Thrive Policy & Advocacy is entering its second year of activity. As many of you know, it was the result of several months of forums, surveys, and feedback from the community. We launched Thrive Action Groups (TAGs) last summer with much success. 

TAGs have been formed in five key issue areas identified as a result of our Reflect, Respond, & Engage series. As you'll see below, each of our TAGs is spearheaded by an expert Anchor Organization:

  • Children & Education: 9:00 - 10:00 am, Second Wednesdays, Heather Cleary, CEO, Peninsula Family Service. 
  • Immigrant & Worker’s Rights: 9:00 - 10:00 am, Third Wednesdays, Stacey Hawver, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.
  • Basic Needs & Safety Net: 9:00 -10:00 am Fourth Wednesdays, Bart Charlow, CEO, Samaritan House. 
  • Arts & Culture: Anchor Organization to be determined
  • Environment & Sustainability: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm, Third Wednesdays, in partnership with Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC).

Purpose of TAGs - Thrive Action Groups
Monitor. Communicate. Advocate.

  • To monitor key shifts in each area in light of the changing national trajectory
  • To communicate opportunities and threats in the environment to the Thrive community 
  • To advocate for positive change by harnessing collective wisdom and power of the group  

Each group will meet monthly at the specified time and location. Thrive anchors will submit monthly summaries and Thrive will create a monthly advocacy and policy newsletter to benefit the community.

Archived monthly policy and advocacy newsletters: 

TAG Meeting Times and Location 

Monthly, Wednesday mornings
Sobrato Center for Nonprofits - Redwood Shores
Channel Conference Room
330 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City, CA 94065
Thrive Policy and Advocacy Training Series

In addition to our TAGs, which are issue specific, we will be providing a series of trainings to support all of our Thrive membership in their policy and advocacy work.

Please send any questions, comments, and enthusiasm to our new Thrive Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, Petra Silton, at Petra has been a community leader and volunteer in San Mateo for almost 20 years.

TAG meetings are currently open to anyone in the community. In the future, we may need to limit them to Thrive membership. We look forward to connecting with you on these important issues.


Steering Committee

Bart Charlow, Executive Director, 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, Executive Director, 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.