Our Board

Tamara Ritchey Powers, Chair of the Board


The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor; founding board member, The Children’s Partnership


Since her retirement from work in marketing and market research 25 years ago, Ms. Powers has focused her nonparenting efforts on championing education and children’s well-being. In addition to her work with Pueblo Nuevo EDG, Ms. Powers supports the work of other local nonprofits. She has been actively involved for over 20 years with The Children’s Partnership, an advocacy and research organization. She also is active with the Richstone Family Center, an organization that focuses on preventing and treating child abuse. Ms. Powers has served on the board of The Wonder of Reading, a literacy organization that helped build over 200 libraries in local public elementary schools. She also sat on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor, Get Lit-Words Ignite, and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. In 2013, she chaired the Grant Screening Board for the Everyday Foundation, a women’s foundation that makes a $1 million grant each year to a child-based organization in the LA area. Ms. Powers holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.


Shiho Ito, Secretary 


Community organizer


Ms. Ito is a community organizer and founding director of Pueblo Nuevo Development, the grass-roots community development group that began in 1992 and in 1999 founded Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. As an immigrant and English learner, she is passionate about educational access and equity. Ms. Ito has led outreach initiatives at Larchmont Charter School, chaired the education committee at Ikar, an egalitarian Jewish community, and organized a nonprofit foundation to support Millikan Middle School Math Academy. Prior to the birth of her children, she worked in film production and acquisitions for the Japanese market. She earned her undergraduate degree from Yale University, where she majored in English and East Asian studies. 


Robert O. Kaplan

Entertainment attorney

Mr. Kaplan is an entertainment attorney and former independent film producer. He was the executive in charge of business affairs at Warner Brothers in London, supervising all production activities outside the United States. Currently, he practices on his own and represents feature film writers, directors, and producers, particularly in the arena of independent film financing. He also is a founding principal in ScreenBridge, a company specializing in packaging and financing independent films. Credits include Krush Groove (executive producer), Night of the Comet, Papillon (associate producer), The Adventures of the American Rabbit, and Southern Cross (executive producer).

Dr. Philip J. Lance

Psychologist, private practice, (founder, board president emeritus)

Dr. Lance is a nationally recognized leader in the field of community development, with extensive experience in community organizing, fundraising, and nonprofit management. In addition to being a founder of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Dr. Lance served as president of its board for 16 years. He also founded and led Pueblo Nuevo Development, then a nonprofit community development corporation, from 1993 to 2016. In this capacity, he raised $32 million from private philanthropy to help build the Camino Nuevo school facilities. Dr. Lance is an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church and currently works as a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice.

Elizabeth H. Michelson

Executive director, The Wonder of Reading (retired)

Ms. Michelson served for seven years as the executive director of The Wonder of Reading, a children’s literacy nonprofit that built libraries and brought reading mentor programs to nearly 200 underserved public elementary schools throughout Los Angeles County. Ms. Michelson currently sits on the board of The Music Center and on the advisory board of the Beverly Hills Literary Society. She is a member of Center Dance Arts, Blue Ribbon, and the Council of the Library Foundation. Ms. Michaelson was a judge for the Music Center BRAVO Awards and a past director for the Venice Art Walk. With her husband, she is an active participant in Young President’s Organization. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude, and has an MBA from Columbia University. She is the proud parent of two daughters and sons-in-law, and enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren.

Eric Heggen


Architect and Project Manager, UCLA


A licensed CA architect, retired in July 2023, after 25 years managing capital construction projects at UCLA. Eric has maximized the impact of his work and minimized the collateral damage by implementing three principles derived from the contemporary philosopher Forrest Landry: Love is helping other people make good decisions. Ethics require assuring that the organism/organization can handle both the amount of change and the rate of change. Increase inclusivity and minimize harm by tirelessly working toward win/win/win/win solutions. Eric participated in the founding of CNCA in 2000 as a board member of Pueblo Nuevo Development.


Mary Cutrow


Community Advocate and Education Supporter, College Match Volunteer


Mary Cutrow is a passionate advocate and dedicated community servant who has devoted her adult life to creating positive change in our society. Mary's educational journey began with her graduation from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she honed her skills and developed a deep understanding of the power of education and community engagement. 

After a pivotal decision to take time off to raise her three sons, Mary found herself deeply immersed in their educational journeys. As her boys reached college age Mary's trajectory took a transformative turn as she found her true calling in serving the under-resourced community. Mary joined the ranks of Parent and Family Services at UCLA, where she assumed the role of Chair for Support Services for Homeless and Former Foster Children. In addition to her work within UCLA, Mary's commitment extended to the broader Los Angeles community. She engaged directly with the homeless community in Venice and actively participated in the creation of scholarships for Latino students at UCLA. For nearly a decade, Mary has channeled her energy and expertise into her role as a volunteer college counselor with College Match. In this capacity, she has provided guidance and support to high-achieving, low-income students within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Mary enjoys spending time with her husband, sons, and daughter-in-law.