A different kind of agency.
Marrone-Bennett, PhD, CEO
Prior to joining the firm of RDA in 1995, Dr. Marrone-Bennett spend 25 years working in the non-profit sector as an executive director of multi- service organizations providing prevention and intervention services to low income children youth and their families. In her capacity as an executive director she was responsible for insuring the operating budgets of organizations ranging from $1 million to $5 million annually. Her work in the non-profit sector has helped her to develop a comprehensive understanding of government funding streams, contracts, and policies regarding allocations of resources. In January 2004 she received a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Development from the Fielding Graduate Institute . Since coming to RDA, Dr. Marrone-Bennett has overseen the work of staff on a day to day basis and served as the project lead on numerous efforts including a state funded multi-year grant to address chronic truancy in West Contra Costa County, a planning effort to examine the occurrence of your violence and family violence in specific neighborhoods in the East Bay and a variety of planning and research efforts on youth homelessness in the East Bay of San Francisco. She is the primary author of numerous governmental and foundation grant applications including applications to the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention, the U.S Department of Agriculture, and the California Endowment Foundation.
Mr. Bennett founded RDA in 1984. In the past 18 years, he has led RDA in the development of major initiatives in the areas of public health, urban revitalization, juvenile justice, infant mortality, perinatal substance abuse, school-linked family support services, homelessness, mental health, children systems of care, and independent living services. In addition, he has served as a frequent consultant to Federal and State agencies, including HUD, HHS Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, HHS Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs and U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the California Department of Health Services, and the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. Mr. Bennett is author of over two-dozen major evaluations, 12 published papers, and numerous invited conference presentations. He is the co-author of Vision/Reality, HUD’s guide to comprehensive community planning. Mr. Bennett’s proposals have generated over $200 million in funding for projects in which RDA has been involved.
L. Schwartz, Director of Operations
Ms. Schwartz joined RDA in May, 2002. As Director of Operations, Ms. Schwartz is responsible for the overall coordination of and staffing for 25-35 discreet projects across all four RDA divisions, as well as RDA’s day-to-day internal operations.
Since joining RDA, Ms. Schwartz has provided evaluation support for over 25 San Francisco community-based organizations, developed school-readiness plans in Solano County for children age 0-5 and their families, facilitated a series of nine hands-on small group management information system trainings for 164 San Francisco-based provider and government agency personnel to support client management practices and evaluation data collection, co-facilitated an organizational development planning process for a nonprofit senior service organization, and worked on various grant writing projects.
Prior to joining RDA, Ms. Schwartz was the Executive Director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), a private, non-profit criminal justice organization which she co-founded. During her tenure at CJCJ, Ms. Schwartz led the development and implementation of a number of innovative programs aimed at reducing society’s reliance on the use of incarceration as a solution to social problems. Ms. Schwartz raised over $8 million and oversaw CJCJ’s transformation from a single office with 10 staff to an organization of national scope with over 75 employees in four cities. She designed a client database to monitor both the day-to-day progress of each client and the program’s effectiveness in meeting specific goals and objectives. Ms. Schwartz’s dedication to leadership development at CJCJ fostered the creation of a diverse staff comprised of more than 80% people of color and more than one-third with previous histories of incarceration, substance abuse and/or homelessness.
As an agent for social justice since the early 1980s, Ms. Schwartz has represented the rural disenfranchised in the nation's capital, and has worked to build coalitions between traditional peace organizations and individuals who work for social justice.
Brenda Abrams, MA, Division Coordinator of Planning and Grant Writing, has been with RDA since 1999. Ms. Abrams has been lead or Principal Associate in a number of major projects. Her extensive work in San Francisco has included the Gang-free San Francisco Project in which she coordinated a city-wide community-based planning process involving several hundred individuals and organizations, and the San Francisco Children’s System of Care SAMHSA grant application, which recently secured nearly $9 million for San Francisco, as well as numerous smaller resource development and strategic planning projects. She has extensive experience in grant writing, organizing and conducting focus groups and key informant interviews and facilitating workshops, meetings, conferences and other gatherings. She has assisted in the development of numerous strategic plans and policy analyses in the fields of children’s mental health, juvenile justice, and crime prevention. Ms. Abrams has many years experience in direct service provision to vulnerable populations prior to coming to RDA.
James Tharp, MA, joined RDA as a Program Associate in November 1999. Mr. Tharp conducts data analysis and develops information systems utilizing a variety of software including MS Access, Excel, and MapInfo. He is a recognized expert in extracting data from large public agency data systems and utilizing this data in program planning and analysis. He has also developed a number of care management and agency information systems while at RDA, including an after school program management system for seven sites in the Mount Diablo School District, the SafeFutures MIS (described above), and an MIS for Asian Pacific Psychological Services. For seven years prior to joining RDA Mr. Tharp worked as Information Systems Manager and Information Manager for the Museum of Anthropology and the University-Oakland Metropolitan Forum, at UC Berkeley
Patricia Brown Reyes, M.P.H. came to RDA after having worked for the Center for Reproductive Health Policy Research, Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California. She has extensive experience in designing and directing evaluation studies as well as in collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data. She is the co- author of two guidebooks on conduction program evaluation. She has designed data collection instruments, coordinated the collection of data and conducts data analysis.