Board of Directors

Sue Grant

Founder/Board Chair Executive Committee

Sue Grant is a visionary whose passion to give the gift of literacy to struggling readers has fueled the formation and success of The Literacy Project. Grant is a native Californian born and raised in Orange County. After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in The School of Human Services and Community Development from California State University, Fullerton. She also studied for her Master’s degree in Counseling and School Psychology.

Penny M. Fox


Penny M. Fox, CPA specializes in tax and accounting services, including tax planning and return preparation, bookkeeping, business consulting, retirement, divorce, estate, trust and bankruptcy planning. An expert in her field, Penny has been serving Orange County for more than 30 years.

Sinan Kanatsiz


Sinan Kanatsiz has effectively made his mark as an outstanding entrepreneur. In 1998, while studying for a master’s degree at Chapman University, he followed his entrepreneurial spirit and formed his first company, KCOMM, a Public Relations and Internet marketing agency. The company quickly evolved into a full-service marketing, government affairs and event marketing firm known for its Internet expertise and results-oriented approach. In less than ten years, Sinan grew the firm to several million dollars in revenue, opening business centers in Dallas, New York, Dubai, Istanbul, Montreal, London, Argentina and Delhi. Currently, KCOMM has over 65 employees and contractors in several countries, and has developed campaigns for over 1,000 of the most prominent companies throughout the world. These include organizations ranging from innovative start-ups to New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq listed companies such as Oracle, Sony, eBay, T-Mobile, HP and the University of Phoenix.

Paula Karcher


Paula Karcher is a philanthropist and public speaker with a strong connection to the Coachella Valley, as well as her roots growing up in Orange County. Along with her husband, Carl Leo Karcher, she has been involved in dozens of events, causes, and foundations, which have definitely benefitted her community.

Dennis Kuhl

Chairman, Angels Baseball

Dennis Kuhl enters his 16th year with the Angels in 2019 after joining the club on Nov. 10, 2003. He was initially appointed as the Angels’ seventh president before being promoted to club Chairman on Nov. 14, 2009. Kuhl continues to oversee the administration, along with a renewed effort in the area of civic affairs and community outreach. He also played a key role in working with Major League Baseball in the Angels hosting the 2010 All-Star Game.

Scott Lopez

Managing Director of Capital Markets at Octane OC

Drawing on more than 25 years of leadership experience in the financial and life sciences industries, Scott Lopez has uncommon insight into investment banking, investor relations, and the public and private markets. He is an Investment Banker with FNEX Capital ( and Managing Director of Capital Markets at Octane OC in Orange County, CA ( He is also the owner of Lopez Enterprises, a minority, service-disabled veteran owned, economically disadvantaged business that offers expertise in consulting and advisory, investor relations, business development, ecosystem innovation, and joint venture partnerships.

Bill Passo

Founder And CEO, Passco Companies

William O. Passo is a true professional in the real estate investment industry. He completed his first purchase of a multifamily investment project in Anaheim, California in 1976.

Arnie Rubin

Former Chairman & CEO, Funrise, Inc.

Arnie Rubin was in the toy industry for over 50 years, starting as a bubble mixer at Chemical Sundries in 1965. In 1969, he co-founded Imperial Toy Company and in 1987 he formed Funrise Toy Corporation. Funrise is best known for its Tonka “light and sound” emergency vehicles with working sirens and lights, which it has manufactured under license from Hasbro since 1999. Funrise produces the popular Gazillion® Bubbles line, which has grown to become the #1 Bubble Brand in the Nation (NPD Group) and has many popular licenses.

Joe Stapleton

President, Spinnaker Investment Group

Joe Stapleton is a Co-Founder for Spinnaker Investment Group. In this role, he assists businesses and individuals achieve what is most important to them by bringing in line their goals and desires with their financial resources. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Arizona.

Jim Steele

President of Global Strategic Customers

Jim Steele has more than 40 years of business experience with some of the Information Technology sector’s biggest players including Salesforce, Ariba (SAP), Yext and IBM. Steele is an accomplished executive with a strong track record of success in building and leading global sales organizations. Currently, as President of Global Strategic Customers at Salesforce, he is responsible for bringing the full power of Salesforce to its largest and most strategic customers.

Steve Tollefsrud

Steve Tollefsrud is a retired Engineer with a background in the Semiconductor Industry. He has been an advocate of numerous social and environmental causes, including funding blindness research for Fight For Sight (NYC), supporting disaster response as a PRO Team volunteer for the American Red Cross (NYC), delivering meals and doing outreach to the homeless for the Coalition For The Homeless (NYC), mentoring underprivileged children for The Cambodian Family in Santa Ana, helping homeless adults achieve self-sufficiency at The Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach, and supporting efforts to protect the beauty and integrity of Laguna Canyon through the Laguna Canyon Foundation, the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, and is a co-founder of CANDO, the Canyon Alliance of Neighborhoods Defense Organization.

Christopher Trela

Christopher Trela is Artistic Assistant Professor of Public Relations and Advertising at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film & Media Arts. He began teaching at Chapman University as an Adjunct Professor in 2011, and joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2019. Christopher is the Owner and President of ArtsPR, a boutique PR agency that specializes in public relations services for arts organizations. Current and past clients include Pacific Symphony, The Laguna Playhouse, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Festival Ballet Theatre, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Chance Theater, Classical Mystery Tour, Balboa Performing Arts Theatre, and many more. Duties performed for these organizations include media relations, PR campaigns, writing and distributing press releases, pitching stories, maintaining websites and social media, as well as other related PR services.

Michael T. Travis

Partner, Parker & Covert LLP

Michael T. Travis serves as general and special legal counsel for schools, colleges, and educational agencies throughout the state of California. Specializing in education law for more than 14 years, he provides cost-effective, practical, and forward-thinking legal solutions for clients in the areas of governance, labor and personnel, business and facilities, transparency, and litigation issues. Michael is passionate about literacy and access to education for all.