Board Members

Board Members

Les Pappas

Les has over 30 years professional experience in social marketing and has created and implemented hundreds of public education campaigns. Many of these campaigns have focused on foster care and adoption, with the aims of raising awareness, reducing stigma and recruiting parents.

He received a BA from Clark University and an MPA from the University of San Francisco, and founded Better World Advertising in 1996, where he continues to serve as president and creative director.

As a former foster child and adoptee, Les brings both personal and professional perspectives to his volunteer work with Family Builders.

Alan Morrell
Vice President

Incoming Board President, Alan Morrell blends his commitment to service and relationships as the Store Manager for Nordstrom San Francisco Centre. With over 22 years in customer service, his work has enabled him to interact with a diverse group of individuals from all over the world. That knowledge has helped him as he’s served on the Board of Directors for the Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, Nevada and the San Francisco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Alan and his Partner Mike are the proud adoptive parents of a 7 year old boy who surprises and delights them daily. He brings his passion and commitment to Family Builders to help connect children with the loving families they deserve.

Mark Randall

As Family Builders Treasurer. Mark brings to the board financial acumen from a 30-year career in banking and bank regulation. He just retired from the FDIC, where he was an Ombudsman and managed bank receiverships. Mark has served on various governmental boards and a chamber of commerce. He and his partner adopted their 11-year-old son through Family Builders.

Jill Jacobs, M.A.
Executive Director

Jill brings over 25 years experience in multi-cultural community based health and social services organizations. She has a Masters degree in Health Services Administration, as well as extensive experience in fiscal management, program development, strategic planning and public policy advocacy. She has been the Executive Director of Family Builders since 1996, and has developed a program model that is responsive to the needs of children and youth needing permanent families. Her many professional affiliations include: the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, California Association of Adoption Agencies, California Permanency for Youth Project, Family Builders Adoption Network, National Advisory Network for the Child Welfare League of America and Lambda Joint Initiative, National Advisory Council of Human Rights Campaign All Children All Families Initiative, Children and Family Services Network of Alameda County, California Department of Social Services State Advisory Committee on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) Children and Youth in Child Welfare. Jill is a national leader and advocate on issues affecting LGBT adoptive families and LGBTQ youth in foster care. Jill has created innovative programs to meet the needs of underserved and disenfranchised children and youth; including services for older youth, believing no child should leave the foster care system without a permanent family. Jill is the mother of two children, via adoption.

Brenda Zarate
Board Member

Brenda Zarate is a staple in San Francisco philanthropic circles. Upon her arrival to San Francisco she joined the late Bella Farrow in her fundraising efforts for The Saint Francis Foundation via Hob Nob on the Hill. She subsequently spent few years as a volunteer for Helpers for the Mentally Disabled along side Joy Venturini Bianchi and supports the San Francisco Opera Gild, and Shanti Project among other local charities.

Ms. Zarate initially followed the prominent family tradition by working in the intellectual Academic Arm of politics in her native Mexico City, but now spends her time nurturing her love for fashion in San Francisco. She embarked on her fashion career at the House of Yves Saint Laurent managing for some years, and is currently the Boutique Director for fashion's most monumental institutions.

Ms. Zarate enjoys traveling and different cultures, is fluent in Spanish, French and English and loves a new pair of shoes.

Farah Makras
Board Member

Farah Makras is President of SF Staging of San Francisco, providing staging for both commercial and residential properties. Her civic involvement includes Board memberships on The Asian Neighborhood Design and The Booker T. Washington Community Center.

She residents in the San Francisco Marina neighborhood with her husband, Victor Makras, a real estate broker. Farah has four children: Shahin,Tyler, Kameron and Lyla.

Garrett Hayashida
Board Member

Garrett brings human resources, technology and management consulting experience to the board. He currently works in HR specializing in compensation, systems and operations. Garrett earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration / Management Information Systems from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Although not a parent himself, Garrett has witnessed the struggle of friends through the adoption process and the difference this organization can make.

Mahesh Patki
Board Member

Mahesh Patki works in the Real Estate business specializing in Residential Leasing and Relocations. He grew up in India and came to the US to study Architecture at Cornell University. Upon graduating, he moved to San Francisco and worked in the Architecture business for almost 20 years. A few years ago, Mahesh and his husband, Brian, decided to adopt a foster child through Family Builders. Following this major life transition, Mahesh decided to pursue a career in Real Estate so he could have more flexibility in his schedule to take care of his son. He is honored and thrilled to be on the Board and brings his passion for the betterment of foster kids to the organization.

Will Cowart
Board Member

Will Cowart has served as a member of the Family Builders Board of Directors since April 2012, and currently serves as the Chair of the Development and Program Committees. Will has over 20 years of senior management experience in the biotechnology industry, and has been on several scientific and healthcare advisory boards.

Will is a patented inventor and directs a team of scientists and engineers around the world for Abbott Laboratories, working on developing Hematology Systems. Will holds a Doctoral degree from the University of California, San Francisco in Biomedical Sciences and a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University, Alabama. Will brings to the board strategic planning, risk management, capital-raising awareness, and has been through the Fostering and Adoption Process.

Will is married and has two children. He is also active in the community, working to build the philanthropy necessary to find homes for Fost-Adopt children.

Donate Now