Mariana Moore is a successful woman. As a consultant to nonprofit, community-based organizations in the areas of fundraising and strategic planning, she specializes in helping small to medium-sized nonprofits build their internal capacity and expand their funding sources. She and her husband, Robert Moore, live in Benicia, and have a 26-year old daughter, Sharon.
Mariana is also chair of the Diablo Valley College Foundation board of directors.
She hasn't always been so confident and self assured. In 1982, Mariana gave birth to a daughter a month after graduating from high school. She attended Solano Community College on a part-time basis for two years, but she was overwhelmed with being a new mother, learning how to care for her baby, and trying to fit studying in late at night. She says she spent those two years learning how to focus, how to prioritize and how to study.
Mariana knew that the key to providing for her daughter was to get a good education. In the fall of 1984, when her daughter was a bit older, she was ready. That's when she enrolled full time at Diablo Valley College.
"I immediately fell in love with everything DVC had to offer," she said. "I took a journalism class from Jim Jacobs that changed my life. He saw my talent and encouraged me to work for The Enquirer. I eventually became the editor, and that was the start of my career as a writer.
"All my professors at DVC were terrific- so knowledgeable and encouraging," she continued. "DVC is where I first blossomed as a lifelong learner. My professors encouraged me to enter a writing contest, and I won-and received a scholarship that helped pay my tuition when I transferred to Mills College. I have a picture of my young daughter and myself taken the night of the scholarship ceremony, both of us looking so pleased and proud. At that moment, I knew I was on my way."
After two years at DVC, Mariana transferred to Mills College in Oakland, where she graduated in 1988 with a B.A. degree in American Civilization and a minor in Communications. She went on to graduate in 1989 from the Coro Public Affairs Fellowship program, a full-time leadership development program in San Francisco.
In the years since, Mariana's career has taken off. She has served in several leadership roles in Bay Area nonprofit organizations, including as the director of development and special projects at the Public Interest Clearinghouse in San Francisco, the director of annual giving for the Mills College Alumni Association, the director of development for Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) in Walnut Creek, and the executive director of the Wellness Community in Walnut Creek. During her career she has secured more than ten million in funding from individual donors, corporations, government agencies and foundations.
For the past five years Mariana has run her own consulting practice, offering strategic planning and fund development counsel to community-based nonprofits. She also serves as director of the Human Services Alliance of Contra Costa, a coalition of nonprofits that provide health and human service programs in partnership with the public sector.
Mariana has been involved as community leader as well. In addition to leading the DVC Foundation board, she has served as board vice president for the Asociación Hispana del Cancer, co-chair of ARF's development committee, a board member on the Contra Costa Council, president of the Arts Benicia board, commissioner for the Benicia Human Services Fund, and board member for the Income Rights Project in San Francisco. She was also featured in "40 Leaders Under 40" in the East Bay Business Times.
And the start of it all, she says, was Diablo Valley College.
"I am grateful to DVC for providing the environment I needed to grow intellectually and start my path toward the satisfying career I have now," Mariana said.
"I would encourage everyone to come to DVC, because this is a great place to launch you on your path in life. Whether you're seeking vocational training, or taking care of lower-division courses before you transfer to a four-year college, attending DVC just makes a lot of sense. It's a real jewel here in our community."