Team

Cindy M. Lopez

LEAP’s founder and director is a recently retired California Deputy Attorney General and Loyola Law School alumna. After observing an acute need for this type of programming in Southern California, Cindy has drawn on her wealth of leadership experience in the legal arena and in the nonprofit college access field to spearhead the development of LEAP. Prior to founding LEAP, Cindy served in the California Attorney General’s Office for more than 33 years representing a variety of licensing agencies. There she also contributed to the Attorney General Honors Program and authored a bill that protects consumers from doctors convicted of serious sexual assault.

Cindy is also Board President for MOSTe, a mentoring and college access nonprofit working with young women from underserved backgrounds. In her various roles with MOSTe, Cindy created, developed, and ran the college access and success programs while working as a full-time attorney. In her free time Cindy loves to travel, run at the Rose Bowl, listen to live music under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl, and cheer on LA area sports teams.

Ellen Eoff

A freelance grant writer and fundraising consultant, Ellen provides development writing support to LEAP. In addition to her freelance grant writing work, Ellen serves as Director of Development Strategies in the philanthropy consulting firm Skylark Strategies where she provides fundraising training and strategic planning services to nonprofit organizations. Ellen also provides development and sponsorship support to the nonprofit festival, Reimagine End of Life. Prior her freelance and consulting work, she managed fund development for the Human Rights Foundation and One Heart Worldwide. Since 2016 she has been a co-chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Mentoring Program where she provides professional development programming and operational support to program participants. Outside of work, Ellen enjoys painting, sewing, board games, and all things crafty.

Kristan M. Venegas

Dr. Kristan Venegas is Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Educational Transformation, and Endowed Professor of Teaching, Education, and Excellence in the LaFetra College of Education at the University of La Verne. Prior to this role, Kristan was a Clinical Education and a Research Associate in the Pullias Center for Higher Education in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. There, she served as Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Evaluation. Her research focuses on college access and financial aid for low-income students of color. Her work has appeared in American Behavioral Scientist, Urban Education, American Academic, Educational Studies and the Journal of Student Financial Aid. Kristan designed the evaluations methodology to track LEAP’s program outcomes and conducts program’s evaluations.