Urban Habitat Staff


Ellen Wu

Ellen Wu, Executive Director.  For the past 12 years Ellen Wu has helped lead the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), a statewide health advocacy organization.  In 2012, Ellen led CPEHN’s efforts to pass Assembly Bill 441 which directs the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to create a summary of local transportation projects that promote health and equity in the state’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) guidance in an effort to ensure that regional planning incorporates land use, transportation and housing policies and investments that promote public health goals. Ellen also helped establish Having Our Say, a coalition of over 30 community organizations working to ensure communities of color have a voice in health care reform. Prior to joining CPEHN, Ellen was a Program Officer at the Tides Foundation and served as Director of Health Education and Cultural Linguistic Services for the Alameda Alliance for Health. She is an adjunct faculty member at San Francisco State University and serves on numerous boards and advisory committees, including: Senate President pro Tem Steinberg’s appointee to the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board; City of Oakland’s Park and Recreation Commission; the Board of Directors for the California Budget Project; and the Board of Directors of California Association of Nonprofits. She received her Masters in Public Health from UCLA. 


Evvy Stivers“Evvy” Stivers, Director of Development, has worked as a political organizer on environmental, land use and housing issues since 1996 when she graduated from Green Corps, a field school for environmental organizing. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, Evvy worked for the Non-Profit Housing Association on regional initiatives including the Housing Element and Inclusionary Housing campaigns and was the organization’s representative to the Great Communities Collaborative. Earlier in her carrier she directed the Western States Field Office for the US Public Interest Research Group and served as the Livable Communities Associate Director for Greenbelt Alliance. She has served on the boards of TransForm, the League of Conservation Voters for the East Bay, Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County and East Bay Housing Organizations. 




Transportation Justice 

Bob Allen

 Bob Allen, Director of Transportation Justice, Bob has lead the TJ Program at UH since 2007. In 2009 Bob helped lead a successful coalition Civil Rights campaign to stop the use of $70 million in federal stimulus funds for the Oakland Airport Connector project based on civil rights violations. More recently Bob led UH's work supporting the successful Free MUNI for Youth campaign and regional equity campaign through the 6 Wins Network. His background and experience include community planning and policy work both in the United States and internationally with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), labor organizing with UNITE, as well as organizing and advocacy with refugee and immigrant communities. Bob received both his bachelor's degree in Political Science and History and his master's in Public Policy from Rutgers University.  

Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute
Uma ViswanathanUma Viswanathan, Director of Leadership Development, is a social entrepreneur and leadership trainer with seven years of experience in national and global strategy and innovation, program design and management of social and environmental ventures focused on leadership development. She graduated with a B.A. and M.A. from Harvard University, focused on psychology. Uma has designed curriculum and facilitated experiential learning engagements for about 1,000 people in secondary and university education, government, community, and NGO settings, totaling 130,000 man-hours of leadership training. In 2008, Uma founded and directed Nouvelle Vie Haiti, a sustainable development program in Haiti that developed 350 Haitian community leaders who have impacted nearly 10,000 Haitians in 4 years. Nouvelle Vie has received recognition from the World Bank, UNICEF, and USAID as one of Haiti's top youth leadership development programs and has been written about in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Triple Pundit, and Care2.

Catherine-Mercedes Judge, Associate Director, BCLI has experience coordinating programs and campaigns with youth, political, labor, and community organizations in the Bay Area and New York City. Recently, she worked at the Youth Leadership Institute for three years organizing youth-led public health campaigns. Catherine-Mercedes serves as the Board Vice Chair of the South of Market Community Action Network, on the Citywide Transitional Age Youth Advisory Board, and represents District 6 on the San Francisco Park, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee. She graduated with honors from Queens College in New York with a B.A. in Urban Studies, and from the 2012 cohort of the BCLI.

Joe Feria-Galicia, Ph.D, Educational Technologist, designs and implements curricula using innovative technology for multiple Urban Habitat programs. He maintains the online course site for the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) and supports the program’s growing alumni network with hybrid and mobile learning technologies. Joe comes to Urban Habitat with extensive teaching experiences and is passionate about supporting critical media literacy skills to encourage civic engagement and active democratic participation. He successfully defended his dissertation in the Educational Policy Studies Program from the University of Illinois in 2010.

In 1999, Dr. Feria-Galicia completed his Master's Degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine Graduate School. As a member of the Scholars Program at Whittier College, Joe graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in 1994. He later obtained his California Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Clear Bilingual Crosscultural Language Academic Development Certificate from the State of California.



Josy McEldowney, Associate Director of Operations and Administration, has more than 10 years of experience in non-profit administration and bookkeeping, and most recently ran her own consulting business, McEldowney Bookkeeping Services. Josy has a Master’s degree in Public Health from University of Hawaii, Honolulu. 




 Rae Rae: Rae Thomas ImageRae Thomas, Administrative Assistant, has a strong background in working for social justice movements and organizations. For the past ten years, he has worked as an advocate, administrator, teacher, community organizer, and writer. Prior to landing at Urban Habitat, Rae was the Administrative Coordinator for RYSE Youth Center. Before moving to California, he served as the Program Director at an LGBTQ organization in Tacoma, Washington. Rae received his Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from California College of the Arts and his Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and Writing from The Evergreen State College.