Our Board

Ann Alpers, President

Ann Alpers joined the S.H. Cowell board in 2004 and was elected president of the Foundation in 2005. Prior to joining the Foundation, she held public office as Deputy City Attorney for Health and Human Services for the City and County of San Francisco.

Ms. Alpers graduated from Stanford Law School. Following law school, she clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court. She joined the faculty of the Program in Medical Ethics in 1992. She has taught health law and bioethics as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School, St. Louis University School of Law, and the University of California, Berkeley.  Ms. Alpers was a Mayday Faculty Scholar through the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics and the Mayday Foundation in New York, New York.

She currently serves as vice chair of the board of the Greenwall Foundation and chairs the board of Legal Services for Children and the Executive Committee of Friends of the Smith College Libraries.  She is a former trustee of Marin Country Day School and former board chair of Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Lisa Backus

Dr. Lisa Backus

Lisa Backus joined the S.H. Cowell Foundation board in 2007 bringing an extensive background in community health. She currently works at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Public Health/Population Health.  Population Health strives to improve the health outcomes of groups of individuals through consideration of a broad array of determinants of health including socio-economic factors, physical environment, behavioral factors, physiologic factors, and medical care.  Her work focuses on improving the quality of care for all Veterans and on reducing disparities and inequities in the complex populations served by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Backus holds a B.S. from Harvard University, completed a Ph.D. at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and graduated from the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. She also completed a fellowship in public health and bioinformatics (the study of extracting data from medical records for improving health care).

Charles Ellwein

Charles Ellwein

Charles Ellwein joined the Foundation board in 2008. Mr. Ellwein is an equity investment analyst at Capital Research Global Investors, a division of the Capital Group Companies. Prior to joining Capital Group, he was a partner at Farallon Capital Management, an institutional investment manager that manages assets on behalf of college endowments and other organizations. Early in his career Mr. Ellwein worked at BlackRock Financial Management where he specialized in structuring investment portfolios for financial institutions. He graduated from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar. He also attended Brown University where he received a Sc.B. with Honors in Electrical Engineering. Mr. Ellwein grew up in San Diego, California and Omaha, Nebraska.

Mr. Ellwein is personally committed to philanthropy and community service. He and his wife Nel live in San Francisco and have two daughters.


Charles Higueras

Charles A. Higueras

Charles Higueras, FAIA, joined the S.H. Cowell Foundation board in 2015.  He is the acting Director of Project Management at the San Francisco Department of Public Works. In this role he is responsible for select major capital projects underway in the City including those for the Public Health and Safety Bond of 2016 and the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bonds of 2010 and 2014. Among the projects Charles has guided are a new police headquarters in Mission Bay, two new fire stations, a new Medical Examiner facility and soon, a new police crime lab and a new fireboat station. Before joining the City in 2008, he had a 26 year career as an architect in private practice focused on educational projects for school and community college districts around northern California.

Mr. Higueras was most recently a past chair of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library completing his board tenure in 2018. He served as a San Francisco Public Library Commissioner from 1996 to 2008, and was also a board member and chaired the national public library advocacy organization, the Urban Libraries Council.  He is a past board member and chair of the St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation in San Francisco.

Mr. Higueras was born and raised in San Francisco and continues to live there with his wife Nuria.  He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with an undergraduate and graduate degree in Architecture.

Mikiko Huang

Dr. Mikiko Huang

Mikiko Huang joined the S.H. Cowell Foundation board in 2007. She is a pediatrician on the attending staff of the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and has a strong commitment to strengthening communities, which promotes well-being for all.

Currently, Dr. Huang also serves as the Board Secretary for Legal Services for Children. She is the immediate Past President of the Board of At Home with Growing Older.  She serves on the San Francisco Adult and Disability Friendly Implementation Work Group. She served as Chair of the Board of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and now serves on the Advocacy Committee of Friends of SF Public Library. Recently she was also asked to join the board of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

She served on the Board of Directors of Camp Tawonga and is currently serving on the Tawonga Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She continues to be actively involved on the Social Action Committee of Congregation Sherith Israel.

Her other past services include the Board of Trustees of Marin Country Day School and the Advisory Board of Beyond Borders, an MCDS-sponsored program that brought together children from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds where stereotypes were broken down.

Dr. Huang, born and raised in Houston as the daughter of immigrants to the US (her dad was the first in his family to go to college), graduated from Harvard University and Baylor College of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at Stanford University Hospital and has practiced medicine in San Francisco since 1986.

Scott Mosher

Scott Mosher

Scott Mosher joined the S.H. Cowell Foundation board in 2010 bringing with him significant experience in business and financial controls.  He consults with Veregy Consulting to help electric utilities evaluate, pilot and deploy smart grid technologies. Previously, he was Vice President of Anililx, Inc., a telecommunications expense management company he co-founded in 1999. Earlier in his career he worked throughout California in finance, high tech consulting and telecommunications at Sybase, Andersen Consulting and FSG (Financial Strategies Group).

He also has a deep background in community service, particularly in the Los Gatos public schools, where he has volunteered in a number of financial leadership positions. Most recently, he served as Treasurer of the Los Gatos High School New Millennium Foundation. In 2008, the Los Gatos Union School District Superintendent and School Board named him “Volunteer of the Year.”

Mr. Mosher graduated with a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University before obtaining his MBA from INSEAD, an international business program at its campus in Fontainebleau, France. He currently serves as President of the INSEAD Alumni Association in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lydia Tan

Lydia Tan

Lydia Tan is Managing Director, Real Estate for the Oakland Athletics, where she leads efforts to build the Team’s new Howard Terminal ballpark and mixed-use district, and redevelop the Oakland Coliseum site. Prior to joining the A’s, Ms. Tan was Senior Vice President and U.S. Head of Development at Bentall Kennedy, one of North America’s largest real estate investment advisors. She has additional experience launching Related California’s Northern California office, focusing on affordable and mixed income, mixed use developments throughout the Bay Area. She was also the Executive Vice President at BRIDGE Housing Corporation, where she led teams focused on all aspects of the development and financing of mixed income and affordable housing communities, as well as large scale redevelopment efforts throughout California.

Ms. Tan has served on the board of the S.H. Cowell Foundation since 2011.  She also serves on the board of the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund, is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and the Stanford Real Estate Council. Tan and her husband are Resident Fellows at Stanford University, where they work to create an enriched residential experience for 270 undergraduate students. She holds a BA in Architecture from University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford University. She is a Registered Architect in California.

Kim Thompson

Kim Thompson

Kim Thompson joined the S.H. Cowell Foundation Board in 2013. Ms. Thompson is PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Advisory Risk & Quality Leader, providing quality and risk management advice on a wide range of issues to PwC’s Global Deals, Consulting and Forensics businesses. She also leads the PwC Global Risk Management Consultations Support and Analysis team, providing risk management advice to the PwC Network on emerging risk issues across all of PwC’s lines of service. Ms. Thompson also serves on PwC’s U.S. Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council and as Partner Champion for PwC’s Bay Area & Northwest Market Black Inclusion Network. She previously served in PwC’s U.S. Office of the General Counsel advising the U.S. Advisory and Assurance businesses.

Ms. Thompson holds a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law where she was an editor of the California Law Review. She earned her A.B. in philosophy from Cornell University.

Ms. Thompson serves on the boards of Legal Services for Children, the Berkeley Law Alumni Association and on the Steering Committee of the President’s Council of Cornell Women (PCCW).  She has received numerous awards including being named one of the San Francisco Business Times 150 Most Influential Women in Business, California Law Review’s Alumna of the Year, and the Friends of Oakland Parks & Recreation’s annual Ann Woodell Community Award. In 2016, Oakland Magazine recognized Ms. Thompson and her husband for their volunteer and philanthropic work in the magazine’s annual Best of Oakland and East Bay edition.