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Community Builders for Monterey County catalyzes the potential energies of the community to encourage collaboration and engagement to meet critical local needs 

In the summer of 2017, Community Builders set out to build a safe, healthy, thriving and engaged Monterey County by breaking the barriers to doing good for the community.  Today, we support over 78 nonprofits and 165 volunteers by providing opportunities to connect and engage neighbors, nonprofits, local governments and grassroots organizations to build a better future for all. 

OUR Services

Volunteer Connect

We provide a single space to recruit volunteers and discover opportunities to advance one’s skills and interests while doing good. For those with specific needs or interests, including court-mandated volunteers, corporate responsibility programs and students, we can work with you individually to find the right opportunity. 

Workshops and Trainings 

We train and providing workshops for volunteer managers and staff on critical skills such as effective volunteer management and recruitment, running data-forward programs, and engaging with the press. We also help volunteers to recognize and better leverage their skills and interests, navigate the volunteer landscape to find the right opportunity and advance or gain new skills. 

Community Partnerships

We co-create opportunities that mutually advance like-minded missions. We work with local education institutions to provide their students with hands-on opportunities to work with community needs. We also provide partners support in volunteer recruitment and management through contractual services or in partnership on special projects. 

Meet The Team

Tish S.

Tish Sammon

Tish is a co-founder and co-executive director of Community Builders.


She has spent decades in the volunteer management space, including her work as the Communication Engagement Coordinator for the Rancho Cielo Youth Center and Executive Director of Ariel Theater.  


Karen Csejtey

Karen is a co-founder and second half of the co-executive director team. 


Her career spans three decades strengthening the power of one and the impact of many to create and maintain thriving nonprofit organizations.


Karen has also served as the executive director of Leadership Monterey Peninsula.

Charles M.

Charles Joseph Montesa

Charles is a co-founder with a focus on communications and organizational development. 


He has worked across issues with both local and international NGOs: homelessness, education equity, digital equity and veterans.

Charles has written several articles for the Monterey County Weekly. He holds an MPA degree focused on nonprofit management and leadership and professional training in social enterprise management.

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Litzy Esparza

Litzy is our Volunteer Connect coordinator.

Having started off as a service learner, she quickly became our go-to for nurturing our relationships with the community.​ Our agencies are appreciative of Litzy's work in contributing to their growth. Litzy is working as an intern with Community Builders.

Litzy hopes to work in Human Resources one day and was drawn to this position because it allows her to connect with volunteers and agencies. Through her volunteerism, Litzy discovered that she wants a job helping to build a community and that focuses on the people that help make all these positive efforts happen!


Jerry Kankelborg 

Jerry is one of our tech gurus. Through Community Builders he bridges what he learns as a Computer Science student at CSU  Monterey Bay, helping our partners be better positioned to leverage the Volunteer Portal to recruit the volunteers vital to their mission.

He has hosted Galaxy Tech Reviews, which has even inspired organizations such as Meals on Wheels to create more volunteer opportunities in the Portal.


Jerry is a major resource to our volunteer organizations by encouraging them to create and manage their page more effectively as a result of the Tech Reviews.


Christian Tidwell

Christian is a valued member of our communications team, designing visual communications to communicate Community Builder's mission and goals to the community. 

He currently studies Communication Design at CSU Monterey Bay, with a concentration in Game Design and Interactive Media. He chose to volunteer with Community Builders because of the opportunity to apply what he is learning outside the classroom.


Brooke Moreno

Brooke is in charge of our newsletters, you may have read a few of them!

She majored in Communications but had previously never worked in digital communications. So, working with Community Builders has given her the opportunity to apply her knowledge, skills and showcase her creativity.

Because of her volunteer experiences, Brooke signed on with AmeriCorps VISTA for one year to build volunteer capacity at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County.


Brooke's passion for volunteering since high school has opened many doors for her, and she encourages everyone to make their positive impact in Monterey County. Our team strives to offer you this opportunity by showcasing the many ways to do so!

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Crystal Rodriquez

Crystal is the lead coordinator on the Stories project. 

With over 11 years of community outreach and international business experience, Crystal is devoted to making a difference and helping others to reach their full potential, in pursuit of happiness and equality for all humanity.

Crystal's career started with working with high-risk adolescents. She co-founded Sato Hemp International LLC, a Monterey-based hemp-based luxury clothing brand with a mission “Compassion in Fashion”.

Crystal holds an MBA with a specialization in Leadership, and she is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Business with a specialization in leadership.


Her goal is to build a school for at-risk youth and those within the foster system providing that will provide housing, education, and resources to help develop our next future leaders around the globe. ​

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Daniel Jacoby

Danny is currently a Computer Science major with a concentration in Software Engineering at CSU Monterey Bay. 

He mostly spends his time either out on the water catching waves or surfing the internet for that one last function he needs to complete one of his projects.

Danny is spending his semester with Community Builders to fulfill his service learning hours. He will be leveraging strengths in technology as one of our tech guru. 

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Emilie Schartner

Emilie is our editor for the Stories Project.

She graduated with her BA in Psychology and minored in Writing, and has experiences in grant writing, coordinating a writer's festival and working as an assistant for a writing department. Emilie is excited to complete her Peace Corps Coverdell volunteering hours with Community Builders this spring. 

Emilie is currently pursuing her graduate degree in International Education Management at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She hopes to leverage her volunteer experiences to better understand how community resilience manifests in Monterey County, and what types of activities can promote resilience development in other communities, especially on higher education campuses.

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