Board Of Directors
Members of the Venice Community Housing Board of Directors are distinguished professionals who serve in a volunteer capacity. An unselfish commitment to others is an underlying common element of each director which brings them to the table to advocate and ensure the delivery of our mission.
CHAIRPERSON Marie Kennedy
Marie Kennedy is Professor Emerita in Community Planning at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a former Visiting Professor of Urban Planning at the University of California Los Angeles. Throughout her academic career she combined the roles of activist and scholar, working in and writing about community development, planning education and participatory action research. Over the years, Marie has worked with and/or written about community and worker organizations and social movements in the Greater Boston area, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Palestine and Nicaragua. She chairs the board of Venice Community Housing and serves on the advisory committees of Grassroots International and of Planners Network.
VICE CHAIRPERSON Jataun Valentine
Jataun Valentine is an outstanding member of the Venice community. Her family has been in Venice since the turn of the century. She is actively involved in the community senior organization, Oakwood Recreation Center, and the Historical Society, to name a few. She is a trusted member of the community and is known to all as a voice of reason and conviction. She has gone to bat for the community many times. She has mobilized several groups to go to City Hall and successfully advocated for various programs and services . In 2005 the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office named her one of the Senior Citizens of the Year.
SECRETARY Mike Suhd
Mike Suhd is one of the founding board members of Venice Community Housing. He is a builder and vocational education teacher at the Santa Monica Skill Center. He has lived in Venice since 1975. For over 3 decades, Mike has been involved in community issues including renters’ rights, affordable housing, zoning and planning, alternative housing and job training. Currently, he is secretary of the VCH board and has also served as treasurer. Mr. Suhd has assisted in all VCH fundraising events and activities and has headed volunteer workdays on behalf of VCH.
TREASURER Dana Newman
Dana Newman is a Venice resident and dedicated volunteer who connected with Venice Community Housing while volunteering through another organization doing arts and crafts projects with children at VCH’s Westminster Transitional Living Center. She began her career as an analyst in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs in Los Angeles and later as an associate at Credit Suisse. After a number of years in the financial industry, she decided to refocus her energy towards more meaningful objectives. She was nominated to VCH’s Board of Directors in 2012, and she also serves on the Board of Directors of Housing Options for People to Excel (HOPE), a non-profit that works closely with VCH. Dana received her BA in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University.
Theresa Hwang is a community-engaged architect and founder of Dept of Places, a participatory design and civic engagement practice based in Los Angeles, CA. She has spent over 10 years focused on equitable cultural and community development with multiple groups and campaigns. She was the former Director of Community Design and Planning at the Skid Row Housing Trust, a non-profit permanent supportive housing organization where she was the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow from 2009-2012. Theresa is an adjunct studio professor at Woodbury University and has previously co-taught at the University of Southern California. Theresa received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Art History from Johns Hopkins University and her Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Association for Community Design and was recognized as one of Next City’s Urban Vanguards 2015.
Robert Greenwald is a producer, director and political activist. Greenwald is the founder and president of Brave New Films, a new media company that uses moving images to educate, influence, and empower viewers to take action around issues that matter. Under Greenwald’s direction, Brave New Films has produced a series of short political videos, including the Fox Attacks and Real McCain campaigns. One of the more notable Real McCain videos focused on McCain’s Mansions; after Brave New Films produced this video, McCain notoriously said he was not sure how many houses he owned and a media firestorm ensued. In total, Brave New Film’s short videos have been viewed over 45 million times in the past two years, inspired hundreds of thousands of people to take action and forced pressing issues into the mainstream media.
Jeffrey S. Levine, President, Levine Management Group, Inc. is a recognized specialist in real estate management, construction and development, of multi-family and senior citizen apartment communities. Over the years, the firm has managed in excess of $100,000,000 of real estate from pre-design through the completion of construction. Levine Management Group, Inc. currently manages in excess of 2,600 apartment units throughout southern California. Jeff has been involved in numerous aspects of these projects including project management, site acquisition and procurement, financial analysis, selection and supervision of architects and consultants, purchasing, oversight of permit processing and expediting, government regulatory compliance, monitoring of construction, and asset and property management. Jeff is a graduate of the University of Southern California, a licensed California general contractor and real estate broker. He is also a fourth generation Angeleno. The Levine family has been well known for the past seventy years throughout business, banking, politics and philanthropic organizations in the Los Angeles area.
Mindy Meyer is a longtime Venice resident and community organizer who is committed to building inclusive community organizations that emphasize peace and understanding in Los Angeles and especially in Venice. Mindy is currently a Special Consultant for the Center for Collaborative Policy. Previously she was former L.A. City Councilmember; Cindy Miscikowski’s appointee for the Citizen’s Unit for Participation (CUP) in Housing and Community Development and served as Vice President for CUP. Mindy brings a great deal of experience to the VCHC Board. Ms Meyer is the former Executive Director for Los Angeles Youth at Work. Prior to that, she was a coordinator for the Workforce and Economic Development for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. She also worked for Inside Out Community Arts, a neighborhood arts program in Venice. Ms. Meyer has been a member of the Venice Community Planning Advisory Council since 1998. She received her Master’s Degree in Organizational Development from Antioch University
A retired civil trial attorney, Barbara Milliken has lived in Venice for over 20 years and currently devotes much of her time to volunteer work and community activism. For over six years she has volunteered as VCH’s Volunteer Coordinator, responsible for volunteer recruitment, training and recognition. She was nominated to VCH’s Board of Directors in 2012.
In 1966 Doris joined the Children’s Center, a nonprofit organization in Venice that tutored at-risk children, worked with the parents and gave counseling services to families. As the program grew, the Center branched out and started the Milestone School, where children being tutored at the Children’s Center and others referred by L.A.U.S.D. attended school. Doris worked at the school as a tutor and a counselor to the parents. She became one of the school’s directors. The school closed in 1984 due to funding cuts, and Doris and her husband went into the real estate business. Doris was initially attracted to VCH because it provides housing and works with young people, two areas that have resonated with her throughout her life.
Maury is Senior Project Manager at East LA Community Corporation (ELACC). Maury received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at U.C. Berkeley, and a Master of Real Estate Development at the University of Southern California. He also completed Post Graduate Studies in the History of Architecture, in Venice, Italy. Maury is a member of the Inclusionary Housing Requirement Working Committee of SCANPH. Prior to going into business for himself, Maury worked at Mercy Housing, California, where he handled all aspects of development of new construction for multi-family and senior housing. He has been a Venice resident since 1997 and a member of the VCH Board of Directors since 2001
Anne Zimmerman, AIA is the principal of AZ Architecture Studio; a 100% women owned firm located in Santa Monica, CA. Founded in 1993, AS Architecture Studio specializes in architecture and urban design serving the general public primarily throughout the City and County of Los Angeles. Anne previously served on the Boards of Design Professionals’ Coalition, an organization devoted to providing pro-bono services to communities in need, and the Association for Woman in Architecture Foundation. Anne received a B.S. in architecture degree from the University of Michigan in 1977. She has lived and worked in California since 1978. When she has the opportunity, Anne is traveling, mostly to affordable and interesting third world countries. This has informed her view of the world and her approach to architecture and design.