Thrive’s Policy and Advocacy program focuses on giving a voice and a vehicle to those without strong political voices, be they nonprofits, nonprofit clients, eligible voters who are not yet exercising their rights, or residents who are not being counted.

The purpose of Policy & Advocacy program is to:


the political landscape at the local, state, and federal level for issues that pertain to our members


these issues through our convenings and communication channels


both with and on behalf of our nonprofits for positive change

Thrive Action Groups (TAGs) were formed in five key issue areas identified as a result of our Reflect, Respond, & Engage series. Each of our TAGs is spearheaded by an expert Anchor Organization:

Archived monthly Policy & Advocacy Newsletters: 
2019: December/January, February, March, April, May, June/July, August
2018: January, February, March, April, May, June/July, August, September, October, November
2017: October, November, December

Steering Committee

Bart Charlow, CEO, Samaritan House

Bart Charlow is a seasoned CEO who manages non-profit, health care and human services organizations, and is a Licensed Family Therapist. His career spans diverse fields, including business administration, education, research, audio-visual media and information technology.

In 40 years as a Bay Area executive he led regional non-profits: Easter Seals Bay Area; Adult & Child Guidance Center, Silicon Valley FACES, Peninsula Volunteers, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and more. He has been an Instructor for the Joint Commission, St. Mary’s College and Notre Dame de Namur.

Bart served on numerous boards and commissions and has been awarded for his Interfaith work. He holds an M.A. in Counseling and a B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology from Wake Forest. He has been featured on TV, radio, and in papers many times, has been quoted in Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, and was interviewed on the NBC Today Show.


Heather Cleary, CEO, Peninsula Family Service

A San Mateo resident and a Bay Area native, Heather joined Peninsula Family Service in 2010 as Chief Financial Officer and has been Executive Director since 2016. She received her degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and got her professional start as an accountant at Arthur Andersen where she earned her CPA license. She will obtain her Masters in Public Administration degree at San Francisco State University in May 2017.

Heather joined the nonprofit world 15 years ago, working at a private foundation and public charities. In 2015, Heather took on the added role of Associate Executive Director/CFO, overseeing our Early Learning Program as well as partnering with former Executive Director Arne Croce, to increase our impact and sustainability. Upon her promotion as Executive Director, she continues ensuring strong financial and risk management and focuses on measuring and improving outcomes for all our program participants.

Heather uses her analytical and organizational skills as a PTA volunteer at her children’s school, and as a member of the CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) for San Mateo. She also serves as Board Member of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce.


M. Stacey Hawver, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

Ms. Hawver has been a public interest lawyer for more than 20 years. A well known advocate on behalf of low-income residents of San Mateo County, Ms. Hawver has received the San Mateo County Women Lawyers Section’s Elinor Falvey Award for service to low income families and seniors and in 2013 was named by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence. She recently served on San Mateo County’s Closing the Jobs/Housing Gap Task Force and Community Choice Energy Advisory Committee.

Ms. Hawver joined Legal Aid as a staff attorney in 1990 where she focused her efforts on administrative law. She also worked as a Directing Attorney before becoming the Executive Director in 2002. Ms. Hawver graduated first in her class from Stanford Law School. She also has a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics and an A.B. in Economics from Cornell University.

Gina Quiney, Legislative Aide, Office of Supervisor Carole Groom, Thrive Board President

Gina has been civically engaged and a volunteer in the community since childhood. She served on the San Carlos Youth Advisory Council for four years, achieved a Girl Scout Gold Award and received HIP Housing’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2004. Gina graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in religious studies and subsequently worked as Program Coordinator for the Peninsula Clergy Network. For the last four years, Gina has served as legislative aide to San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom. In this role, Gina works on policy related to children and youth, housing, and human services. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of HIP Housing. Gina lives in Daly City with her husband, Orlando and son.