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Finance and Operations

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Finance and Operations

The Finance and Operations Department supports the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of the people of California through the stewardship of all Foundation resources and services to staff, grantees, and philanthropic and nonprofit partners.


 

Margaret W. Minnich,
Chief Operating and Financial Officer

Margaret W. Minnich is chief operating and financial officer for The California Wellness Foundation, where she oversees all finance, information technology, grants management and administrative activities. She is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Foundation, and, working closely with the CEO, helps develop and implement the Foundation’s vision and strategies.

Full Biography

Margaret W. Minnich is chief operating and financial officer for The California Wellness Foundation, where she oversees all finance, information technology, grants management and administrative activities. She is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Foundation, and, working closely with the CEO, helps develop and implement the Foundation’s vision and strategies.

Minnich joined Cal Wellness in 1992 and has held the positions of director of finance and vice president of finance and administration. She was appointed chief operating officer in 2015. Before joining the Foundation, she worked as a manager at Micom, where she was responsible for manufacturing accounting, and later, financial reporting and budgeting. After leaving Micom, she was a self-employed accountant for nearly two years. She has also worked as a senior accountant with the public accounting firm of Ernst and Young in Los Angeles.

Minnich is a certified public accountant. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Southern California.

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Follow Margaret on Twitter: @coo_calwellness


 

Erica Alsenat,
Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating and Financial Officer

Erica Alsenat is executive assistant to the chief operating and financial officer at The California Wellness Foundation. In this role, she coordinates administrative activities for the COO/CFO and for the Finance and Operations Department, which includes monitoring communications, reports and timelines related to various projects.

Full Biography

Erica Alsenat is executive assistant to the chief operating and financial officer at The California Wellness Foundation. In this role, she coordinates administrative activities for the COO/CFO and for the Finance and Operations Department, which includes monitoring communications, reports and timelines related to various projects.

Alsenat joined Cal Wellness in February 2017. Previously, she worked as a host and supervisor at Superba Food and Bread in El Segundo. She moved to California in 2016 from St. Louis, Missouri, where she held a volunteer position as assistant diversity coordinator at Mary Institute Country Day School. In her role, she coordinated diversity-centered activities for middle and high school students. She also received a stipend for her work as programming assistant for Youth Learning Center, and volunteered as a community organizer for Lewis Place Historical Preservation, Inc. Prior to that, she worked as an assistant strategist with Horizon Media Inc. in New York.

Alsenat holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Saint Louis University and a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Rochelle Witharana,
Controller/Director of Finance

Rochelle Witharana is controller/director of finance for The California Wellness Foundation. She is responsible for managing the Foundation’s accounting and finance functions, including management of internal control systems, development of the annual operating budget, preparation of all financial and management reports, and preparation of tax and regulatory filings. She also oversees cash management, investment portfolio performance, investment operations, and implementation of, and compliance with, the Foundation’s investment policy.

Full Biography

Rochelle Witharana is controller/director of finance for The California Wellness Foundation. She is responsible for managing the Foundation’s accounting and finance functions, including management of internal control systems, development of the annual operating budget, preparation of all financial and management reports, and preparation of tax and regulatory filings. She also oversees cash management, investment portfolio performance, investment operations, and implementation of, and compliance with, the Foundation’s investment policy.

She has held senior financial management roles in nonprofit organizations, government agencies and private businesses, acquiring experience in investment accounting, financial reporting, process re-engineering and systems implementation. Before joining Cal Wellness in May 2015, she served as accounting manager for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and previously was controller for the Arizona State Retirement System. She began her career with Deloitte and Touche and has served as a controller, a CFO and a consultant for businesses in California and Arizona.

Witharana serves on the board of Asian Pacific Women’s Center, an organization that provides services to survivors of domestic violence. She also serves on the advisory board for the Clarendon Foundation, an organization that supports orphanages and disadvantaged individuals in Sri Lanka and is a member of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

She is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration and accounting from Cal State, Northridge.

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Brandi Brethour,
Senior Financial Analyst

Brandi Brethour is the senior financial analyst for The California Wellness Foundation. In her role, she is responsible for investment operations and accounting, financial reporting and tax schedules. She also assists with budgeting, forecasting and financial analysis.

Full Biography

Brandi Brethour is the senior financial analyst for The California Wellness Foundation. In her role, she is responsible for investment operations and accounting, financial reporting and tax schedules. She also assists with budgeting, forecasting and financial analysis.

Before joining Cal Wellness in August of 2016, Brethour worked as controller for Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging. Previously she worked for nearly 13 years at Gursey Schneider LLP, a public accounting firm, as a staff member and then managing accountant in the litigation and tax departments. Her experience also includes serving as chief financial officer and human resources manager for a law firm, and as a finance manager for a real estate brokerage. She began her career as an auditor for the large financial services group KPMG LLP.

Brethour serves on the board of the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund and is a former board member of Junior Chamber International, Santa Clarita Chapter. She has authored or co-authored several publications, including training materials for accountants and attorney study groups, materials for the American Bar Association’s continuing education presentations, and a handbook related to marital dissolutions and tax considerations.

She is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in business economics from UC Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in public administration from Cal State, Northridge.

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Jose Perez,
Accountant

Jose Perez is an accountant at The California Wellness Foundation. His responsibilities include managing and processing all aspects of accounts payable for the Foundation, including issuing grant checks. He also assists with various administrative and accounting functions in the Finance and Operations Department, such as processing expense reports and reimbursements, maintaining schedules to track administrative and financial data, and compiling data needed for the year-end audit.

Full Biography

Jose Perez is an accountant at The California Wellness Foundation. His responsibilities include managing and processing all aspects of accounts payable for the Foundation, including issuing grant checks. He also assists with various administrative and accounting functions in the Finance and Operations Department, such as processing expense reports and reimbursements, maintaining schedules to track administrative and financial data, and compiling data needed for the year-end audit.

Perez joined Cal Wellness in March 2017. Previous positions include temporary accountant for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, an office manager for Scientific Holdings in Pasadena, a finance intern for International Filter Products in Burbank, and assistant treasurer for the American Youth Soccer Organization in Canyon Country, California.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Cal State Northridge.

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Mission

The mission of The California Wellness Foundation is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.


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