Able Works equips individuals with financial education, life skills and assets that enable them to live free from oppression and poverty.
We seek to live in a society where every individual has the ability to fulfill their greatest human potential.
Our Key Points
Able Works targets highly motivated, but under-resourced young adults
Provide knowledge, skills, and assets needed to break free of poverty and oppression
Foster knowledge, skills, and will to help individuals navigate their path to economic mobility
In 2005, Rev. John Liotti co-founded Able Works with a passion to focus on the economic issues underlying the communities in Northern California. John, who has extensive community development experience, recognized a deep need in under-resourced communities for financial education, life skills, assets, and connections to the larger community and economy of the region. John is passionate about connecting and harnessing the abundant resources of the Bay Area to shatter generational cycles of poverty and systematic oppression.
Under John’s leadership, Able Works has piloted several innovative programs, including FutureProfits, a curriculum for financial education and decision-making skills for high school students; AchieveAble, a life skills and college and career success program for college-age youth pursuing a non-traditional path; free foreclosure and credit counseling services; and a low-income housing program.
At an early age, John dedicated his life to serving under-resourced youth and families in communities locally in California’s Central Valley, Bay Area and Los Angeles, nationally in Central Florida and New York City, as well as abroad in Northern Mexico. He has lived and worked in the Bay Area for over 23 years.
John has a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies with an emphasis in Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, and formerly served as a Chaplain for the East Palo Alto Police Department. He’s been married to his partner Melissa for over 35 years. They have one son, Samuel, and two rescue dogs. He currently resides in Santa Cruz, CA.
Irene has over 29 years of experience working with and leading youth, young adults, leaders, and families. She speaks nationally and internationally, has written numerous curricula, consults for churches and organizations on engaging youth, youth culture, community development, and racial justice issues, and is an advisor for many organizational boards.
Ana M. Andrade holds a B.A in Criminal Justice from Stanislaus State University and a M.A. in Leadership Studies from Saint Mary’s College of California. Her thesis work focused on unemployment, morale and people with limited English-speaking proficiency. Ana earned a PhD in Transformative Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies in 2020. She is a native Spanish Speaker, born in El Salvador and raised in Patterson, California. Before joining Able Works, Ana dedicated her professional time advocating for renter’s rights and counseling housing providers. She spent over a decade working as a Deputy Probation Officer in San Joaquin County. While there, she served on the Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Committee and was the Department’s United Way Campaign leader. She also participated in the Stanislaus County Probation Department’s Reducing racial and ethnic disparities (R.E.D.) committee. She is a senior fellow graduate of Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley’s Latino Board Leadership Academy. She is currently a Board Member with the Latino Community Roundtable, a member of the Stanislaus County Giving Circle, and an advisor for Invest in Me, a young women’s leadership program based in Patterson. Most recently, Ana was named Outstanding Women of Stanislaus County by Stanislaus County Commission for Women.
Sue worked in the high tech industry for over 10 years, first as a management consultant with Accenture, then in Latin America business development for Apple. After becoming a mother, Sue devoted her time to raising her two children and volunteering in their schools and church. With a deep desire to make a positive impact in her local community, Sue relaunched her career in 2010 with a focus on social justice. She is passionate about helping others reach their full potential. Sue holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Baylor University and an M.I.M. from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Garry brings over two decades of experience in financial planning & analysis (budgeting, modeling, and forecasting), project management, credit policy, and mortgage operations in the financial services, technology, and nonprofit sectors. He is a trusted business partner to Finance, IT, HR, and Real Estate leadership on financial and strategic planning matters. Garry most recently served as the Director of Finance & Strategy for United Hope Builders, a nonprofit focused on creating more affordable housing in the Bay Area, where he implemented financial policies, procedures, and reporting for the organization. Prior to this role, he held financial planning & analysis positions at leading technology firms headquartered in Silicon Valley.
In his free time enjoys travel, photography and supports local community organizations in helping make a positive difference in individuals’ lives. Garry has a B.S. in Economics from the University of the Pacific and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University.
Lyn Balistreri joined the staff at Able Works as director of development, marketing, and communications in October 2023. She brings 17 years of nonprofit fundraising and marketing experience to the position.
Most recently, Lyn led the development efforts at Morgan Autism Center in San Jose and was the first-ever development director at San José Spotlight, a nonprofit newsroom committed to unbiased community reporting. Lyn spent two years as development director at Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), an organization dedicated to providing accessible and affordable mental health care services to Mountain View and surrounding areas. During COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions, she led the agency’s fundraising efforts resulting in more than $1.5M in individual and corporate gifts and foundation grants. As the development director at Morrissey-Compton Educational Center, she implemented a multi-year development plan that raised almost $2 million in gifts to help individuals with learning differences succeed academically and in life.
Lyn is an active volunteer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Silicon Valley Chapter, where her service includes spending a year on its Board of Directors.
A third-generation San Jose native, Lyn earned her bachelor’s in psychology from San Jose State while working full-time in accounting and finance. She worked in high-tech public relations and as an independent contractor before discovering her love of the nonprofit arena during a stint as a grant administrator in the Population Group at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She is a single mother to several cats and enjoys creating pretty things and tending her garden.
Board of Directors
Advisory Committee Central Valley
Bryan J. Marks