Name: Janet Berry
Profession: Senior Director of Development, Graduate and Undergraduate Support, University Relations at UC Davis
“My name is Janet Berry, and my dream for California is an excellent education for all students - preschool to graduate school - to maintain access and opportunities and make it affordable.”
Berry is co-founder, past president and board member of the nonprofit Davis Schools Foundation, which was formed in 2004 to support the Davis Joint Unified School District. In 2008, the district faced tough budget cuts, but Berry and other parents refused to lose cherished teachers, staff and programs to the chopping block.
Instead, the foundation organized a “Dollar-a-Day” campaign to save jobs and programs. Since that year, the campaign has raised more than $3 million to help the district maintain lower class sizes and safeguard programs, such as music and science.
Berry, who's also a wife and mother, has dedicated years to volunteer work and fundraising. She says she's seen the good that it achieves and the difference it can make. Her activities have included serving as co-chair of the successful 2008 campaign for Measure W, a parcel tax for education in the Davis district.
“Education is the foundation of everything,” she says, and the key to California's long-term future and a thriving economy. She wants state government to scrutinize how it spends taxpayer money.
She says state government does need changes. But, until that can happen, people in local neighborhoods and communities must be an informed, vocal citizenry. They should make sure they know what government is doing and what budget cuts are under consideration.
“I definitely think the community has to be involved and has to pay attention,” Berry says. “We have so much to lose… and it’s for the good of the state.”