Development & Donor Services
"Community organization is in my blood. Both of my grandparents led their respective labor unions in the 1920s." William (Bill) Bernstein has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of community organization and fundraising. He began his practice working to organize five older adult social service centers in Essex County New Jersey. He has held positions as Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, And President and CEO of Jewish Federations in Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Boca Raton Florida. He has also served as Assistant Dean of Development of the University of Maryland School Of Law. Most recently Bill was the Major Gift Director of the RAND Corporation. Bill received his B.A, Summa Cum Laude, from Montclair State University and his M.S.W. from Rutgers University.
“I have seen workers (mostly women) escorted off their job, ridiculed and harassed by highly paid union busters. The bravest people I have met are workers who stood up against injustice. Empowering people to take action is not an easy thing to do but one of the most beautiful things you will ever witness.” Susan Naranjo has worked with SEIU Local 721 since 2008 where she started as an organizer and rose through the ranks to become the Organizing Coordinator of External Organizing. During her tenure at the local, Susan gained electoral organizing and coalition building skills, strong staff management and operations experience. She was able to grow the union by empowering workers and connecting them to issues in their community.
“As a child my father would often share his experiences growing up in segregated Texas, hearing his stories sparked my interest in the civil rights movement, which I later studied as an undergraduate student. The fight for racial justice is not over; Liberty Hill is working to eliminate the injustices that affect communities of color today.” Prior to joining Liberty Hill Blanch worked in fundraising at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Blanch holds a B.A. in History from Cal State Fullerton and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Cal State Northridge.
“There was no support in my small town when I came out. High school was a landmine of homophobic taunts and physical assaults. When I graduated, I understood that social justice would be my life’s mission. Change happens when people are empowered to speak out!” Jason is a new L.A. resident and joined Liberty Hill in December 2013. Prior, he lived in Wichita, Kansas where he was the Executive Director of the Sedgwick County Democratic Party for 8 years, and more recently an event manager at The National MS Society. Jason graduated from Wichita State University in 2005 with a B.A. in Political Science. He is also a freelance writer.
“Identities are complex and my experience growing up in Los Angeles as a queer, multiracial woman has only emphasized that. Coming from a family of organizers, I learned at a young age about the need to support movements other than ‘your own’. Organizing across the country stressed the need to address multiple systems at once, if we’re going to create a solid social justice movement.” Ariel Bustamante is a former Liberty Hill Leader to Watch and comes from our grantee Gay Straight Alliance Network (GSAN). She attended Green Mountain College, an environmental liberal arts college in the small, rural village of Poultney, Vermont and self-designed her area of study: inequality and oppression studies. As a certified HIV testing and prevention counselor, she worked to increase awareness and access to resources in the small town. For over 6 years, using an intersectional model, she worked to support the leadership development of youth activists and community organizers. As an equity and compliance expert, she trained thousands of adults in the education sector, service providers, and others across the country at conferences, on panels, and through on-site consultation.
"When my daughters were younger, I told them about all the social change I'd seen -- about the 'Colored' signs on drinking fountains in the South when I was a kid, or how law schools used to restrict the number of women admitted to just a handful each year. Now I'm proud of how my daughters' generation is pushing for justice in so many arenas." Susan attended Antioch College and has worked in performing arts and journalism. She's been a magazine, newspaper and website editor and writer, and is co-author or co-editor of several travel, performing arts, and food-related books.
"Social justice and change was always in the back of my mind, but when I had my two children it became front and center! I knew I had to find a way to do my part to make Los Angeles a better place for my children – and all children – to live and thrive." After earning her Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Diego State University, Crystal started her career as a News Associate/Production Assistant with CBS News Radio KNX 1070. While at Westwood One Radio Network, she wrote and produced two nationally syndicated radio shows. Most recently, Crystal was a television writer/researcher for BET where she wrote scripts for a daily entertainment show and managed social media around celebrity interviews.