Ben Nurse, Chair
Ben Nurse joined The Village Project board in Fall 2015. He is an active volunteer and sees one’s ability to do community service as a blessing and a privilege. He served in Peace Corps Benin, West Africa, 2000-2002, was a co-founder and past president of Bay View Academy Charter School, and is an alumnus of the Leadership Monterey Peninsula (2015).
Ben is a recognized leader in the Monterey Bay real estate and business communities, and serves as President of the Monterey Commercial Property Owners Association and as a member of The Rotary Club of Monterey. He has been involved in real estate for over two decades, in sales and residential and commercial property management, managing office complexes, retail, large shopping centers, and apartment communities, while helping many home owners and investors realize their dreams.
Ben earned a MA in teaching English as a second and foreign language from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), a BA in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and an AA in Elementary Education from Medgar Evers College, City University of New York.
A migrant from Brooklyn, NY, he lives in Monterey with his wife Alicia and their two daughters. He loves to run obstacle course races, ski, golf, travel, give big hugs and laugh deeply!
Charles A. Brown, Vice Chair
I found an organization that fulfills my retirement years. I can give back some of the knowledge that I have attained through years of intensive job training and representation. The Village Project, Inc. (TVPI) is the epitome of a confraternity.
My Father, Samuel Brown moved his family to Seaside in 1958, a military transplant. I attended local public schools from Noche Buena elementary school to Fremont Jr. High School to Seaside High (Class of 1968) to Monterey Peninsula College (Class of 1970). I continued my education at San Jose State University. In 1971, I began working as an Emergency 911 Call Taker, with the City of San Jose, while attending SJSU. I was hired by the San Jose Police Department in 1972, as a Police Officer and spent 32 years with the department gaining valuable life lessons, as well as Leadership skills. I worked several assignments that added to my skill set. Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Juvenile Missing Persons Detective, Vice Detective, Recruiter/Background Investigations, promoted to Sergeant and worked as Internal Affairs Investigator, Supervisor of Police Activities League (PAL), Patrol Supervisor, Fraud Unit (Elderly Financial Abuse) Supervisor, Youth Protection Team Supervisor, Airport Police Supervisor and assigned by the Chief’s Office as Special Assistant to the Chief (Liaison to the African-American Community).
Currently, I am the elected, Area 1 Trustee for Monterey Peninsula College, serving my second term. I am a 2012 graduate of, “Leadership Monterey Peninsula (LMP)” and since 2015 serve on their Executive Board.
My reason for involvement with TVPI. is youth development. I have three beautiful adult daughters and five grandchildren. All attended or attending public schools. There are thousands of youth on this Peninsula. They need more direction and leadership skills. TVPI can be the hands and minds that help mold their future. TVPI provides hope for the future in the form of social change, interpersonal skills and family values. That is how you mold the future of Monterey County and I want to be part of the transition team.
Birt Johnson, Jr., Secretary
Birt Johnson, Jr. retired after 33 rewarding years with AT&T. In his last assignment, he served as General Manager of the Central Valley / Central Coast Construction & Engineering Region for AT&T. His professional responsibilities included managing over 700 employees who design, build, and maintain AT&T’s advanced telecommunications network. Prior to that assignment, he served for six years as General Manager for the Silicon Valley Region with AT&T.
He held a wide variety of line management and staff positions with increasing technical and leadership responsibilities during his career – including, Network Planning, Network Engineering, Technology Selection and Evaluation, Network Operations and External Affairs.
Mr. Johnson is a long-time resident of the Monterey Peninsula from the early 1960’s. He is a product of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District and a proud Seaside Spartan.
He has served in elected capacity as President of Santa Cruz County United Way, Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce and as Chair of the Monterey Peninsula College Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. He has also served on the Board of Directors for a number of local organizations and presently serves on the Board of Directors for Monterey Peninsula College Foundation and Monterey County Pops!
Frances Baca, Treasurer
Fran has been in public accounting for 30 years and is currently a CPA with Tostevin Accountancy Corp. Prior to her career in public accounting, Fran was a high school English and Physical Education teacher for 10 years. She has been involved with local nonprofits for over 20 years, serving on the boards of several including the National Coalition Building Institute and Interim, Inc. Prior to joining the TVPI board as Treasurer in October 2016, Fran served on the Advisory Board for two years. She lives with her partner in Carmel.
Ann Todd Jealous, MTF
Ann Todd Jealous has served as a consultant to many nonprofit agencies and as a board member of several. She is a life member of the NAACP and a founding member of the Monterey chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute, an international leadership organization dedicated to the elimination of social oppression.
In 2008, she retired from 27 years of private practice as a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Prior to her work as a therapist & periodically during that time, she taught social science and women’s studies courses to college students. Her college teaching career began at Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest private Historically Black College.
In 2012, she received the ACLU Ralph B. Atkinson Award for commitment to social justice and civil rights. In 2013, the University of Nebraska Press published Combined Destinies: Whites Sharing Grief About Racism, an anthology that Ann co-authored/co-edited with Caroline Haskell, LCSW. In 2015, the Links, Inc. honored her for “Yesterday’s Courage.” In 2016, she was honored as “Woman of the Year,” for the 29th Assembly District of California.
Ann has been married to Fred Jealous, the founder of Men’s Alternatives to Violence and the Breakthrough Men’s Community for 50 years. They have two children and three grandchildren.
La Verne Baker Leyva
La Verne is a teacher at Pacific Grove Adult School for over 30 years. She is an experienced trainer with a background in diversity and multicultural awareness, team building, conflict resolution and leadership development. La Verne was raised on the Monterey Peninsula, many of those years on the former Ft. Ord site. Her father, Vernon Baker was a career soldier and the only living African-American to receive the nation’s highest medal of honor, the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II. She has been actively involved with several local non-profits that provide support and service to historically underserved populations (Special Olympics, Monterey County, Josephine Kernes Memorial Pool, NAMI, Monterey County and the National Coalition Building Institute, Monterey County Chapter). She has raised three children with her husband and sister and lives in Seaside.
Princess D. Pope
Princess is very passionate about the goals and objectives of this community-based organization. Their mission mirrors her belief and life works, making it imperative that our young people have positive community role models, and active parent participation. She proudly volunteers on the Board of TVPI because it provides a variety of critical services which addresses unmet needs to under served students and their families. TVPI meets the needs of the “whole” person and offers the community an opportunity to receive assistance to improve their circumstances socially, educational, and psychological, at no cost.
Princess is a parent advocate and community activist. She earned a Certificate in Early Childhood Development, an AS Degree in Math & Science, a BA Degree in Social & Behavioral Science, an MA Degree in Education, and is currently working towards her doctoral degree. She is the first African-American to be named as a CSUMB Pre-Doctoral Scholar. She has taught in public and private schools, on all grade school levels. This mother of 5 serves as the Monterey County NAACP Education Chair for 15 years, and volunteers on community boards with MPC, MPUSD, and the Village Project, Inc. Board of Directors. She is a community organizer and a parent advocate.