Meet the Team

Wade Trimmer


I've dedicated my life to alleviating suffering, cultivating beauty, and embracing the wonders of the world. Working with The Change Reaction allows me to embody my deepest calling, where we not only showcase generosity, love, compassion, and hope but live them out authentically, extending a hand of support to our neighbors. It's more than a role; it's a heartfelt mission, and I am grateful to be part of such a meaningful journey.

Ken Grouf

Chief Operating Officer

At the age of 7 I was hospitalized for months after a serious car accident that almost took my life. My family, friends, nurses, and doctors were all part of the community that saved me. I believe that everybody deserves a community that supports them in emergency situations and at The Change Reaction I get to be part of an enormous community that changes the lives of thousands of individuals every single day.

Melissa Champion

Senior Operations Manager

Throughout my career, I have always been drawn to jobs that involved making sure people have what they need: whether that’s been through childcare and education or homeless services and nonprofit work. We don’t all start with the same pool of resources, but it’s amazing to see what people can accomplish when you’re able to help them level the playing field in some way.

I thrive through organization. I really enjoy bringing order to chaos, solving puzzles, and crossing things off lists. I love being able to use those skills to help our team turn ideas into reality. And that in turn helps meet the needs of so many in our community.

Daphna Gerendash

Senior Director of Programs

Each person is unique, no two people are the same. I was born with a special set of skills and talents and it’s my goal in life to live to my potential. A large part of who I am has been influenced by my parents, who are kind and caring people. They have helped me focus on finding the silver lining in every situation. I get up every morning to help others meet their potential-find their why-and have access to the finances and support they need to be fulfilled in the work they choose to do. My “why” is to bring love, compassion, hope and support to others.

Ielaf Altoma Stead

Senior Manager, Partner Relations

From Refugee to IVY league, Baghdad to Harvard, my journey has shaped my approach to community empowerment, activism and empathy. Although I’ve experienced countless obstacles in my path towards higher education and financial stability, I also experienced the blessings of having mentors along the way that believed in me, supported me and shared knowledge that opened doors, helping me see the potential in myself. Now I am committed to leveraging my life experiences and skills I’ve acquired through my Masters in Education, in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard towards helping pioneer a direct giving platform that extends empathy, respect and funds to the residence of LA who need it most. I am  motivated to building out initiatives that provide a helping hand up to my neighbors in LA.

Brooke Perlman

Communications Manager

I was put on this earth to make sure people feel seen and cared for. While I found myself trying different careers, I kept getting pulled back into the world of philanthropy. I couldn’t sleep knowing there are so many kids without a stable home, so many women taken advantage of, and so many hardworking folks that are one inch away from homelessness. I have made it my life’s mission to make sure people are given the opportunity to be successful, for whatever success looks like to them. I am committed to using my strong voice to educate those around me, both strangers and peers, about what goes on in our city and why it is crucial that we are kind to each other and look out for one another, because I believe that is how we can make this world a better place.

Charlie Portillo

Administrative Service Manager

Growing up in the city of Los Angeles, I was inspired by the many different nonprofit leaders I would meet. The organizations in my community played a big role in supporting my academic achievements. I reflect back on the dedication community leaders have to find solutions for the hardships their community faces, which empowers me to be an asset in connecting community leaders with solutions. I like that we attempt solutions to the issues the community is voicing their concern about. We connect with the community leader to attempt a solution based on lived experience and community in mind. I believe we are meant to leave the world a better place than how we are experiencing it.

Kandice Horton-Gomez

Program Manager

Working in a space dedicated to uplifting marginalized communities isn't just a career choice; it's a calling fueled by a deep sense of empathy and social responsibility. My hope is that I am able to contribute to creating positive change, addressing systemic inequalities, and giving a voice to those often overlooked or silenced. I am incredibly grateful that I have this amazing opportunity to align my passions with my profession; channeling my energy towards making a meaningful difference in the lives of those who face systemic barriers. Each day presents as an opportunity to amplify individuals’ voices, challenge norms, and foster a culture of respect and empowerment for every individual. Choosing this path means prioritizing empathy, compassion, and advocacy, striving to create a more equitable and inclusive society for all.

Glen Friedman


I was taught from an early age the importance of helping others. I have been extremely fortunate to have an amazing family and a great career and now it is a privilege to use my skills experience and relationships to help others in need.