Hillsides, a Southern California foster care and mental health charity, has named Los Angeles attorney Jesse A. Cripps to a two-year term as the new board of directors chair. He replaces outgoing chair Donna Ford, who served on the board for 13 years and will remain in an ex-officio position.
Cripps is a partner in the Los Angeles branch of law firm Gibson Dunn and a member of the firm’s labor & employment, litigation and class action practice groups.
He formerly served on the board of Bienvenidos, a child welfare charity that merged with Hillsides in 2016. Bienvenidos is now an affiliate of Hillsides. Cripps helped facilitate the merger, and when the deal was final, became a member of Hillsides’ board. The alliance allowed Hillsides to increase its presence in East Los Angeles and to add a foster care and adoption program to its many services.
“We are very fortunate to have someone lead our board who is knowledgeable about Hillsides and our affiliate, Bienvenidos,” said Hillsides president and chief executive officer Joseph M. Costa. “Jesse is fully informed about all of our programs and services, plus offers us the added benefit of his legal expertise as a top attorney at one of the city’s leading law firms. We are excited to welcome him into this new position.”
One of Cripps’ priorities as chair is to champion the goals of Hillsides’ 2018-2020 strategic plan, which include providing the highest quality programs and services, expanding services, and maintaining financial sustainability. “Hillsides has been around a long time – since 1913 – and as board chair, I want to make sure we will be here for some time to come so we can continue to help children and families heal, grow and thrive,” said Cripps.
Cripps also plans to devote time nurturing the Hillsides’ board. “We have an incredibly strong, engaged and talented group of people, and one of my goals is to continue to maximize this talent to best support our programs and outreach efforts,” he said.
Cripps, who received both his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Pepperdine University, has been recognized as a leading employment lawyer by Chambers USA, Lawdragon, Law360, Los Angeles magazine and Law & Politics magazine. He was named one of “California’s Top Labor & Employment Lawyers” by the Daily Journal.
Besides his role at Hillsides, he spends time volunteering as a den leader and assistant scout master for the Cub Scouts. A resident of La Canada, he and his wife Sommer donate to numerous organizations and causes. He enjoys involving his two children, Henry, 11, and Maggie, 7, in volunteer activities, such as when they recently attended a Bienvenidos picnic for families in foster care.
Cripps is an avid traveler, hiker, sailor and camper. His role model in life is his grandmother, who lived by the motto: “If God wants you to help, sometimes he’ll brush them right by your shoulder.” Because of her, he said, “I keep my ears open and eyes peeled, and when I see people in need, I try to step in.”
Hillsides is also welcoming several new or returning members to the board: Judith Kim M.D. (new), Joseph Regan (returning), Barbara Scheper (returning), Elizabeth Short, M.D. (returning), and Janis M. Tanji Wong (new).
Leaving the board this year are Deborah Booth, LeeAnn Havner, Judy Kenyon Martin, Amber Young Medina, and Steve Nishibayashi, M.D.
The other members of the 2018-2019 Hillsides board of directors are Wendy Lees, first vice chair, Cara Valentini, second vice chair, Jim Keatley, treasurer, Valerie Casey, secretary, Donna B. Ford, ex-offico, Isidro Armenta, Jennifer Brian, Donald P. Clark, Tony Danz, Katrin Doyle, Samuel Garrison, John S. Gong, Gina Guerra, Raphael Henderson, Ronald C. Hillary, MSW, Schuyler Hollingsworth, Jr., Stacey Hoppe, The Rev. Norman Hull, J. Christopher Jennings, Nurit M. Kotick, John C. Lukes, Brent M. Mason, Thomas F. Miller, Lizbeth Nevarez, Susan Noce, Edward J. Patterson, Renee Pozza, Robert Shepherd, Sara J. Simpson, The Rev. Edward Sniecienski, Lyn Spector, bishop John H. Taylor, and Sheila Taylor.
Hillsides, with its affiliate Bienvenidos, is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves 15,000 children and families in Southern California throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. To learn more about Hillsides, please visit www.Hillsides.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.