Meet the Team
Hello, and thanks for visiting!
Left to right: Dr. Elizabeth Mendoza, Christina Rodriguez, Lynn Magruder, Sandra Cruz, Lani Yoshimura
Lynn Magruder, Secretary
Lynn Magruder was one of the original incorporators of the South County Collaborative and has served two terms as Board Chairperson. She currently writes grants and government contract proposals for Community Solutions, a mental health and victim service provider in Gilroy with an annual budget of $40 million. She served as Planning & Development Director for Rebekah Children’s Services, a nonprofit foster care provider, where she managed strategic planning, board governance improvement and foundation and corporate grants.
For five years, she was Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County, a nonprofit arts council that provided grants, school arts programs and technical support to 40,000 residents. She worked as Development Director for the Center for Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe, NM, a new media and visual arts center; and she was Manager of statewide grants programs for the Arts Council of New Mexico. Ms. Magruder has served as the boards of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Monterey Bay; Pajaro Valley Arts Council; and the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitor’s Council. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonprofit Arts Administration and Bachelor’s degrees in English and Dance.
Dr. Elizabeth Mendoza-Levy
Elizabeth comes from a family of migrant farmworkers. She is the first Mexican American female to attend the University of Southern California School of Medicine. For nearly 20 years, she served the Latino population in San Francisco’s Mission District and worked at Valley Health Center in San Martin and Gilroy for 19 years. Her practice has included foster children, children with learning disabilities, and physically disabled children. Dr. Mendoza-Levy has, for many years, participated in planning and served as Moderator for the Binational Health Conference.
Lani Yoshimura was born and raised in the small Northern California town of Colusa. She attended the local community college, worked in the public library, and spent a couple of summers in Mexico traveling and studying with the University of Arizona and Instituto Allende. As an undergraduate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, she was influenced by the teachings of her professors to effect change at the grassroots level and was a member of its first 1969 graduating class. She later attended graduate schools at University of Hawaii and San Jose State University earning a Master’s degree in Library Science.
Lani has worked in public libraries for nearly 50 years. She has been the community librarian at the Gilroy Library, a Santa Clara County Library for more than 40 years putting into practice her belief in community and the right of all people to know. The roots for her interest in social justice and intellectual freedom grew out of her Japanese-American family’s WWII experiences and her father’s deep-seated belief in education and freedom of speech. She has worked extensively with diverse communities and helped to found the Reading Program, one of the largest and oldest existing library literacy programs in the state. She was a recipient of the MACSA Community Heroes in Education award in 2004 and the Silicon Valley NAACP Rosa Parks Award in 2007. In 2012, she was named Gilroy Woman of the Year for her role in helping to bring the dream of a new library for the community to fruition.
Lani is fluent in Spanish and has traveled extensively and studied in Latin America. In her other life, she is an artist.
Sandra has lived in Gilroy since she was 7 years old, grew up across the street from San Ysidro Park and attended public local schools in Gilroy. After high school, Sandra went on to receive a full-ride scholarship to attend The University of California, Berkeley where she graduated in May 2014.
Since her graduation, Sandra has worked for several bay area nonprofits and has served as the Community Coordinator with the City of Gilroy for the last two years. Sandra Cruz has over seven years of experience in working with diverse segments of our populations within empowering, guiding, and linking community members; youth and adults to educational and community resources. Some of the diverse groups of community members she has worked with include: foster youth, homeless, single-parent, at-risk, gang-impacted, immigrant, undocumented and low-income students and families.
Additionally, she has worked in developing, preparing and organizing gang prevention and intervention, pro-social community events and programs for youth and community members that include youth leadership summer programs, after-school youth groups, community cohesion events, Late Night Gyms, and other non-traditional community based programs.
She is currently the South County Youth Task Force Coordinator with the City of Gilroy in where the depth of her experience and her strong conviction that everyone deserves the right to a fair, accessible and equitable life, uplifts and contributes to the South County Youth Task Force’s mission of creating safe and healthy opportunities for South County youth so they may become successful and productive in their homes, schools and neighborhoods.
City of Gilroy