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Photo of Steven Merksamer, PPIC Board of Directors
Steven A. Merksamer, Chair
Of Counsel
Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP
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Mark Baldassare
Mark Baldassare
President and CEO
Public Policy Institute of California
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Photo of Maria Blanco
María Blanco
Executive Director
University of California
Immigrant Legal Services Center
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Photo of Louise Henry Bryson, PPIC Board of Directors
Louise Henry Bryson
Chair Emerita, Board
of Trustees
J. Paul Getty Trust
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Photo of A. Marisa Chun, PPIC Board of Directors
A. Marisa Chun
Crowell & Moring LLP
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Photo of Chet Hewitt, PPIC Board of Directors
Chet Hewitt
President and CEO
Sierra Health Foundation
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Photo of Phil Isenberg, PPIC Board of Directors
Phil Isenberg
Former Chair
Delta Stewardship Council
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Photo of Mas Masumoto, PPIC Board of Directors
Mas Masumoto
Author and Farmer
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Photo of Leon Panetta, PPIC Board of Directors
Leon E. Panetta
The Panetta Institute for Public Policy
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Photo of Gerald Parsky, PPIC Board of Directors
Gerald L. Parsky
Aurora Capital Group
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Staffphoto Kpolese
Kim Polese
ClearStreet, Inc.
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Photo of Helen Iris Torres, PPIC Board of Directors
Helen Iris Torres
Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE)
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Photo of Gaddi Vasquez, PPIC Board of Directors
Gaddi H. Vasquez
Retired Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
Edison International
Southern California Edison
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Directors Emeriti

Ruben Barrales
William K. Coblentz *
David A. Coulter
Edward K. Hamilton
Gary K. Hart
Walter B. Hewlett
Roger W. Heyns *
Donna Lucas
David W. Lyon *
Cheryl White Mason *
Arjay Miller *
Ki Suh Park
Alan Post *
Constance L. Rice
Thomas C. Sutton
Cynthia A. Telles *
Raymond L. Watson *
Carol Whiteside
Harold M. Williams *

*Founding board member

Corporate Officers

Mark Baldassare
Emily Loeschinger
Cindy Scherer


What are the primary responsibilities of the board?

According to our bylaws, “it is the function of the board to make possible the conduct of objective research, analysis and publication and other dissemination under the most favorable conditions, and to safeguard the independence of the research staff in the pursuit of their studies and in the presentation of the results of such studies. It is not part of their function to determine, control or influence the conduct of the particular investigations or the conclusions reached.”

The board is also responsible for selecting and evaluating the president and CEO; for electing corporate officers; for monitoring and approving executive compensation; for ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations governing public charities; for maintaining a secure financial footing for the organization by managing the endowment, monitoring operating funds, and approving the annual budget; and for overseeing the annual audit function and internal controls.

What are the criteria for board membership?

Board members are established leaders in a range of fields who have a commitment to improving public policy. The board actively seeks a balanced membership that represents the diversity of the state in terms of a number of qualities—including but not limited to geography, political affiliation, gender, age, race, ethnicity, and profession. Public policy experience—whether at the local, state, or federal level—is also key. Political officeholders and candidates are excluded from service.

What is the role of the board in determining PPIC’s research and communications activities?

In its role of protecting PPIC’s independence, the board is not involved in choosing research areas, approving projects, or determining the content of reports or press releases. Instead, the board offers feedback and suggestions to management on PPIC’s strategic direction and on evaluation studies of our research and communications activities. It also offers help in outreach to policy audiences. In addition, the board is invited to comment on new proposals and receives briefings by management on PPIC’s quarterly activities and annual strategic planning.

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