s in Public Policy from the University of Southern California and received his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
Rhonda Welch Scalco
Ms. Lazarus is a leading advocate and policy expert on a wide range of children’s issues, having spent more than 40 years working on the front lines for children across the nation. Throughout the years, she has helped secure improved health care, child support, access to information technologies and other vital resources for hundreds of thousands of children and families.
Through her leadership at The Children’s Partnership, digital opportunity for children has become a forefront policy issue in the United States. Ms. Lazarus helped secure first-in-the-nation technology policy gains in California that directed technology resources and training to underserved children and their families.
She also carried out pioneering work on the content dimension of the digital divide, having co-authored the first comprehensive report on Internet content from the standpoint of the needs of underserved Americans. The Children’s Partnership also developed a portal to help low-income and underserved communities use and create online content and produced a widely used Parent’s Guide to the Internet.
In addition, Ms. Lazarus has worked to ensure that every child in America has access to quality health care and has led a number of health reform efforts, including major improvements in the federal Medicaid program for children. While at TCP, she helped create and lead the 100% Campaign, a California-based effort which succeeded in its goal of enabling all children to get health coverage. With Ms. Lazarus’s leadership, The Children’s Partnership also spearheaded the creation and roll-out of Express Lane Eligibility, pioneering a way to use technology to expedite enrollment in public health insurance programs for hundreds of thousands of uninsured children through other public programs in which they are already enrolled. Ms. Lazarus also developed the next frontier in health care for children—the deployment of new technologies such as telehealth to improve children’s health.
Prior to founding The Children’s Partnership, she served as the Children’s Defense Fund’s first national Director of Health, as founding Vice-President for Policy at Children Now, and as a consultant to the Conrad Hilton and Piton Foundations.
Her work at The Children’s Partnership has been recognized for its foresight and leadership, especially in the area of children and digital media. In 1994, she co-authored the first comprehensive report on how digital society impacts children, followed by co-authoring an award-winning, first-of-its-kind parenting resource for the information age. In the following years, she authored multiple publications about children and the digital society and led the development of several digital projects including the first website focused on creating content for low-income Americans. She created and managed communications for many successful advocacy campaigns, securing increased health care and dental care for California’s children, the expansion of next-generation technologies for health care through telehealth, and numerous efforts to close the digital divide.
Ms. Lipper was founding Vice President for Communications at Children Now, a California-based policy organization, where she developed groundbreaking communications strategies for child advocacy. Her work at Children Now included several innovations such as fashioning the marketing elements and releasing, in 1989, the first California Report Card on how the state’s children are faring. This technique spawned a generation of data-based accountability tools supported by communications presentations and messaging in child advocacy. She also developed a model media and communications program for children’s issues, including public opinion research projects, the blending of policy and communications outcomes in strategy development, and the creative development and production of the print, digital, and video advocacy tools for the organization.
Previously, she was Deputy Campaign Manager for a California campaign reform initiative, Proposition 68, and Marketing Director of Hands Across America, a one-of-a-kind mega-event that raised awareness and funds to alleviate hunger and homelessness. She served as Executive Director of The Nation Institute, a New York-based organization that promotes civil liberties and debate on foreign and domestic policy.
Throughout her career, Ms. Lipper has fostered innovative approaches to advocacy. She has been adept at anticipating emerging issues and developing them into advocacy platforms. At The Children’s Partnership, she also honed the structure of the organization to support 22 years of co-leadership and a virtual organization with multiple offices. She has worked to recruit and mentor young advocates interested in pioneering new approaches to advocacy and she has designed organizational structures to support innovation.
In 2017, Laurie Lipper co-founded Kids Impact Initiative, a nonprofit project started to improve the lives of the nation’s 74 million children. After more than three decades as an advocacy organization executive, Ms. Lipper launched Kids Impact to support and strengthen the child advocacy field as a whole. Kids Impact analyzes advocacy trends and lessons across a broad range of issues, advancing new ways to reinforce effective efforts already underway and ratchet up accountability and advocacy for children. Currently, Ms. Lipper serves on the Washington Advisory Council of Common Sense Media. She is an accomplished speaker to schools and parent groups, and to the media. Ms. Lipper received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and resides in Washington, D.C.
Mayra E. Alvarez
Mayra E. Alvarez, MHA is President of The Children’s Partnership, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to advance child health equity by ensuring all children have the resources and opportunities they need to grow up healthy and lead productive lives. In 2023, she was nominated by California Governor Gavin Newsom to serve on the Covered California Board of Directors, and in 2019, to serve on the Early Childhood Policy Council. In 2021, she was named by President Biden to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Since 2017, Ms. Alvarez has served on the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), nominated by Attorney General Rob Bonta in 2021 and previously by then-Attorney General Xavier Becerra in 2017.
Prior to The Children’s Partnership, Ms. Alvarez completed a several-year set of assignments at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the administration of President Barack Obama. She served as the Director of the State Exchange Group for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and led a team responsible for supporting states in the establishment of Health Insurance Marketplaces. Previously, Ms. Alvarez served as the Associate Director for the HHS Office of Minority Health, where she led the coordination of OMH’s work related to the Affordable Care Act, community health workers, and language access. Prior to this role, Ms. Alvarez served as Director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at HHS where she had primary oversight responsibility for coordinated and timely implementation of the public health, prevention, and health care workforce policy provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Before joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Alvarez served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and for then-Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA). Ms. Alvarez began her professional career as a David A. Winston Health Policy Fellow in the office of then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).
She completed her graduate education at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate education at the University of California at Berkeley. She is originally from outside San Diego, CA, and is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants.
Gabriella Barbosa is Managing Director of Policy at The Children’s Partnership, where she leads the development, implementation and supervision of a multi-issue advocacy agenda focused on advancing systemic changes that protect and promote the well-being of children from historically marginalized communities through public policy, research, partnerships and community engagement. She has been at the organization since 2020. Gabriella has over a decade of experience using various advocacy strategies to achieve a more just and equitable society for children. She previously served as the Public Policy Director for a local elected official and a non-profit advocacy organization, where she developed and utilized a policy-making approach that shifts power to community members as the drivers of systemic change for themselves, their families and their communities. [SELA Agenda, EL Policy Agenda, DLL campaign, Gabriella began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Children’s Rights Project at Public Counsel, where she designed and implemented an advocacy project focused on improving the academic outcomes of children from immigrant families using direct legal representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy and community education. She was also previously a public school teacher in Southeast Los Angeles. Gabriella was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a proud daughter of immigrants. She received a B.A. in Political Science and Human Rights from Columbia University and a law degree from Columbia Law School.
Kristen Golden Testa
Kristen Golden Testa is a Policy Director at The Children’s Partnership, where she leads the development and execution of TCP’s policy and advocacy agenda, specifically focusing on health. Since joining TCP in 2001, she has worked on expanding and improving health coverage, health care quality, access and enrollment for children, focusing on Medi-Cal, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Covered California. She also leads on federal health coverage issues affecting children. She played an early role in advancing health4all kids, which was enacted in 2015 and more recently led a coalition in advocating for California’s recent continuous Medi-Cal coverage for young children. Before joining TCP, Kristen served as the Assistant Secretary for Program and Fiscal Affairs for the California Health and Human Services Agency, where she oversaw the policy and budget issues for the former Healthy Families and Medi-Cal programs, among others. Kristen served as an ex-officio member representing the Secretary on the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB). Prior to her state political appointment, she served as the lead for legislation on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance (for the Ranking Member, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan). Starting with her Presidential Management Fellowship, she worked in the Office of the Secretary for Budget at the US Department of Health and Human Services, where she advised the Assistant Secretary on Medicaid issues. She received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University and her master’s degree in Health Science from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene. From 2005-2006, she served as the Packer Policy Fellow, which aims to promote health policy exchange and collaboration between Australia and the United States. She has lived all over the United States, growing up in the Netherlands and now resides in Mill Valley California with her husband, 2 daughters, Izzy the beloved family dog and 10 chickens.
Maddie Ribble is a Policy Director at The Children’s Partnership, where he leads the development and execution of TCP’s policy and advocacy agenda, specifically focusing on social determinants of health and their impact on child health and well-being, including digital equity, such as broadband access and telehealth, economic security, and housing. In addition, the position serves as TCP’s strategic lead on evaluating TCP’s emerging issues in California and nationally. Maddie’s career has been focused on building campaigns, coalitions, and partnerships to change policy, reform systems, and build community power for health equity and racial justice. Most recently, Maddie served as Senior Policy Associate for Health & Economic Justice at the Children’s Defense Fund-California where he worked to advance environmental justice, guaranteed income programs, and stronger tax credits initiatives. Prior to relocating to California in 2021, Maddie served for 13 years as Director of Public Policy and Campaign Strategy at the Massachusetts Public Health Association. Maddie’s advocacy and coalition leadership at MPHA were instrumental in major policy reforms and investments to improve the effectiveness and equity of the local public health system, the creation of the statewide COVID-19 Equity Task Force and the Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition, establishment of the Massachusetts Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund, stronger focus on health-related social needs and community based organizations in Medicaid reform, new financing sources for healthy food retailers, investments in public and active transportation, and stronger relationships between public health and grassroots organizations. Maddie served as a board member for several statewide housing and transportation policy coalitions, including as co-chair of the Transportation Justice Working Group of Transportation for Massachusetts, and he was appointed to numerous advisory committees regarding Medicaid reform and hospital community benefits. Prior to his work at MPHA, Maddie served as Director of Intergovernmental Relations at the Boston Public Health Commission. Maddie also served for more than 15 years in a variety of volunteer organizing, advocacy, and governance roles for community-based organizations focused on affordable housing in Boston neighborhoods. He received his MPH from the Boston University School of Public Health. Maddie currently lives in Long Beach with his partner and two kids, 10 and 8.
Liza M. Davis
Liza M. Davis (she/ella) is Director, Community Engagement & Advocacy at The Children’s Partnership and plays a leadership role in cementing our statewide reach by engaging partners at the local, state and national level in our policy work through transformational relationship-building. Liza designs, executes and supports campaigns, programs, and policy development research, creating bridges between policymakers, legislators and community members. Liza also supports the creation of community-informed, culturally appropriate resources for families that reflect how policies impact them. For the last decade, Liza worked as a public interest attorney, collaborating with, and providing direct representation to some of the most marginalized members of our community. Liza dedicated her entire legal career to representing children and families. As an attorney, Liza represented thousands of clients in matters regarding education law, family law, juvenile law, guardianship, public benefits, immigration, and other issues vital to improving their quality of life. Before joining TCP, Liza was a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) where she represented victims of torture, domestic violence, trafficking, and other serious crimes in both family law and immigration matters. In addition to representing clients, Liza advocated for the rights of families impacted by domestic violence via active participation in committees and various community-led coalitions focused on reimagining the way we serve families in crisis. Most recently, Liza helped develop the Reimagine Child Safety Coalition, which works to reimagine our family regulation system and the way we address child safety. While at LAFLA, Liza also helped develop and execute Legal Aid’s first all-staff policy initiative: Support Over Separation (SOS), a policy initiative aimed to strategically address the intersection between legal aid and the child welfare system, with the goal of ensuring that families received the support and resources they need to stay together. Prior to joining LAFLA, Liza worked at Public Counsel where she provided direct legal services, policy and legislative advocacy on issues related to youth in the juvenile justice system, youth in foster care, and young victims of commercial sexual exploitation. While at Public Counsel, Liza worked to enforce the education/special education rights of system-involved youth and to decriminalize children with disabilities in schools, group homes and other foster care placements. Immediately after graduating Southwestern Law School, Liza helped establish and direct the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) pro-per clinic at the Immigration Center for Women and Children. She joined Southwestern Law School as an Adjunct Professor of Law in 2018 where she teaches, and mentors students interested in public interest and public sector law. Liza received a B.A. in Sociology with minors in Applied Psychology and History from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a proud immigrant from Guatemala, raised in Los Angeles. She shares her life with her husband Ryan, their two daughters, and their dog Chase.
Raven has spent her career working as a conduit for transformation on behalf of and alongside young people. As a youth development expert she has created safe spaces for individual growth, exploration and access to opportunity for Black and brown youth in systemically underserved communities. Throughout her tenure in community based non-profits, she’s been tapped to open new national offices, expanding programming and building partnerships within local districts and charter networks across Southern California and Northern Texas. Before joining TCP, Raven served as a Director for Organizational Strategy and Equity Programs for one of the largest charter networks in Southern California. Managing annual strategic planning, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and a wide range of crisis management special projects. Throughout her career, she has pushed the organizations and communities she’s been part of to work towards adopting actionable anti-racist and pro-Black commitments. She believes wholeheartedly in centering inclusion and equity for both the youth we support and the adults within the organization doing the work. Raven holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Studies with a focus in Gender, Race & Class from Pitzer College and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Public Administration from Northwestern University. She proudly identities as a Black queer woman. She and her partner live in Long Beach and share a 6 year old dog named Shadow. She loves interior and floral design, vegan tacos and ice cream!
Monique Parks is Operations Manager at The Children’s Partnership. She plays a critical role in supporting and ensuring the effectiveness of the TCP team by ensuring the organization runs smoothly, with particular emphasis on administration, finance & accounting and organizational governance. Prior to stepping into an operations role at TCP, Monique was Ms. Parks – a first grade teacher in Lost Hills. Having worked the last few years in a small town in the Central Valley, Monique got to experience firsthand how health and food deserts can be detrimental to a community. Monique is passionate about making systems and processes work so others can focus on their primary work and feel supported. Monique earned dual bachelor’s degrees at Howard University in Sociology and Administration of Justice. She is originally from Roanoke, Virginia.
Laura Murray is Development Manager at The Children’s Partnership and spearheads all fundraising activities including grant-seeking and individual donor cultivation. Laura came to TCP in 2022 after nearly a decade of working with The Public Interest Network in Atlanta, Boston, Ann Arbor, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. In that time, Laura developed expertise in making change at the state level by working on environmental, consumer and good government campaigns in roles ranging from Senior Grantwriter to Consumer Associate and Canvass Director. Laura received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Public Policy and American Studies from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she worked at a candy store. Originally from Alexandria, VA, Laura lives in Los Angeles with her goofy dog Laszlo.
Gabby Benitez is a Senior Policy Associate at The Children’s Partnership, where she works in multiple areas of the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts including immigrant health, oral health and health care coverage that aim to advance children’s health equity and access. Gabby leads the development of different policy and research projects in the organization to identify issues and policy solutions to address support gaps for historically marginalized children. Gabby represents TCP and collaborates with various national and state workgroups and coalitions addressing the systemic inequities children in immigrant families face advocating for their right to have the opportunities and safety nets they need to thrive. Gabby is native to Mexico, and as an immigrant herself, Gabby strives to ensure that the voice of immigrant families is integrated in policy solutions that directly impact their lives. Prior to joining TCP, Gabby worked in public opinion research and program evaluation, assessing programs for government and community based organizations in the areas of education, public health and community outreach. Gabby is a triple alumnus of UC Irvine with a B.A. in Political Science, B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy.
Alejandra Alvarez is Executive Assistant at The Children’s Partnership. Ale serves as a key administrative partner to the President and senior staff, triaging communications with external stakeholders, managing scheduling requests, and anticipating logistical needs to create effective synergy. The role serves to help ensure the organization runs smoothly, with particular emphasis on efficient administrative logistics and relationship management. Ale is one of four daughters, a student, a wife, and a dog mom. She has had an unconventional educational journey, completing a vocational college certificate as a PCT, and now attending Southwestern College, where her favorite courses have focused on sociology, and Chicano studies. She has worked at In-n-Out Burger, on and off, for more than 10 years, and has valued the experience for the customer service skills it has instilled and the friendships it has allowed her to make, including meeting her now-wife. A native of San Diego and the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, Alejandra plans to further her academic goals by transitioning from community college to a four-year university in the next year. She has decided to take this semester off to focus on internships exploring the nonprofit sector, particularly those organizations focused on supporting marginalized youth.