Lorena Melgarejo

Executive Director

Lorena Melgarejo has served as the the Executive Director of Faith in Action since 2017. With over 20 years in community organizing experience, Lorena started her career as a union organizer for Justice for Janitors and later worked as a faith-based organizer for Faith in Action National. In 2005, she became Lead Organizer for San Francisco Organizing Project. Before she stepped into her Executive Director position with Faith in Action Bay Area, Lorena coordinated parish organizing and immigrant solidarity for Faith in Action and the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese’s Office of Human Integrity.

Lorena is a longtime resident of the Mission District in San Francisco.

Adriana Guzman

Lead Community Organizer, San Mateo County

Adriana Guzman is Faith in Action’s lead community organizer for South San Mateo County, having joined the staff in 2015. She works with clergy and lay leaders in both English-speaking and Latino congregations. In recent years, these leaders have made important strides in securing housing and immigration justice for their communities.

Adriana first became a leader with Faith in Action in 2014, when she worked as a phone banker and canvasser for Campaign for Citizenship. Later that year, she volunteered to answer an early version of the Rapid Response hotline, fielding calls from community members who had encountered ICE and connecting them to legal help.

For Adriana, faith is central to organizing. Faith shapes her values and guides her actions as an organizer; and she constantly turns to faith as a source hope, connection, and strength as she serves her community in its fight for justice.

Allan Berkowitz

Chief Operating Officer

Rabbi Allan Berkowitz has served as Chief Operating Officer of Faith in Action Bay Area since 2017. He brings to the organization his expertise in nonprofit financial management and compliance, systems management, and fund development.

Allan was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and served as a pulpit rabbi for 12 years. He has dedicated his career to pursuing environmental and social justice. Prior to joining Faith in Action, he served for 17 years as the Executive Director of Environmental Volunteers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating Bay Area elementary school students on environmental issues.

Allan is an avid gardener and bike rider and lives in San Jose.

Ashley Pocasangre

Community Organizer

Ashley is a community organizer with Faith in Action Bay Area since 2021. She first joined the organization as a youth leader in 2019.

Carolina Parrales

Development Associate and Executive Assistant

Carolina Parrales Faith in Action Bay Area’s Development Associate and the Executive Assistant to Lorena Melgarejo. She joined Faith in Action Bay Area as a community organizer in 2018.

Carolina was born and raised in El Salvador. She has a degree in architecture from Universidad Centro Americana, a Jesuit university in her home country. As an architecture student, Carolina had the opportunity to work with refugees in the rural community of Teosinte, helping to build a bridge that connected Teosinte to a nearby city for the facilitation of commerce. Carolina’s experience in Teosinte ignited her passion for organizing and justice work.

Before joining Faith in Action Bay Area, Carolina worked for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. She lives in the East Bay with her husband, Javier, and their son Abel.

Cynthia Hinestroza

Operations Manager

Cynthia Hinestroza has served as the Operations Manager of Faith in Action Bay Area since the merger of San Francisco Organizing Project and Peninsula Interfaith Action in 2014.

Ethan Chua

Community Organizer

Ethan is a community organizer with Faith in Action Bay Area since 2021

Eva Reyes

Community Organizer

Eva is a community organizer with Faith in Action Bay Area since 2021.

Joanna Lawrence Shenk

Clergy Organizer, San Francisco

Rev. Joanna Lawrence Shenk joined Faith in Action Bay Area as a clergy organizer in January 2021. She is also the Associate Pastor at First Mennonite Church of San Francisco.

In 2018, Joanna took part  in a year-long cohort, in which San Francisco clergy learned about organizing, studied the history of the city, and wrestled with their call as faith leaders. She became inspired to build community power to change things in the city.

As our clergy organizer, Joanna accompanies San Francisco faith leaders in developing their moral vision of a city in which everyone belongs. She writes, “as people of faith, we must claim our power and the Spirit’s power to envision a world freed from white supremacist, heteronormative, capitalist patriarchy.”

Joanna lives in the Mission District in San Francisco.

Lisa Marie Wong

Communications and Data Organizer

Lisa Marie Wong was introduced to Faith in Action Bay Area in early 2017, when she attended a Rapid Response training. She immediately became hooked on the organization’s mission, ethos, and people. She joined the Faith in Action Bay staff as a Communications and Data organizer later that year.

Matt Alexander

Director of Organizing

Matt is Faith in Action Bay Area’s Director of Organizing. He was a Faith in Action leader for close to 20 years, before he finally joined the organization as a community organizer in 2018.

Matt came to the organization as a passionate, longtime educator in San Francisco public schools. In 2003, he helped found the June Jordan School for Equity, a nationally-recognized innovative, community-based school, where he later served as principal.

Matt was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in November 2020.

Nani Friedman

Community Organizer, San Mateo County

Nani Friedman is a community organizer working in San Mateo County. She joined the Faith in Action Bay Area staff in 2020.

Nani was first introduced to Faith in Action Bay Area in 2017, when she supported the organizing work of our leaders in Redwood City and North Fair Oaks as part of a summer fellowship in college. She has experience in housing organizing and policy.

Nani grew up in Belmont in San Mateo County and is deeply invested in organizing for a more equitable and inclusive home. She is inspired by Faith in Action’s vision to change how power works in the county, led by members of our community that are most impacted by racial, economic and social injustice.

Violeta Roman

Community Organizer, San Francisco

Violeta joined Faith in Action Bay Area as a community organizer in 2016. Under her guidance, Violeta’s leaders do powerful work in affordable housing, eviction prevention, voter engagement in San Francisco.

Violeta found her calling as a community organizer when a close family member experienced deportation. The accompaniment that the faith community offered her during that time affected her deeply and inspired her to help others in a similar way.

Violeta is a longtime parishioner at St. Peter’s Parish in the Mission District of San Francisco.