Paul Lee is a philosopher, philanthropist, homeless advocate. He studied philosophy at St. Olaf College and received his divinity degree and PhD from Harvard. He taught at Harvard, MIT, and UC Santa Cruz, where he founded the first organic garden on a university with Alan Chadwick in 1967. In 1976 alongside Paige Smith, he began the California Conservation Corps under Jerry Brown's administration. Paul organized and proposed the Greenbelt Initiative to save the Pogonip in 1978. In 1985 he founded the organization that became Santa Cruz's Homeless Services Center and the Homeless Garden Project. He is also an author; his books include: There is a Garden in the Mind, The Quality of Mercy, Florence the Goose, and a play, A Lullaby for Wittgenstein.
Lynne Basehore Cooper,
Lynne is the Founding Director of the Homeless Garden Project. Her motivating vision was to provide homeless citizens sanctuary, healing and jobs by growing a productive and beautiful garden within the community. Lynne pioneered the social service enterprise model that continues to thrive at the Project today. Lynne’s experience includes Management, Communications, Interpersonal Relations, Administration & Holistic Health. Lynne has a degree in Art from UCSC. From Lynne’s original Mission Statement for the Homeless Garden Project, “The garden is a context where an exchange can happen: homeless folks “producing” healthy organic food for sale and contributing to the community, and the community supporting, volunteering and keeping viable the opportunities for others.”
Darrie has worked with Homeless Garden Project since 1991 and has led the Project since 2008. Under Darrie’s leadership, the Project has developed the transitional employment program and its goals, grown revenue four-fold, and has successfully completed a 3.5 million capital campaign. Darrie has primary responsibility for vision and planning, fundraising, program direction, financial management, public relations and staff support of the Project's Board of Directors.
(831) 426-3609, ext 12
Director of Development
Paul has been a nonprofit fundraiser since 2003, working for a variety of organizations dedicated to the social good, including the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, NY and the Rockwood Leadership Institute in Berkeley, CA. Living in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 2010, Paul is a proud dad and husband, a deeply committed social justice advocate, an ardent environmentalist, as well as an avid fan of live music.
(831) 426-3609, ext 13
Now hiring a Director of Operations.
Please visit our careers page to learn more!
Value Added Enterprise Manager
Robyn's passion for connecting people to place came alive during her studies of Anthropology and Sustainability at the University of Florida. Inspired by diverse human culture and the transformative power of plants, Robyn spent many years studying herbal medicine, and formulating and crafting earth based products sourced from organic, permaculture, or regenerative systems. Additionally, with educational marketing and garden-centered retail experience, Robyn is thrilled to contribute to the growing success of HGP. Robyn fills her cup by spending time in the sea, browsing eclectic recipe books and blogs, and making mead.
Training & Education Supervisor
Francesca’s passion in life is to support all living things. She has done multiple service programs. She has been to disaster areas in FEMA Corps and has experienced the dirt between her fingers, hoping for new life and for growth during her time at the American Conservation Experience. She has led a three week adventure trip for young women, has supported special needs children in school and in their homes, and she has encouraged students to advocate for themselves as the Student Government Advisor at San Jose Job Corps. She is thrilled to be in a position that marries her love of the outdoors, her love of working with her hands, and her love of working with people. When she isn’t working on the farm or in the workshop, you can find her on her yoga mat, in her kitchen baking or cooking, or on a trail in the redwoods or by the sea.
Evan Jones, Programs Manager
Evan's passion for social work is deeply rooted in outreach and community engagement to help foster creative growth and social change. He completed his MSW at the University of Tennessee. Evan has previously focused on refugee resettlement and trauma-informed care while in Nashville and organized youth outreach programs in Chicago. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana and Uganda, he focused on community health initiatives and youth development. Evan is dedicated to a strengths-based perspective and fostering resilience in others.
Bio coming soon.
Donald J. Lessard,
Weekend Farm Steward
Born in 1950 in Bloomfield, Connecticut on the highest milk producing Holstein farm in the US. Gardened professionally and worked at a riding stable for 10 years. Became a Connecticut Master Gardener in 1975. Processed and marketed milk and ice cream for 30 years at Maple Hill Farms. Retired and moved to Santa Cruz and began working with The Homeless Garden Project.
Business & Finance Manager
Mary Reyes is a local Santa Cruzan since 1964 and has over forty years of bookkeeping and account experience. Mary enjoys working for and with local business. She is very grateful for her family choosing Santa Cruz to retire from military life, and is very happy to be a part of The Homeless Garden Project team and family. She is looking forward to giving back to the community that is her home.
(831) 426-3609, ext 15
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Francis Krebs MSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, an Instructor at San Jose State University and is the Faculty Field Instructor for students from our University partners who are completing a field placement as part of their Masters in Social Work degree. Francis has worked in social services and mental health for over 35 years and recently retired from working for Santa Cruz County in Children’s Mental Health and Child Welfare. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Aptos.
Carrie and her husband, Ben, moved from Palo Alto to a farm in the mountains above Soquel in 2017. She is enjoying getting to know her new community and its friendly people and slower pace. She recently retired after 29 years as CFO of a law firm in Seattle, WA. She has served as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Rausser College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. She is looking forward to introducing other refugees from the Silicon Valley to the great work of HGP!
Board Vice President
Enda immigrated at the age of two from Ireland to California in 1957. After attending UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School, he has practiced law in California for 40 years. He worked as a public defender in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz County before entering private criminal defense practice 28 years ago. He has served on numerous local boards including Past Chair and current treasurer of Grey Bears.
Suzanne has been involved with the Homeless Garden project since 2016 when she started helping to organize the Sustain Supper series. She also has provided program management expertise for our transition from Natural Bridges to Pogonip Farm.
Suzanne worked for 35 years in senior management positions for several technology companies in the Silicon Valley. Suzanne has lived in Santa Cruz since 1976 and has been on the Board or Supervisory Committee of the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union since 1977. primarily in the field of Customer Service and Program Management.
Elizabeth Gummere is the CEO of two Santa Cruz-based companies: Artistic Reflections, a residential glass installer; and Repechage Group, an accounting and marketing consulting firm. She has provided accounting and finance expertise to entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area since 2001. Serving on 4 local non-profit Boards as Treasurer, her educational background includes a BS in Public Communications from Syracuse University and an MBA from Simmons College in Boston, MA. In her spare time, she enjoys ocean sculling in our beautiful Monterey Bay.
Dannettee has lived in Santa Cruz for almost 60 years. She worked for the City of Santa Cruz for 40+ years before retiring as Director of Parks and Recreation 2016. In addition to managing a large City Department, she worked with non-profits, local businesses and community organizations including the HGP. Dannettee’s primary interest in joining the Homeless Garden Board is assisting with the farms move to Pogonip and expanding the job training program. In her spare time, Dannettee enjoys spending time with her family and friends, walking, gardening and traveling.
Jessica is Associate Director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, a Santa Cruz-based organization dedicated making the orchestral artform relevant to our times. She has 17 years’ experience in marketing, communications and administration for arts non-profits, is passionate about connecting and healing communities through transformative experiences, and ensuring the health of our planet. She is the mother of two incredible young women, one a junior roller-derby champion and the other a sustainable living advocate.
Michael has lived in Santa Cruz County since 1979, and has seen the homeless crisis evolve -- from both sides of the fence. After many years of being a moderately successful business owner, he found himself homeless after a series of financial setbacks and a descent into serious drug addiction. About 12 years ago he decided that he had to make a change, and the Homeless Garden Project was his open door back into being a functional and successful member of society. The support, employment, and structure of the Homeless Garden Project gave him the opportunity to rebuild his life, and at present he is a self-employed gardener and landscaper who is loving life. The Homeless Garden Project embodies so many values that he cherishes -- community, dignity, social justice, right livelihood, and genuine caring.
Paul came to Santa Cruz in l966 to teach at UCSC where he started the Chadwick Garden in l967. He entered the homeless effort with Page Smith in 1985 when they opened the first shelter in Santa Cruz, and started the Homeless Garden Project in l989 with the donation of a large number of plants. Phil is now retired and mostly tired. He gets up late, and enjoys his life now that his backyard is park like. His next act will be to put up a sign in front of his house: Park Here.
Suna has lived in Santa Cruz since 2003 when she relocated from London. She has had her own design practice for 24 years and opened Stripe, a retail store in Downtown Santa Cruz in 2009. Suna is interested in helping to develop and elevate the Homeless Garden Project's retail presence and celebrate its connection to the farm itself.
Mark Primack has lived in Santa Cruz since 1976. He is a practicing architect whose civic volunteerism is centered on encouraging and preserving community diversity and resilience.
Ron is deeply devoted to supporting local efforts to build a strong, equitable community. He has served on the board of many local organizations including Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Cruz Chamber, Tannery Arts Center, Life Lab, and continues his board work at FoodWhat, Workforce Investment Board and Housing Matters. In addition, he was the Publisher at Good Times for thirteen years. Ron doesn’t shy away from adventure, having spent nine and a half months hitch-hiking through fourteen countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and an additional two months travelling through parts of Africa.
Nancy Loshkajian ,
Nancy Loshkajian is founder and President of Loshkajian & Associates, a fund-raising consulting firm that specializes in major gift fundraising and strategic board development using cutting edge fund-raising strategies and techniques to help nonprofits maximize their fundraising effectiveness.
Nancy has served nonprofits for 35 years as an executive director, board member, professional fundraiser, and volunteer. In the course of her career, Nancy has held leadership positions at nationally recognized colleges and universities, most recently as Executive Director of Development at UC Santa Cruz.
Nancy has been pleased to call Santa Cruz her home for the past 26 years where she enjoys playing golf, hiking, and music making. She holds a master’s degree in opera from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Drake University.
Richard Bruce is impressed by the success the Homeless Garden Project has had in teaching its trainees to be self-sufficient. He is enthusiastic about helping with the move to the permanent farm where the Project can grow and help more unsheltered members of our community. After graduating from UCSB with a PhD in physics, he spent most of his 35 years as a technologist and research manager at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Using his research work, he founded and led two technology start-ups. Retiring to Santa Cruz in 2010 has spent his time studying US history, reading literature, creating metal sculpture, and playing pickleball. He loves family gatherings with his wife, 3 children and grandchildren.