Our Board

Ann Alpers, President

Ann Alpers joined the Foundation 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 at the University of California, San Francisco in 1992. Ms. Alpers co-directed the required medical ethics course and sat on the ethics committee. She also 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 on the boards of the Greenwall Foundation and the Marin County Day School and chairs the board of Legal Services for Children.

Lisa Backus

Dr. Lisa Backus

Lisa Backus joined the 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 focuses on the health outcomes of groups of individuals with 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 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 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). Dr. Backus serves on the advisory board for several of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s projects, including the assessment of HIV treatment and outcomes nationwide.

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 Foundation board in 2015. He is a project manager at the San Francisco Department of Public Works responsible for the City of San Francisco’s Justice Facilities Improvement Project, a $1.4 billion program to build new justice facilities to replace the Hall of Justice. One of the first projects is the new public safety building in Mission Bay, inaugurated in April 2015, part of a $412 million bond measure passed by San Francisco voters in 2010.

Mr. Higueras is the board vice chair of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. He served as a San Francisco Public Library Commissioner; and was President for nine years. Mr. Higueras was also a board member and chaired the national Urban Libraries Council. He is the immediate past chair of the St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation.

Mr. Higueras was born and raised in San Francisco and continues to live there. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mikiko Huang

Dr. Mikiko Huang

Mikiko Huang joined the 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 community involvement.

Dr. Huang currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Covenant of Care Cluster of congregations of The San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action, which is working to advance initiatives related to the support and care of aging loved ones. She is a Health and Editorial Advisor to Common Sense Media, a non-partisan nonprofit that is dedicated to improving the media and entertainment lives of kids and families.

She has served on the Board of Directors of Camp Tawonga, the Board of Trustees of Marin Country Day School and the Advisory Board of Beyond Borders, an MCDS-sponsored program that brought together Bay Area children from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds where stereotypes were broken down.

Dr. Huang graduated from Harvard University and Baylor College of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at Stanford University Hospital and has been practicing medicine in San Francisco since 1986.

Scott Mosher

Scott Mosher

Scott Mosher joined the Foundation board in 2010 bringing with him significant experience in business and financial controls.  He is Vice President of Anililx, Inc., a telecommunications consulting group he co-founded in 1999 and is currently consulting with Veregy Consulting for a major utility as it migrates to smart grid systems.  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. He currently serves 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.

Lydia Tan

Lydia Tan

Lydia Tan joined the Foundation board in 2011 bringing an extensive background in real estate as a corporate officer, developer and architect. Ms. Tan is Senior Vice President, Western Region at Bentall Kennedy, where she focuses on real estate development opportunities in high density urban locations. Prior to joining Bentall Kennedy, she was Executive Vice President of Related California, where she opened the Northern California office and was the company’s lead on several mixed use, mixed income and affordable developments in the region.   Prior to joining Related, Ms. Tan spent 20 years at BRIDGE Housing Corporation, where she was executive vice president and interim CEO.

Ms. Tan holds a B.A. in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford University. She currently sits on the boards of SPUR (San Francisco Planning & Urban Redevelopment) and Northern California Community Loan Fund. She is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and participates in the SF ULI Multi Family District Council.

Kim Thompson

Kim Thompson

Kim Thompson joined the Foundation board in 2013. She is the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Advisory Risk & Quality Leader and the member of the Office of the Global General Counsel primarily responsible for advising the Global Advisory practice.  In these roles, Ms. Thompson focuses on quality initiatives and managing risk and legal issues for PwC’s Advisory practice, which provides deals and consulting services, across the global network of PwC firms.   Before taking on her current role, she was in the US Office of the General Counsel of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, primarily focusing on providing legal counsel to the U.S. Advisory practice, but also serving as a legal adviser to PwC’s U.S. audit practice. Prior to joining PwC in 1999, she was a litigator at a large international law firm, representing corporate clients and accounting firms in commercial and securities litigation matters.  In 2012, the San Francisco Business Times named her as one of the 150 Most Influential Women in Business.

Ms. Thompson has a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law where she was on the editorial board of the California Law Review.  She earned her A.B. in philosophy from Cornell University.   In 2013, she was named California Law Review’s Alumna of the Year. In 2015, Ms. Thompson became a member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women.

Ms. Thompson is a champion of community service and philanthropy. In addition to her service on the S.H. Cowell Foundation board, she serves on the board of Legal Services for Children.  In 2013, Ms. Thompson received Friends of Oakland Parks & Recreation’s annual Ann Woodell Community Award and was an honoree at the 2013 Oakland Parks and Recreation Salute to Excellence and Community Spirit.