The Beth Longwell Foundation is a California Public Benefit Corporation, organized to provide charitable assistance to the general public by supporting charities and organizations in the areas of childhood education, lung cancer research, grief support for children who have lost a parent, and others that honor the memory of Elisabeth J. Levitas Longwell.

Board Members

Ellen Levitas, President and Chair of the Board. Ellen is the mother of the late Beth Levitas Longwell, and of Jim Levitas, and grandmother to five. She is a retired Learning Disabilities teacher and private tutor and currently enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Robert Longwell, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Rob met Beth at Santa Clara Law School, and they married in 2002. He is a practicing attorney in the area of health care products and a registered patent attorney. He enjoys spending time with his two children, Lucy and Nathan, fixing up their home, and biking.

Jim Levitas, Vice President and Secretary. Jim is Beth's younger brother. He is a principal with Lion Equity Partners, a private investment firm focused on acquiring and operating middle market companies. Jim, his wife Lisa and their three children live in the Chicago area.

Ava Yajima, Board Member. Ava met Beth during their undergraduate studies at UCLA. Both Ava and Beth participated in an on-campus internship working with infants and toddlers at the Infant Development Program. After college, they were roommates and remained close friends for almost 20 years. Ava is currently working as staff counsel in the California Department of Social Services.

Jennifer Braun, Board Member. Jennifer met Beth through a mutual friend while they both attended college in Southern California. They remained friends for over 17 years. Together, they enjoyed book club and also ventured to many places such as Disneyland and Sea Ranch. Jennifer works as a High-Tech marketing professional in the Silicon Valley.

Carol Toppel, Board Member. Carol has known Beth and Ellen Levitas ever since Beth was a young girl in nursery school. Over the years, Carol has taught at Santa Clara University and was the Director of the Disabled Students Program and Services at Mission College for twenty five years. Now retired, Carol is a docent at the Cantor Visual Arts Center on the Stanford Campus. Carol is honored to join the Board of the Beth Longwell Foundation.

Alice Erber, Board Member. Alice met Ellen Levitas when Ellen inquired at Palo Alto High School (Paly) about a partnership to assist the Foundation in finding student candidates for the Beth Levitas Longwell Foundation Scholarship. Alice worked at Paly as a College Advisor for seven years actively helping students with the college process, financial aid and scholarships. She has been a volunteer in the community for 30 years with the Junior League, PTA and the Board of Beth Am Women. She is honored to contribute to the Foundation in memory of Beth.

Meridith Herman, Board Member. Meridith met Ellen Levitas, President and Chair of the Board, through her volunteer work with Kara. Meridith is currently gaining hours for her Marriage and Family Therapy license working at Palo Verde Elementary School. This is the same school which Lucy and Nathan attended. Meridith feels it is an honor to carry on Beth's legacy by supporting the health and happiness of the community.

Lynn Gardner, Board Member. Lynn met Beth through former Board Member and Beth's very good friend, Carol Platner. Lynn has long been involved in numerous volunteer programs and has spent many hours as Carol's right hand in putting on the Beth Longwell Foundation's Dinner and Auction events. Lynn owns and runs Palo Alto Rowing Club. Lynn and the young women in her program started a backpack drive collecting new bags and supplies for needy kids. Lynn says she volunteers her time to the Beth Longwell Foundation because it supports youth, the future of tomorrow!

Claudette Kayne, Board Member. Claudette met Beth when the Levitas family moved next door. Claudette enjoyed babysitting both Beth and Jim when they were growing up. After Claudette married, she moved to San Diego with her husband, Bob, where she served on the board at the National Kidney Foundation of San Diego while raising two boys. Beth and Claudette remained in contact and she was thrilled to hear that Beth was expecting twins. She fondly remembers pushing Lucy and Nathan on swings at Mitchell Park. Claudette and her husband recently moved back next door to the Levitas' home, so being a board member and supporting Ellen is a perfect fit.

Liz Garcia, Board Member. Liz is the Foundation’s first scholarship recipient and graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2016. She accepted a job right after graduation with The Primary School in East Palo Alto as the School Operations Associate. She is excited to serve on the Board and will always be grateful to the Beth Longwell Foundation for the scholarship.