Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT)

Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT)


Each January, nonprofits can apply for pro bono consulting from the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) in Monterey Bay. The Stanford ACT team of business school alumni and business executives bring decades of private business sector management expertise to participating nonprofits. These, in turn, dedicate resources to the process.

Stanford ACT was established on the Central Coast in 2005. They have completed over 60 projects assisting 50 organizations in Monterey County. The team of eleven consultants provides pro bono business consulting with a core focus on utilizing for-profit management techniques in nonprofit organizations.

ACT’s contribution is invaluable. The team helped us bring clarity to our organization’s vision and approach. And they provided us tools and language to guide our future work forward. We are extremely grateful for the time, expertise and insight ACT provided.” – Maria Cadenas, Executive Director, Santa  Cruz Community Ventures

Anna Foglia Sun Street CentersI cannot thank you enough for the rich analysis, spot on recommendations, and all around useful tool you developed for us! I know the Board is really impressed and appreciative of your work. We will be reviewing this plan a lot over the coming months, including our board retreat. Thank you all for your time, effort and expertise! I am very grateful.” – Anna Foglia, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Street Centers


Stanford ACT Application Process

  • January – Applications are due in late January each year. 2024 Applications are now closed.

    • Stanford ACT team reviews application materials.
  • February – Stanford ACT team meets with applicants as needed.
    • Stanford ACT team selects projects based on the fit between the organization’s need and the team’s capabilities, applicant’s ability to participate in the consulting process and potential community impact.
  • March – Organizations are notified of selection decision and consulting begins. All applicants are notified of decisions by the end of March.
  • October – Projects typically last through October when a final presentation is made to the organization’s board in conjunction with staff participating in the project.

Team Bios

Stanford ACT Monterey Bay

The services of the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) in Monterey Bay are offered by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Alumni Association with the Community Foundation for Monterey County as an outreach partner. The Stanford ACT in Monterey Bay is composed of ten consultants. The members of the team hold two doctorates and nine master’s degrees, including six MBA’s (from Stanford and Harvard). In addition, the members average over 30 years of senior management experience. Their experience ranges from startups to key management roles in five corporations with revenues over a billion dollars each.

Barbara BishopBarbara Bishop
Stanford ACT member since 2002 specializing in marketing and strategic planning. BA Economics, MBA, Stanford University. 18 years of management experience in Marketing, Business Planning, and Channel Development, 21 years at Hewlett Packard; several years at SRI International, and other consulting firms. Responsible for a $600M business at HP; strong services and process background.

George DiesGeorge Dies
Stanford ACT member since 2011, since 2016 in Monterey Bay specializing in financial management. strategic planning and human resources.  BA in Economics and European Civilization/French Princeton University, MBA Stanford University.  US Foreign Service Officer in Washington DC, Turkey, and Benin, West Africa. Nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley in finance, strategy, and human resources at small to Fortune 100 firms. Fellow at Marine Science Institute in Redwood City, and volunteer with other environmental organizations.

Jim GraberJim Graber
Stanford ACT member since 1991 in Silicon Valley, since 2005 in Monterey.  Led or worked on over 35 projects.  Primary focus is general business, governance, administration and finance. BA Univ. of Pennsylvania, MBA Stanford University. 40 years senior management experience in finance and general management in a variety of industries, primarily as CFO. Firms varied from start up to mature organizations, both public and private.

Sandy HaleSandy Hale  
Stanford ACT member since 2013 specializing in strategic planning, finance and nonprofit management. BA Stanford University, MBA Harvard University, Ph.D. Economics University of Vienna. 30 years senior management experience.  Former senior official U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; founded two international consulting firms, both sold to Fortune 100 companies; head of the business school and interim Dean, CSU Monterey Bay.  Former Chair, President, and Board Member of several major nonprofits.

Jose Kofman
Stanford ACT member since 2021, specializing in Business Development, Project Management, General Management  & Strategic Planning,  BS in Industrial from his native Chile and MBA from Stanford University.    Jose spent most of his career in the wood products industry, both in his native Chile and in the US.  His positions included President, CEO, and Board member.  He enjoys the intellectual challenges provided by the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team

Hui Lancaster
Stanford ACT member since 2021, specializing in operational excellence disciplines: strategy & planning, portfolio and program management, budget management, metrics, and process improvement.  BA in Psychology and English Literature, Swarthmore College and MBA from Stanford University.  25+ years of operations experience with Silicon Valley technology enterprises.

Alex Lilley
Stanford ACT member since 2005 specializing in project management, data analysis and strategic planning. BS in Electrical Engineering, Princeton; MBA, Stanford University. 30 plus years of management experience in Sales Support, Product Planning and Project Management at IBM. Led projects on a national level.  Board chairman of a property management business, responsible for strategic and financial direction.

Brooks McChesneyBrooks McChesney
Stanford ACT member since 2009 specializing in general management and strategic planning. BA History and Political Science, Stanford: JD Cornell University. 30 years of management experience. Founder and senior executive at several Silicon Valley HiTech companies, Led several VC and Corporate funded startups, Corporate Counsel for two Billion Dollar organizations.

Denny PaulDenny K. Paul, CFA
Stanford ACT member since 2006 specializing in financial, marketing, business planning, and general management. Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, Cornell; MSEE, Stanford; MBA studies at Stanford and Santa Clara University; Chartered Financial Analyst. 30 years of Management Experience, Four Silicon Valley Start-ups in Market Research, Computer Sales and Software Development;  held financial, sales, and general management positions in the US, Canada, and Europe.  Extensive acquisition experience.

Bert RankinBert Rankin
Stanford ACT member since 2020 specializing in marketing and strategic planning, BA in Economics Harvard University, MBA Stanford GSB.  35 years of solving complex problems in marketing, with extensive experience in developing high impact branding and messaging, demand generation, and product definition to meet domestic and international challenges.  Serial entrepreneur having successfully nurtured several companies from early stage through to IPO or acquisition. 

David WarnerDavid Warner
Stanford ACT member since 2016 specializing in general management, bank relations and finance, and strategic planning. BA Economics Dartmouth College, MBA Stanford GSB International Finance. 40 years of management experience in U.S. and Asian banking. Founder and management of several community banks. Peace Corps in Sri Lanka with World Health Organization project. David serves with several local nonprofit boards.

Larry Wells
Stanford ACT member since 2021, specializing in General Management,  Financial Management,  and Strategic Planning.   BA in Economics and MBA from Stanford University.  20 years in Venture Capital, initially with a major Investment Bank and later as a partner in a Venture Firm he founded. Has reviewed over 1,000 business plans, funded about 50 companies, sat on 25 corporate boards including 7 public companies.  Prior to his VC experience he was a founder of a market research and consulting firm and was a consultant with The Stanford Research Institute.

Ron WormserRon Wormser
Stanford ACT member since 2010 specializing in board development, financial planning, and build-outs of new and young organizations.  BA Political Science, Ohio University; MA Administration of Higher Education, Syracuse University. 40 years as executive with nonprofits in higher education, international research centers and performing arts.  Since retiring in 2007, he has offered consulting in board development, finance, fundraising and executive coaching. Author of book on fundraising published by BoardSource.


Project Types

What we do

  • Board development and governance
  • Business model analysis
  • Business plans for specific projects
  • Financial evaluation, planning and reporting
  • Marketing and branding
  • Organizational business model development
  • Organizational development
  • Strategic planning

Who we Serve

  • Organizations that are committed to inclusion and racial equity
  • Community Services
  • Cultural Organizations
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Legal Services
  • Social Services

How we do it

  • Broad experience
  • Senior business experts in many fields
  • Two to six consultants participate in each project
  • The nonprofit and Stanford ACT work together as a team to resolve issues
  • Team applies for-profit business techniques to nonprofit issues
  • Research and implementation
  • Specialized surveys
  • Manage nonprofit board retreats to develop agreed on strategic plans
  • Teach techniques while solving problems so organizations can do it themselves

Past Stanford ACT Projects

  • Ag Against Hunger 2018
  • AIM for Mental Health 2016
  • ARIEL Theatrical 2011
  • Big Sur Charter School 2017
  • Big Sur Health Center 2012
  • Big Sur Land Trust 2007
  • Big Sur Marathon Foundation 2019
  • BirchBark Foundation 2017
  • Bob Hoover 2023
  • Carmel Art Association 2012, 2023
  • CASA of Monterey/ San Benito Counties 2011, 2018
  • CCHAS 2010
  • Center for Photographic Art 2013
  • Central Coast Center for Independent Living 2007, 2017
  • Community Food Bank of San Benito County 2023
  • Community Foundation of San Benito County Status of Women 2013
  • Community Human Services 2010
  • Conflict Resolution Center 2014
  • Dare to Dream 2009
  • Dorothy’s Kitchen 2010
  • Every Kid Can Fly 2014
  • Everyone’s Harvest 2014
  • First 5 Monterey County 2020
  • First Tee of Monterey County 2011, 2012
  • Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries 2018
  • Gateway Center 2020-2021
  • Girl Scouts of America, Monterey Bay 2006
  • Health Projects Center 2020
  • Homeless Coalition 2009
  • Homeless Garden Project 2016
  • HOPE Services 2010, 2014
  • Hospice Giving Foundation 2018
  • Housing Resource Center 2014, 2015
  • ITN Monterey County 2016, 2023
  • Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services 2013
  • Kernes Pool 2016
  • Ladies First 2015
  • Legal Services for Seniors 2013
  • Live Again Fresno 2022
  • Live Like Geno Foundation 2021
  • Lyceum 2007, 2008
  • MATE II 2019
  • Martin Park Inc 2023
  • Meals on Wheels Monterey County 2009, 2010, 2022
  • Monterey Adult School 2007
  • Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust 2019
  • Monterey Youth Hostel 2005
  • MY Museum 2006
  • National Steinbeck Center 2016
  • Partnership for Children 2018
  • Pinnacles National Park Foundation 2017
  • Rancho Cielo 2006
  • Read to Me Project 2014
  • Salinas Police Activities League 2013
  • Save our Shores 2008
  • Santa Cruz Community Ventures 2021
  • Second Chance 2016
  • Sun Street Centers 2005, 2016
  • Sunset Cultural Center 2020
  • Unchained 2019
  • United Way Monterey County 2016
  • The Village Project 2021
  • Watsonville Film Festival 2016
  • Western Flyer Foundation 2023
  • Wonder Wood Ranch 2023
  • YWCA 2009


Client Testimonials

Stanford ACT Client Testimonials

Sunset Cultural Center
SCC turned to Stanford ACT for help with messaging our diverse programs and services while clarifying our need for public support. The team went above and beyond by studying each aspect of our organization and guiding staff through the development of a communication document as well as a fundraising plan and marketing strategy during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We now have a concise communications document to use for Board Member orientations, staff training, and a guideline for marketing our various programs.  – Christine Sandin, Executive Director, Sunset Cultural Center.

Center for Photographic Art (CPA)
The Center for Photographic Art Board of Trustees is grateful to the Stanford ACT team for the year of counseling we received in a number of organizational areas including governance, marketing and strategic planning. The process was useful, appreciated and yielded new clarity and energy. CPA reset its mission and is realizing the benefits of focused strategic planning – Jerry Takigawa, President, Board of Trustees, CPA

Everyone’s Harvest
The Stanford ACT team shared an enormous amount of information and knowledge on how to strengthen the nonprofit board, moving our organization to the next step of governance. Our work with the Stanford ACT propelled our organization to the next level. Focused on market and organizational growth, the ACT team ensured we asked the right questions, stayed true to our goal, and achieved results! – Iris Jehle-Peppard, Executive Director, Everyone’s Harvest.

Legal Services for Seniors
Legal Services for Seniors greatly benefited from the Stanford ACT’s experienced team. With their help we’ve focused our development strategy, resulting in enhanced development and fundraising. – Philip Geiger, Former Development Director, Legal Services for Seniors

Ladies First
It was a honor and a privilege to work with such caring, knowledgeable professionals. The belief and support they showed for Ladies First encouraged me to know that our organization and mission has value, and that we can strive for excellence. Their time and investment will allow us to take Ladies First to a higher level of success.- Yolanda Pruitt, Founding Executive Director, Ladies First