The Build Back Better Act has the potential to help the nation grow, as framed by the White House, “from the bottom and middle-out" by providing families with funding for childcare, expanding access to affordable housing, education, and health care, and enforcing tax laws on the extremely wealthy. If the law was passed, the Bay Area, with its vast income inequality, one of the largest unhoused populations in the United States, and a high cost of living, would be able to make dramatic improvements to the lives of lower and middle-income households. However, the Build Back Better Act is in danger of not being passed. Come learn about why this legislation is important for the Bay Area, and how we could use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a more equitable Bay Area.
Christa supports the foundation advance policy change at the local, regional, and state levels.
Christa works with foundations staff and community-based grassroots organizations to move structural change. She supports pushing ballot initiatives forward to increase affordable housing in the Bay Area, supports grantees to advance policy change and lobbies for state bills that advance economic and racial equity.
She is passionate about creating the conditions that increase quality of life and makes life more fair for more people. Her work focuses on the intersection of social determinants of health, social inequity, and well-being.
Her experience includes work in municipal government and non-profits, in the Bay Area’s large and small cities. Melissa is an active community member in Oakland and also serves on the Association of Bay Area Government’s Regional Planning Committee, which advises on regional planning issues.
Before joining BARHII, Melissa served as Senior Program Officer at Boston Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where she launched and ran Boston LISC’s Resilient Communities Resilient Families (RCRF) Initiative. The initiative works to ensure that residents of Boston’s Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan neighborhoods benefit from the rising tide of transit and other public investments. During her tenure, RCRF engaged several thousand residents and non-profits in neighborhood planning. The program has invested millions of dollars to fund affordable housing, leadership development, Family Financial Opportunity Center programs, and a local entrepreneurship pipeline program to ensure residents’ financial lives are improving. She was awarded the LISC’s President’s award in 2014 for her work on comprehensive community development.
Joanne Karchmer has worked at the intersection of human services and public policy for more than two decades. Most recently, she served as Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Deputy Chief of Staff, where she directed local, state, and federal legislative affairs and was the Mayor's senior policy advisor focused on Oakland’s response to homelessness and on immigrants’ rights issues. Prior to that she worked for the Port of Oakland in intergovernmental affairs and in Oakland city government as a policy aide and advisor to former Councilmember Pat Kernighan.
Joanne began her career as an attorney in Boston working to assist low income and working families to secure benefits and compensation to stabilize their incomes. Shortly after relocating to the Bay Area, she served as a staff attorney at HomeBase, a non-profit, public policy law firm that works with communities to develop effective responses to homelessness through research, policy development, planning, and advocacy. Joanne then moved to the East Bay and became a public interest law counselor at UC-Berkeley School of Law School, where she began the school's public interest mentorship program. She was quickly elevated to the role of Executive Director of Career Development, where she oversaw counseling, recruiting and all programming for students and alumni. As Executive Director, she launched the law school's first post-graduate public interest law fellowship program, which financially supports recent graduates who are pursuing public interest careers. Joanne earned her undergraduate degree at Cornell University and her J.D. at Boston College Law School. She also serves on the Board of Directors for East Bay Agency for Children. In addition, she has worked on numerous political and ballot initiative campaigns in Massachusetts and locally. She lives with her husband and three children in Oakland.