About EPAK

About EPAK

We are a community-based organization 
giving grants directly to teachers.


Nestled within the heart of Silicon Valley, there is a stark difference in the 12 schools we fund compared with neighboring schools in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley and Woodside. Our students are challenged by overwhelming socioeconomic pressures and the schools are underfunded with lower teacher salaries and high turnover rates. 


For generations, education has been the path for children to rise above their economic circumstances.  Our vision is based on narrowing the equality gap in education by providing grants directly to teachers so their students can have the same opportunities as children in neighboring communities.


Founded in 1993, we are an all-volunteer organization with a record of granting over 93% of funds raised directly to public school teachers in the eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto area.

We believe geography is not destiny. All children should have access to the best education possible. The demographics illustrate how every donation matters in a community where 6 out of 10 students are English learners and nearly half of the students are homeless or housing insecure.

Won’t you join us?

“I joined the board when I left teaching because I know firsthand how instrumental EPAK funding was for my students.” 

Our Schools

Our Team

A striking testament to the power of our mission—several members of EPAK’s all-volunteer Board are former educators in the Ravenswood City School District.


Nisha Pillai wants to live in a world where all children have access to quality education, everyone has time to read all the books they want to, and distance running doesn’t lead to aches and pains. She currently spends most of her time volunteering, running, and answering a million variations of “but why?” from her children. She has spent 15+ years in the tech industry as a product manager, strategy consultant, and software developer. She holds a B.Tech in Computer Science from the University of Kerala and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Jeannine Marston taught history and English at Castilleja School In Palo Alto for many years and supported the diversity work and goals of its ACE Center (Awareness, Compassion, Engagement). She has participated in SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) workshops, Facing History, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Her multi-year commitment to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy teachers’ summer institute has contributed to her belief in the importance of education in the development of human capital. She enthusiastically endorses EPAK’s goal to support teachers in their essential work. “Teachers know best what they and their students need to succeed. I am honored to work with EPAK to make this achievement possible.” She holds BA and MA degrees in education from the University of Michigan.

Ellen M. Jones recently retired from UBS Financial Services after nearly 40 years in financial management for high net worth individuals. After majoring in American Intellectual History at Radcliffe College, Ellen attended graduate school at U.C. Berkeley and then worked as an economic analyst for American Airlines. After taking some time off to raise her children, she returned to work as a high school teacher at Menlo School in Atherton before beginning a her career in the financial services industry. After living in Menlo Park for over 50 years, in 2018, she moved to San Francisco to be closer to her family. Ellen has three children and seven grandchildren. She enjoys hiking, reading and playing competitive bridge.

Joy Shen has served as the Strategic Projects Coordinator for Ravenswood City School District since 2022, after completing an MBA and MA in Education at Stanford University. Her previous professional experience is in management consulting where she specialized in operations and growth. Joy is thrilled to be sitting at the intersection of public education and strategy and to bring a passion for equity to her roles with Ravenswood and EPAK.

Board Members

Stacy Arevalo has been at Eastside College Preparatory School since 2006, where she teaches American Literature and Senior Research Institute. She is committed to the transformative power of education, having seen how access to enriching opportunities empowers students, their families, and their community. Other interests include advocating for racial and immigrant justice, reading, and connecting with others in East Palo Alto, where she and her husband live. She is also a founding board member of Spark Church in Palo Alto, where she organizes peaceful protests, learning seminars, and volunteer events for the community.

Audrey Crowley has worked and volunteered at many organizations supporting education and children in the Silicon Valley area. She tutors and mentors students, volunteers with FIRST Robotics, and serves as a Block Action Team captain and Neighborhood Watch lead in her neighborhood. She has been a volunteer and donor to EPAK since 2014 because she believes that putting funds into the hands of the teachers who know and care about the students’ learning is one of the best ways to make an impact, and wants to help make sure that quality education is available to all.

Henning Heine currently works at a technology company and has over a decade of investment banking experience. He previously worked at Centerview Partners, an independent investment banking and strategic advisory firm, as a founding member of its Technology practice in Palo Alto. Prior to Palo Alto, he was based in the firm’s London and New York offices.

He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from the European Business School in Germany.

Bruce Li is currently a technology investor with CVC Capital Partners and previously worked as a technology investment banker at Centerview Partners. As a former Eagle Scout, Bruce learned from an early age the importance of community service and making a positive impact on those around him. Bruce is thrilled to work with EPAK to apply the skills he acquired in school and work for the betterment of the schools in his community. He earned his BA and BS from the University of Chicago.

Bailey Linden is a kindergarten teacher in the Los Altos School District. She attended the Stanford Teacher Education Program & began her teaching career in 2017 in Ravenswood School District teaching second grade. She was a recipient of many EPAK grants throughout her four years in Ravenswood School District & knows firsthand the impact they make on every classroom. Through this partnership, her immense gratitude for EPAK grew & she is elated to continue her involvement in the community. Bailey is passionate about ensuring that all children & educators have access to what they need in order to ensure equitable outcomes in the classroom. She is excited to partner with community members to advocate for children & teachers in our schools.

Renee C. Scott is the Director of Early Education for Education Partnerships at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. In partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Education she teaches the courses and oversees programming for two service-learning programs, in partnership with East Palo Alto after school organizations. Renee has been an educator for over 20 years, having served as an elementary school teacher, a professional development teacher-leader, and a teacher-candidate supervisor. As a graduate student, she studied the role of vision in new teacher development, word-reading instruction, and tutoring. She is certified in Reading Recovery, holds a Master’s degree in Education, and a Ph.D. in Literacy, Curriculum, and Teacher Education from Stanford University. In her free time, she consults for ed-tech orgs on early childhood curriculum and spends time hiking and traveling with her family.


  • Atkinson Foundation
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Wilson and Sue Cooper
  • The Duda Family
  • Ferrari Owners Charitable Foundation
  • First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • Mark A. Goldsmith and Anne Midler
  • Melvin and Geraldine Hoven Foundation
  • Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation
  • The Franklin and Catherine Johnson Foundation
  • Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto Charitable Foundation
  • Literacy Partners – Menlo Park
  • Los Altos Rotary Endowment Fund
  • Meta Local Community Fund
  • Palo Alto Community Foundation
  • Palo Alto Rotary Club Annual Charities
  • Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund
  • David and Elizabeth Rome
  • Derek and Valerie Sanders
  • The Scandling Family Foundation
  • Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation

EPAK promotes educational opportunities for public and charter school students in eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. Founded in 1993, we are a private, 501(c)3 non-profit foundation; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. 

We accept applications from teachers of pre-school through 12th grade twice a year. Click here for more information.