Ralph Payton‘s commitment to social justice and underserved communities spans a career of more than 18 years directing nonprofit human service programs across the country. From 2015–2018, Ralph was the Executive Director of Raphael House, an organization that operates San Francisco’s largest shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Prior to that appointment, he was the director of Hamilton Families’ family shelter, a nonprofit agency in San Francisco that also provides various support for families at risk of homelessness. Before moving to San Francisco in 2011, he lived in New York City where he directed a large family shelter for many years and then went on to direct an alternative high school, founded on youth development principles, both in the South Bronx. He started his career as a social justice advocate in Miami, Florida where he was a clinical therapist for several years before switching career paths to supervise one of the largest men’s homeless shelters in South Florida.
In 2016, Ralph was appointed by San Francisco’s late Mayor Lee to co-chair San Francisco’s Local Homeless Coordinating Board, the lead entity for the San Francisco Continuum of Care on Homelessness. He continues to serve in that capacity. Ralph is also on the Advisory Board of the University of San Francisco’s Master of Nonprofit Administration Program. He earned a Master of Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University in South Florida and a Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology from Andrews University in Michigan. Ralph lives with his wife, Kara Zordel, and their two dogs in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lena Miller is the founder and Development Director of the Hunters Point Family agency and a life-long resident of the Bayview Hunters Point district. Lena’s commitment and passion for working with vulnerable youth and adult populations throughout San Francisco led her to create Hunters Point Family in 1997.
In this role, Lena has written, developed, and implemented youth development/leadership programs that serve the African American and Pacific Islander families throughout San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point. She has also implemented various environmental programs, including community gardens in public housing communities, a farmers market, and street greening and beautification. Her current work includes workforce development which provides living wage employment and medical benefits for over 400 transitional age youth residents of public housing and former long-term offenders.
Prior to her work at HPF, she was Special Assistant to Mayor Willie L. Brown in the Office of Equity Programs where she helped to resolve discrimination complaints among City employees and ensured fair participation for Minority and Women Business Enterprises in City contracting.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she holds an MSW in Social Work from San Francisco State University, an MA in Psychology from University of San Francisco, and is working towards her Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) degree from the University of San Francisco.