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Board of Directors

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Pam Hawkes

President

Pamela Hawkes is a retired college administrator and current president of the Board of Directors of the Claremont Forum. After retiring, she has been an active community volunteer for several organizations.

 

Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication, with a minor in social psychology. As a college administrator, her duties and responsibilities included budget oversight, developing and supervising academic staff, developing institutional policies and procedures, marketing and fundraising, student recruiting and advising, and faculty support services. 

 

As a member at large for the Claremont Forum Board of Directors, Pamela volunteered her time reading letters from prisoners, sorting books, and organizing books for processing and mailing. As an officer of the board, she actively participates in organizing and presiding at Board meetings, programs oversight, budget oversight, human resources oversight, and recruiting community members to serve as board members. 

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Sergio Perez

PLP Program Director

Sergio Perez serves as the Program Director of the Prison Library Project (PLP), overseeing all aspects of its operations. As a devoted long-time volunteer, he has been integral to the mission of PLP, working closely with volunteers, staff, and board members to ensure the program runs efficiently and maintains a high standard of quality in the books distributed.


Sergio has also established connections with other book-to-prisoner programs across the country. He facilitates letter exchanges, shares vital information about prison restrictions, and collaborates with various organizations to enhance the accessibility of books to prisoners nationwide, continually seeking to improve and expand the impact of the PLP. He regularly seeks opportunities for partnerships with local libraries, churches, educational institutions, and other community organizations to secure more resources for the PLP


In addition to his role at the PLP, Sergio Perez brings a wealth of experience and a deep personal commitment to advocacy and education. Before joining the PLP, Sergio worked in various volunteer settings, where he developed a passion for literacy and social justice. 


He believes that access to books and education serves not only as a tool for personal development but also as a means of reducing recidivism and aiding in the successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals into society.

Green Reflection

Mary A. Eddy, RN, MSN

Board Member

Mary first became aware of the PLP from a Los Angeles Times article more than a decade ago, and became a regular book donor and shopper at the bookstore.

 

As the PLP’s mission of providing books to the incarcerated aligns with Mary’s fervent belief that books can truly change lives, Mary began volunteering in the bookstore in 2022 and joined the board in 2023. She brings to the bookstore a strong background as an avid reader and participant in many literary related groups including Penguin Random House Readers’ Insight Panel and Center for Fiction, NY, NY.  

Professionally, Mary works as a Physician Peer Review specialist in a Los Angeles hospital. She resides in Pasadena with her husband and fellow PLP volunteer, Blanton. They are the proud parents of two young men.

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Larissa Pullen

Board Member

Larissa is a new member of the Claremont Forum Board as of 2024. She was born and raised in Claremont, a short walk away from the Prison Library Bookshop and the Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market. She recalls fondly her time in the bookshop, viewing art and purchasing books, attending writing workshops held in the store, and walking the bustling Sunday morning market street every week. 

 

Though she has since moved closer to Monterey Park, her deep roots in Claremont and appreciation for the community that shaped her led her to back to reconnection to her hometown through volunteering as a grant writer with the Claremont Forum during a career transition. The Claremont Forum’s mission proved to be a natural extension of her own passion and values, which involve literature, arts, well-being, and ensuring enjoying those activities are accessible to all, especially for those who would be most forgotten.

 

She went on to engage in several grant writing trainings to help the Prison Library Project  pursue this new venture, and continues to hone the processes of grant seeking and writing for the organization.With professional experience and "creative-saavy" in project management, writing, and team leadership, she seeks to strengthen administrative capacities of the organization, advocate for the important work of the PLP, and explore opportunities for more collaboration within the Claremont community. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a visual arts minor from Azusa Pacific University and works as a freelance grant writer.

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Ron Riggio

Vice-President

Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College. Dr. Riggio is a social/personality psychologist and leadership scholar with more than two dozen authored or edited books and more than 250 articles/book chapters. His research interests are in leadership, team processes, I-O Psychology, and organizational and nonverbal communication.

A Claremont resident since 1998, Ron helped create and run the Leadership Claremont program, sponsored by the City of Claremont and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce, designed to increase the leadership capacity of government officials, business owners, nonprofit directors, and others. In addition to serving as Vice President of the Claremont Forum Board, he also is a member of the Board of the Southern California Service Corps and the Inland Valley Volunteer Resource Center. He previously served on the Board of JustUs4Youth.

Dr. Riggio is the recipient of many research and program grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the Kellogg Foundation, Southern California Edison, the Army Research Institute, and a number of small foundations. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Leadership Association.

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Rachel McDonnell

Secretary

Rachel McDonnell, a former high school social science educator within the Fontana Unified School District, and has been volunteering at the Claremont Forum since 2008. Her contributions have primarily revolved around website management and various administrative duties, and she served as a volunteer manager for several years.

Rachel has served on the board of directors for both the Claremont Educational Foundation and Crossroads Women.

Holding a BA in Behavioral Science from Cal Poly, Pomona, her academic pursuits were centered on educational psychology. This was continued by earning a teaching credential from Cal State, San Bernardino.

As a staunch advocate for the transformative power of books, Rachel recognizes their critical role in supporting personal growth, education, and mental escape for incarcerated adults. Through her marketing and fundraising efforts, she is committed to providing these vital resources to help facilitate positive change and continued learning for those within the prison system.

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Lynn Burrows

Board Member

Lynn Burrows is an active cellist and cello teacher. She has taught at the California State University Suzuki String Program, the Hollywood Jewish Community Center, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and for decades in her private studio in Claremont. She is the founder and former director of the Youngstown Suzuki Program, the Peterborough Suzuki Strings Program, and Inland Valley Music Together. 

Books and libraries have been an important part of her life since childhood, when she volunteered for her school library and local public library. She has been on the board of the Friends of the Claremont Library for many years, where she has edited the newsletter and served on the Claremont on the Same Page committee. Her work for the Prison Library Project has reinforced her passion for making the written word accessible to everyone. She has also organized a series of musical performances at the Claremont Forum Bookshop.

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Rick Moore

Founder

Rick Moore's background is rooted in the wellness and life skills education field of the 1970s, complemented by biofeedback training. He leveraged these skills as an educator and technician across various settings, including local psychiatric hospitals, pain management clinics, and the addiction and recovery sector.

 

In 1987, Moore was presented with the chance to lead a prison library project by a small nonprofit in Prescott, Arizona. This initiative aimed at sending books and letters to inmates across the nation interested in personal growth, spirituality, and a mix of quality fiction and nonfiction. Often, these shipments included a handwritten letter, opening the door to the potential development of a pen-pal relationship.

Fast forward to the present, and the PLP has distributed over 1 million books to inmates throughout the United States.

To achieve this, with the extensive support and guidance from numerous individuals and organizations, he helped create the Claremont Forum for Ideas, Arts, and Community Service. This organization served as a foundation for the Prison Library Project, providing a variety of offerings including lectures, training programs, musical events, art shows, and at times, hosting a dance school, as well as yoga and meditation training. Eventually, the Claremont Forum also undertook the management of the Claremont Farmers Market.

Moore is profoundly grateful to all the individuals and organizations that have contributed to the growth of the Claremont Forum and the Prison Library Project. Thanks to their collective efforts, they have been able to assist thousands of individuals in their quest for growth and learning.

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April Flores-Cooper

Treasurer

April Flores Cooper serves as the treasurer on the Claremont Forum board and contributes to the community as a dedicated Parks and Recreation employee in the City of San Bernardino. Beyond her professional roles, April is a mother, wife, and proud grandmother.

 

Her artistic flair extends beyond the workplace, as she actively engages in creative projects at home and within the community. A strong advocate for literacy, diversity, inclusion, and cultural education, April passionately supports the arts, fostering a sense of community through her involvement in various projects that aim to enrich and embrace cultural diversity.

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Michael White, J.D.

Board Member

Michael H. White is a new member of the Forum board. He has practiced law in Southern California since 1974. His practice has been a general one and has included, among other areas, business and commercial litigation; real estate transactions and litigation; and estate planning.


He has extensive training and experience as a mediator and participates as an arbitrator in attorney-client fee disputes and other matters.


Michael is a past President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and a founding director of the Death With Dignity National Center. He has experience in leading non-profit and for-profit organizations in the launch process. He was, for a period of three years, the executive director of
Riverside Legal Aid.


Formerly, he was an assistant professor in the Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and
Peacebuilding Program at California State University Dominguez Hills, and has taught in both traditional and online environments, including as a professor of law at St. Francis College of Law. He is a board member and president of The Grace Nixon Foundation and Riverside Legal Aid.
 
Education
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, J.D., 1971
University of Oklahoma, B.A., 1966
Admitted to Practice:  California, 1972

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