Children’s Campaign Fund is led by a dedicated staff and board of directors who are advocates for all of Washington’s children.
The staff, board, and volunteers are committed to:
- Raising and contributing funds
- Evaluating and endorsing candidates
- Promoting endorsed candidates
- Encouraging volunteers to campaign for Fund-endorsed candidates
- Making children a voting issue and a political priority
Board of Directors
Former Representative Ruth Kagi (Co-Chair)
Andy Clark (Co-Chair)
Susan A. Weiss
Click each name above or click here to learn more about our board.
Executive Director | Jess Agi (she/her), MPA, CAPM
During such a profoundly critical time for children, youth, and families across Washington, Jess Agi is honored to serve the Children’s Campaign Fund as its first Executive Director. Born and raised in Alaska, Jess spent nearly a decade in New York City as a media producer before moving into the public sector. While working as a Story Producer for the hit reality TV series “Hoarders” she first saw the power in using her skill set to help change lives. As she continued to work with celebrity talent and high-profile TV projects by day, she began voraciously volunteering in her spare time — including as a Team Lead in Brooklyn for Organizing for Action, organizing advocacy campaigns for issues from universal free school lunch, and producing countless independent fundraising events.
Jess relocated to the Pacific Northwest where she earned her master’s degree in public administration while working full-time in non-profit fundraising and management. A certified project manager, former campaign manager, and local political leader, Jess has helped strengthen internal operations and raise over $25 million for a variety of missions and causes (including Avon 39, Planned Parenthood, Slice Out Hunger, Special Olympics, Swedish Medical Center, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Young Women Empowered, and more). Jess believes deeply in the transformative power of building relationships across differing beliefs, backgrounds, and identities to address systemic inequities and create lasting change. As CCF celebrates its 30th anniversary, Jess is eager to connect with this game-changing community and usher in the next chapter together. If you have ideas, suggestions, or questions, please get in touch: email@example.com.
PAC Manager | Hikma Sherka
Hikma Sherka is a recent college graduate passionate about electing candidates that provide children and youth with the opportunities and resources they need to live a happy and healthy life. Hikma comes to CCF with experience on many boards including the King County Children and Youth Advisory Board.
Former Representative Ruth Kagi (Co-Chair)
Ruth Kagi, who was first elected in 1998, represented the 32nd Legislative District which includes Shoreline, Lynnwood, and parts of Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Seattle. She was a pioneer in educating the legislature and the public about the critical importance of early childhood development.
Ruth chaired the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee from 2002-2018. She sponsored the Early Start Act, which created quality standards for child care and pre-school and funded robust supports for providers to improve quality. She was the primary architect of the new state Department of Children, Youth and Families which merged early learning, child welfare and juvenile justice administrations, enabling the state to focus on integrated strategies to improve outcomes for children, youth and families.
“Ruth is the conscience of our caucus when it comes to children and families,” House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, said when Ruth announced her retirement after 20 years of service. “With her leadership, the Legislature changed the way the state views early learning challenges, transforming the way we address these issues from separate components to a holistic approach.” Ruth retired on January 14 th, 2019.
Andy Clark (Co-Chair)
Born and raised in Florida, Andy Clark attended college at the University of Tennessee then moved to Texas; in Austin, he served as an Americorps member where he built trails in Central Texas parklands. In 2012, Andy relocated to Seattle and earned his master’s degree in public administration with a focus on social policy research from the Evans School at University of Washington. With a passion for helping nonprofits advance their causes through world-class operations management and policy strategies, he currently works as a nonprofit database developer.
Andy first came to CCF over a decade ago as a part-time PAC Coordinator before joining the board a few years later; he has served as the organization’s co-chair since 2017. Passionate about early learning, Andy believes that earliest interventions are the most effective. He recognizes that building a better future for everyone starts with building a better present for kids today — and that every year we don’t extend quality, early learning to all of Washington’s kids is an indictment of our society. Andy is proud of the crucial role CCF plays in the political process to fight for children, youth, and families in Olympia just as lobbyists and PACs do for big business. Through CCF’s events, he’s eager to provide space for our supporters to meet with candidates/legislators and see firsthand that we are all capable of making great change together.
When he’s not advocating for children or supporting dozens of other nonprofits and advocacy efforts in our region, Andy can be found exploring the Pacific Northwest on a hike or gardening at his South Seattle home; he even has over 50 varieties of fruit trees in his city yard.
As a registered lobbyist and enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe, Charles focuses on local and state advocacy. From his childhood on the Yurok reservation, he was sent to one of the remaining Indian Schools where his experiences helped inform his fight for social and economic justice. His father, a decorated combat veteran from Afghanistan, suffered from PTSD which eventually led to Charles leaving home as a teenager and soon finding himself homeless. Charles’ passion to help others like himself saw him earn a degree and rise to prominence in the political community.
His experience encompasses roles such as Vice President of Federal Affairs for Washington Students Association, Director of Legislative Affairs for Students of the Evergreen State College and as a contract lobbyist, as well as Political Affairs Officer for the 38th Legislative District Democratic Party. He was a delegate to the 2016 & 2020 Democratic National Convention and serves on several boards including the Children’s Campaign fund and previously served on the board of the Washington Student Association. One of his proudest career achievements is authoring and successfully lobbying for the passage of Senate Bill 5800 which launched a pilot program in which colleges provide additional assistance for homeless and food insecure students.
Charles holds a degree in Tribal Administration and resides in Everett, Washington.
Janis Avery has just launched Janis Avery Consulting after retiring from Treehouse in 2020. Her 24 year career at Treehouse focused on improving educational and life outcomes for children and youth experiencing foster care. With expertise in fund development, advocacy, organizational management and board partnerships, she is honored to bring her experience to the Board of the Children’s Campaign Fund. Janis’s career touched key parts of the child welfare continuum with stints in residential treatment and Intensive Family Preservation Services. She is committed to increasing racially diverse voices for children and their families in the legislature and focusing supports so children do not have to experience child welfare for their families to receive help.
Ana Beltran is an attorney and Special Advisor to Generations United’s National Center on Grandfamilies. Starting over twenty years ago as the Center’s first director, Ana now leads the Center’s technical assistance and training efforts and its collaboration with the ABA Center on Children and the Law. That collaboration jointly developed the first set of comprehensive National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards and created and maintains www.grandfamilies.org.
As a long-time trusted voice on issues facing grandfamilies, Ana is a sought-after national speaker, a respected media resource, and a prolific author on the strengths and challenges of the families. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Indiana University, her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and is admitted to the bar in Maryland (inactive), Washington, D.C. and Washington State.
Ana worked in all three branches of the federal government and was a practicing attorney prior to joining Generations United and finding her true passion helping support grandfamilies. Ana credits this passion to her amazing grandma who helped raise her.
Juan Cotto is the Director of Social Impact at Bloodworks Northwest, Western Washington’s blood health, blood research and blood bank institute. In his position Mr. Cotto develops and maintains relationships with minority and underrepresented communities to raise awareness about the mission and to encourage participation in blood drives. Prior to joining Bloodworks Mr. Cotto spent 12 years at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, in three different administrative divisions, where he worked to increase awareness of cancer research in minority communities. Mr. Cotto was also Chair of the Fred Hutch Diversity Council and coordinated numerous programs to keep the conversation about Diversity relevant on the Fred Hutch scientific and research campuses.
Mr. Cotto is a lifelong Seattleite who grew up in the Beacon Hill neighborhoods of South Seattle. Mr. Cotto attended 12 years of Catholic school and graduated from O’dea High School. He attended Western Oregon State College where he graduated with a Degree in Social Science and has completed his coursework at the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Public Administration. A sports enthusiast, Mr. Cotto played baseball in college and has spent the last 25 years coaching a variety of sports in the Seattle area. Mr. Cotto has served as Head Football Coach at Highline HS in Burien, WA for five years and developed a program which produced 3 Division I players and 2 Head Coaches. Mr. Cotto spent the 2014 season at Franklin HS as the Head Coach and for 6 years was an assistant at Nathan Hale HS in Seattle.
Mr. Cotto serves on numerous non for profit boards including Sound Mental Health, the Children’s Campaign Fund, the Workforce Development Council, the Seattle Urban League, and Seattle Pony League Baseball. He currently serves on the Board of El Centro De La Raza where he was the President of the Board from 2016 through 2018. Mr. Cotto is married to Sara Cotto who is an independent therapist working with adolescent and teen age kids dealing with anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and video game addiction. Mr. and Mrs. Cotto live in the Leschi neighborhood of South Seattle with their two children Clemente and Araceli.
Photo & bio coming soon!
Paul was born and raised in Seattle, and graduated from the University of Washington. Drawn to politics, he started volunteering for campaigns at age twelve and never stopped. Retired several years ago, Paul spent ten years on the staff of then Congressperson Mike Lowry, followed by six years for Congressperson Jolene Unsoeld, and later as Chief of Staff for Seattle City Councilmember Richard McIver.
Paul has been involved in dozens of political campaigns over the decades, sometimes as the manager, but frequently as the campaign treasurer. It is not unusual for him to serve as the volunteer treasurer for multiple campaigns in a single election cycle. As such, he was happy to offer his volunteer treasurer services to the Children’s Campaign Fund when approached over ten years ago.
Photo and bio coming soon!
Rachel Haas (she/her) is the Project Child Success Manager at First 5 Fundamentals. Project Child Success is a collaborative movement to improve the wellbeing of children, families, and communities in Pierce County, Washington. As Project Manager, Rachel builds upon a foundation of deep trusted relationships to align 175 community partners around a shared purpose, and to achieve the vision that all children thrive in nurturing relationships and environments.
In addition to her local efforts, Rachel also represents Pierce County as part of the Washington Communities for Children. She holds a master degree in Public Health from the University of Washington and is passionate about the intersections between education and health.
Lyn is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the FW Black Collective (FWBC). She helped create the organization as a grassroots vision and has built it in collaboration with community and local leaders since 2018. Prior to starting FWBC, she worked for UW Medicine. Her experience moving through the ranks as a temporary employee at the HMC OR front desk to working the entire revenue cycle is what has greatly expanded her knowledge of systems and has now driven her to change the very systems that have previously marginalized communities of color in Federal Way.
As a proud first generation Nigerian-American, she brings a diverse perspective that has been shaped by her experience as a mother, business owner, former union member, public servant and caregiver. She has won various awards for her work in civic engagement, and truly believes that every voice counts – especially on a local level.
Yali is a Vice President in Whittier Trust’s Philanthropic Services department, providing philanthropic advisement to our high net worth clients. Yali brings to Whittier Trust over 20 years of experience in nonprofit children’s policy and program services.
Prior to joining Whittier Trust, Yali was a senior policy consultant for several regional and national foundations. As the senior policy consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, she led several programs focused on child welfare reform efforts. She was also a senior policy analyst for the Department of Children, Youth, and Family in San Francisco. Yali published many academic and policy reports and authored state legislation. She is the founding member for several co-funding efforts including the Nevada Foster Youth Success Initiative, the California College Pathways Initiative and the San Francisco Legal Services Funders Network. In 2018, she received the Bernard Osher Philanthropist of the Year from the Network of California Community College Foundations, the 2018 Council on Foundation/HUD Public Private Partnership Award, and the 2013 White House Champion for Change award.
Yali received her MBA from the University of California at Davis and her BA in history with honors from the University of California at Berkeley. She is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a Girl Scout Troop leader and was formerly an appointed member of the Alameda County Child Care Planning Council.
Sam Méndez joined the board in 2019 and is an attorney currently working in state government with a passion for public service and advocacy. He is particularly interested in youth mentorship and providing a voice to survivors of child sexual abuse, having been a survivor himself. Sam grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area but has lived in the Northwest since 2009, and graduated the University of Washington School of Law in 2014. In his spare time, Sam loves board games, baking bread, and craft cocktails.
Liz brings together government, nonprofit and business experience. She currently serves as an Associate at Camber Collective where she helps clients navigate strategic decisions and maximize their impact.
Previously, Liz was Program Manager for Too Small to Fail, an initiative of The Clinton Foundation, where she scaled operations for a national early literacy campaign. Liz began her career working for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, focusing on health care and education policy issues. Liz later served in the Obama Administration and managed Congressional Affairs for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Liz received her MBA from UC Berkeley, where she focused on corporate social responsibility and interned with Nike’s Global Community Impact team. She received her BA with honors from the University of Notre Dame, and enjoys talking politics, exploring the west coast and finding any opportunity to practice her Spanish.
Ryan Murphy is the Associate Director of State and National Campaigns at Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). He oversees government relations, community engagement, and advocacy mobilization in the Western United States. As the political advocacy arm of Save the Children, SCAN is building bipartisan support to make sure every child has a strong start in life. SCAN focuses on expanding access to high-quality early childhood education, limiting food insecurity, the safety of children arriving at the southern U.S. border, and the protection of vulnerable children worldwide.
Previously, Ryan served as the Washington State Director of Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, where he supported the election of pro-labor candidates and the passage of I-1433, which raised the state’s minimum wage in 2016. Before moving to Washington State, Ryan represented progressive faith-based organizations in Washington, D.C. as a national organizer and lobbyist. He has mobilized national campaigns on immigration reform, preservation of safety net programs, and human rights. Ryan started his career working for social justice nonprofits by serving two and a half years in a Honduran orphanage, where he helped care for 50 children and taught first and second grade at the community school.
Photo and bio coming soon!
Susan A. Weiss
Susan A. Weiss is an accomplished and innovative leader in national philanthropy, public policy, and child welfare. She is a Senior Consultant for ChildFocus, Inc., working currently in Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma on court improvement and efforts to advance high quality representation for parents in dependency proceedings. Prior to consulting, she worked for 21 years for Casey Family Programs, building and funding strategic partnerships with national policy (NGA, NCSL) and judicial organizations (ABA Center on Children and the Law, NCJFCJ, and NCSC) to improve the nation’s foster care system.
She started her career as an attorney at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development with a focus on consumer fraud and lead-based paint poisoning prevention followed by political work and policy advocacy at Consumer Federation of America and Georgetown University.
For the past 3 decades, she has served on the board and executive committee of the Children’s Campaign Fund. A major proponent for volunteerism and national service, she was a governor-appointed Commissioner for the Washington State Commission on Community and National Service for 8 years and served as chair for two years. She lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington.
Amanda Wilson came to the CCF board in 2019. She lives with her husband (Joe Cunningham, also on the CCF board!) and their three children (ages 8, 16, and 22) in Shoreline, Washington. The family loves adventuring; sometimes that means camping on the Snohomish River and sometimes that means taking plane trips to remote places like Easter Island! They are avid pet owners having 7 chickens, 3 cats, and 2 frogs. Amanda and her family value giving back to their community, staying involved with local politics, and fighting the good fight.
Amanda is a partner at Northwest Estate Planning & Probate P.S., a law firm in Fremont District. Amanda’s areas of practice are Estate Planning, Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, and Guardianships. Prior to opening her firm in Fremont, Ms. Wilson practiced law in King County, Clallam County, Kitsap County, and Jefferson County (including serving as a deputy prosecutor in Jefferson County in 2015-2016 and was a public defender in Seattle, WA in 2007-2008).
Amanda served in Peace Corps as an educator volunteer teaching secondary math and science in Lesotho, Africa from 2008-2009. She worked hard for her students and also volunteered at medical clinics providing HIV medications and working with women to create small businesses.
Amanda is originally from Alaska, where she practiced as a public defender in 2002-2003. She then worked as a legislative aide with the Alaska State Legislature from 2004-2006 serving one session with a Republican House Representative in Leadership and then a second session with a Democratic Senator. This was the best possible education a person could have for how government works and how laws are made that govern people in our society.
Two co-chairs and steering committee lead the Children’s Campaign Fund. Work is accomplished through committees, including: Endorsements, Fund Development, Public Relations, and Membership and Board Development. By-laws govern the organization, which is registered with the Office of the Secretary of State and the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). CCF’s Treasurer handles all PDC filings.