The African American Community Service Agency (AACSA) is one of the only African American cultural centers in the Silicon Valley. Our Vision: it to provide quality educational, cultural, social and recreational programs, services and activities in order to perpetuate and strengthen African American identity, culture, values, traditions, knowledge and family life-is at the heart of all programs. AACSA's membership is open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability. The Agency's diverse activities and services offer a natural gateway to African American life. AACSA's membership is open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, age or disability. The Agency's diverse activities and services offer a natural gateway to African American life.
On November 26, l978, at the Antioch Baptist Church, 268 East Julian Street in San Jose, California, twelve individuals gathered to establish the Afro-American Community Service Agency. We, the African-American Community, thank you for planting the seed and we the African American Community will nurture the seed so that it will continue to grow.
Mr. Chuck Alexander
Mr. Willie Bell
Mr. Henry Gage, Sr.
Mr. Louis C. Gibson
Mr. Bob Hale
Ms. Inez C. Jackson
Mr. Charles E. Lyons
Ms. Jackie Penn
Rev. M. Samuel Pinkston, Ph.D
Mr. Ed Sims
Mr. Wester Sweet, Attorney
Ms. Charlene Young, Ph.D
It is the mission of the African American Community Service Agency to preserve the dignity and culture of a diverse African American Community and to provide services that promote full participation of all of Santa Clara County and the general society.
Milan R. Balinton | Executive Director
Although not always wrapped within the shiny gates of triumph, Milan Ray Balinton epitomizes what the road to success often entails. Forcing himself past the hurdle of living with a learning disorder, traversing beyond his start in the impoverished Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco, and lifting the barrier presented to him as an African-American young man, Mr. Balinton has conversely shaken the community with his resounding presence and has ventured on to become a highly sought after asset within the African-American community.
During his early years, Mr. Balinton was introduced to the NAACP organization by his grandmother who took him by the hand, urging him to “give back to the community, for many have sacrificed so that we could be free, and you must do the same.” These words, which planted a continual reminder, were often what he re-visited and used to overcome the obstacles set before him along his endeavor.
For over 15 years, Mr. Balinton has diligently served the community within various capacities which landed him innumerable leadership and committee representative appointments.
Since graduating from San Jose State University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Communications, Mr. Balinton has continued to devote ample time to service while completing the Executive Master's in Public Administration program at Golden Gate University, in San Francisco, CA. Milan has served in several leadership roles, including, but not limited to: Past Alumni Board of Directors, for the Western Region, Past President of the San Jose Alumni Chapter, Past Advisor of the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., member of the 100 Black Men Silicon Valley Chapter; Past President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council- Santa Clara Valley Chapter, former mentor for the Tiger Woods Foundation, member of the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet, National Forum Black Public Administrators, member of Maranatha Christian Center, the new SJSU Black Alumni Network, Lions International, CEO of Rise and Shine Consulting LLC and currently the Executive Director of the African American Community Service Agency, to name a few.
Milan R. Balinton is the voice of triumph for those who are often left unheard while facing defeat. People living with disabilities, students, seniors, and the very least of them appreciate the once young boy who made a decision to heed his grandmother's words of wisdom not knowing that years later those same words would be what has single-handedly changed his life as he continues to pay it forward.
Achievements to Mention:
Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Community Based Organizations/Leaders
City of San Jose Commemoration for Juneteenth Celebration
Commendation for Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration
Man of the Year of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Silicon Valley
Flame Keepers Award, Milpitas Black Caucus and Flame Keepers Committee
2014 The Western Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Robert L. Harris, Esq. Province Polemarch Award
2014 Living Legends Award, Present to by the Caesar Chavez Community Action Center, SJSU
2014 Golden Rule International Award
2014 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rise and Shine Consulting, LLC.
2015 Alumni of the Year, San Jose State University (Student Involvement) Greek Community, and many more
2016 Outstanding Alumni Award - SJSU Department of Communication Studies
- 2016 - EBONY Power 100 People’s Choice Award
AACSA Administration & Team
Sabrina-Moné Lamontagne | Office Manager
Sabrina Lamontagne is a new addition to the AACSA team as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. Sabrina has been an AACSA volunteer since she was an undergraduate student and also served as an AACSA Student Ambassador. She received her BS in Business Administration from San Jose State University in 2013. After graduating, she worked at KTLA, a Los Angeles TV News station, as a Local Sales Coordinator.
Board of Directors
Cherise Orange | Board Chair | County of Santa Clara
A native of Baltimore, Cherise Orange has always strived to make the world a better place. From assisting her
mother with organizing community events as a young child to being a volunteer planner at Baltimore’s
Neighborhood Design Center, Cherise is committed to improving and building stronger families and
With a professional career spanning the fields of community based nonprofit research, community
engagement, diversity management and military installation and facility planning, Cherise currently works for
the County of Santa Clara Department of Parks and Recreation as an Associate Planner.
Cherise holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance and International Business and Economics from Mount St.
Mary’s University (2011) and received her Master’s in City and Regional Planning from Morgan State
In 2013, in recognition of her hard work and dedication to solving issues facing the African American
community, Cherise was recognized by the American Planning Association (APA) Planning and the Black
Community Division as a Robert A. Catlin David W. Long Scholar.
In her new residence of San Jose, Cherise sits on the APA Northern California Chapter’s Board of Directors as
the Regional Activity Coordinator, and is now the Vice-Chair of AACSA’s Board of Directors. In her new home,
Cherise continues her goals in expose African Americans to the outdoors and improving health and financial
disparities amongst African Americans.
Ikenna "Ike" Ikeotunonye | Board Vice-Chair | Google Program Manager
Ikenna Ikeotuonye is currently a Program Manager at Google and in his role he is responsible for enabling company-wide Sustainable Supply Chains to minimize direct and indirect environmental and social impacts and risks as well as strive to restore ecosystems while promoting healthy communities. Within Google he belongs to and supports several affinity groups such as the Black Googler Network. Ikenna is a Houston, Texas native of direct Nigerian decent. He recently graduated from Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (2015) and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Supply Chain Management and Global Business Consulting (2017).
Throughout his college career Ikenna was passionate about being involved in his community nationally as well as internationally. In undergrad, he was active in student government among other things, serving as a Senator representing the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Science. Later he was elected as Vice-President of the Howard University Student Association (Student Government Association). In this role, he represented over 10,000 students, managed a staff of over 90 people and had an operating budget of more than $90,000. Here he learned the true meaning of being a student social activist, where he organized and photographed over 500 Howard students in the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” stance that went viral, gained national and international attention and helped spark the movement that adorns the same name. In graduate school, he served as Vice-President of the Supply Chain Student Association and was a member of the Global Trilateral MBA Program - a program purposed to create international consultants through a partnership between Howard University in Washington, DC, Gordon Institute of Business Science - University of Pretoria in South Africa and Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, China. Ikenna consulted a small business based in South Africa and presentations were given in March 2016 at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Pretoria, South Africa. He consulted a larger scale Chinese company and presentations were given in May 2016 at the Central University for Finance and Economics in Beijing, China. Ikenna rounded the program out by consulting an international company based in the United States and presentations were given at Howard University in November 2016. In the course of his academic career he maintained summer internships with companies such as NASA and Mondelēz International to name a few.
Ikenna is passionate about the arts - he is a published photographer, avid reader/writer and a music enthusiast. In sixth grade, he found his first passion in sports: football, but went on to play a total of four sports throughout grade school including football, basketball, soccer and baseball. A motivating factor for Ikenna is his love for the environment. In the future, he wants to own and operate an Environmental Engineering Firm in order to discover or help make useful a new forms of sustainable energy. His ultimate goals in life are to make an impact on the world no matter how small and to take care of his family. He would also like to be able to give back to his community and hometown, either monetarily or through service.
Kenyatta Renee Yarn is the Secretary of the AACSA Board of Directors. She is a current graduating senior of San Jose State University majoring in Behavioral Sciences minoring in African American Studies. She began working with the AACSA as a volunteer throughout the week which eventually lead to her Student Ambassador role for SJSU during 2013. Since joining the AACSA mission, Kenyatta has been a dedicated member of the community serving through multiple leadership roles on and off campus. She currently serves as the Chapter President of Eta Omega Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Fundraising Co-Chair of SJSU's African American Commencement Committee, as well as the Director of Events of the National Pan-Hellenic Council on SJSU campus. Kenyatta also continuously serves the off campus community through our annual Juneteenth Festivals, as the Youth Arena Coordinator (2014-2015), the AACSA Annual Martin Luther King Luncheon Volunteer Chair 2014-2015, as well as the Silicon Valley Black Legends Awards Volunteer Coordinator 2017. She continues to thrive and grow within our organization, humbly persevering through the daily challenges of undergraduate life and always remembering the beauty of giving back.
Cheyenne Brandon | Board Member
My name is Cheyenne Brandon and I am a third year Communication Studies Major, Public Relations Minor at San Jose State University. I was born and raised in the heart of South Central Los Angeles.I enjoy connecting with people and sharing the joy of serving as I believe we all have a duty to lead as we were once lead. Being involved on campus is a huge pastime of mine. I currently sit on two executive boards for student organizations at SJSU. One being our Black Student Union as the Vice President, and the other our Black Graduation Commencement as the Event Director. Within the department of Communication Studies at SJSU, I am Comm Center coach and Comm 80 course mentor. This role allows me to assist students through the self-paced course as needed as well as provide feedback on assignments via appointments through the Comm Center. I am a free spirited, fun, advocate for my community always ready to give back and expand on the idea of more unity, more service.
Sandra Dailey | Board Member | Small Business Owner | Community Leader & Member
Co-Chair Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet 2013- Current Owner – Sandi’s Cobblercups and MORE Catering - Home of the 49’R’s @ Levis Stadium Bay Area native and longtime Santa Clara resident. Married 34 years to her high school sweetheart & best friend Vincent Dailey. Mother of 2 Sons, Tyler and Everett and grandmother to Layla Dailey. Retired after 35 years in Biotech Sales & Marketing and now enjoys her role owning and operating her very own Family
Aileen F. Casanave is Deputy General Counsel (acting General Counsel) and Privacy Counsel for Jiff, Inc., an enterprise health benefits platform software services company, where she provides business and legal support to the CEO and CFO and manages the company’s legal, immigration, and regulatory compliance matters. Aileen is also General Counsel to the African American Community Service Agency (AACSA), President of the Santa Clara County Black Lawyers Association (SCCBLA), and Chair of ACC-SFBA’s Career Advancement Committee.
For the past three decades, Aileen has worked tirelessly to promote the areas of diversity, global inclusion, social justice and public interest in the community, and the legal sector in particular. She developed numerous diversity and mentoring and programs in and out of the workplace while at Lockheed Martin, Sun Microsystems and TIBCO Software Inc.
She serves on multiple boards dedicated to diversity or public interest, including the Public Interest and Social Justice Law Board at Santa Clara Law School, Santa Clara County Black Lawyers Association, California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Association of Corporate Counsel's San Francisco Bay Area chapter, and from 2010-2016, Aileen served on the USF School of Law Board of Governors (where she continues to serve with the Employment committee as a non-board member).
Aileen has taught Critical Race Theory and housing discrimination at Santa Clara Law School and created Law Day events where attorneys of color discuss issue of law with children in under-served grammar and high schools in the bay area. In 2013, she completed an exhibit at San Jose City Hall called And Justice For All, The History of African-Americans in Santa Clara County's Judicial System and has hosted a Gideon Celebration; a Celebration of America's 6th Amendment Right to Counsel honoring the careers of four Public Defenders from the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco.
Ms. Casanave was awarded the Women’s Lawyer’s Division of the National Bar Associations’ Lawyer of the Year award and the 2016 California Association of Black Lawyer’s President’s Award, the California Women Lawyers’ Woman of Achievement Award, the Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence Award and was inducted into the Silicon Valley Black Legend’s Hall of Fame in February, 2017.
Robert Greenfield IV | Board Member
An Atlanta, GA native and man of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Robert Greenfield IV is a recent Industrial & Operations Engineering graduate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2016), eager to further the Chapter’s work in mentorship, activism, and community service.
Robert is a ex-NCAA Division 1 Soccer player, and has managed multimillion dollar assets at Goldman Sachs, led marketing campaigns for American Express and Teach for America, and has developed sentiment analysis software for Cisco Systems, all to mature the soft and hard skills necessary to become flexible within varying team dynamics.
During his college years, he co-lead the International #BBUM (Being Black at the University of Michigan) movement that served as the precursor to the #ITooAmHarvard and #BlackLivesMatter movements and help give a voice to over 2MM people to exclaim their experiences of oppression. He's conducted interviews on CNN, Fox News, and the New York Times before he was 21 years old. The movement motivated University-wide change in Race & Ethnicity policy, negotiated a $10MM multicultural center, and sparked the University of Michigan’s current 5-year diversity initiative.
Robert transitioned from corporate experience to the struggles of an entrepreneur and put his ambition to work by teaching himself how to code to develop his own startups, Nomsy, which has grown into a $1.4MM venture that empowers over 40K people find the food that fits their dietary lifestyle everyday, and Blacklist, a TEDX award-winning, Black culture media application help re-innovate how people of color interact with online content. Robert has been invited to the White House via President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, has fundraised over $70K from venture capitalists, grants, and incubators.
Currently, Robert is the CEO of Nomsy, a social network that allows users to visually share and discover diet-filtered topics, recipes, and places by posting within a community that understands their restriction. We empower Consumer Package Goods companies to know how much of their social media content engagement is converting to direct sales of their product, enable clients to increase social media engagement, and lower client marketing costs by connecting them to niche consumer markets through our online platform.
Aneita Gage | Board Member | Intel Corporation
Aneita Gage has been employed at Intel Corporation in their Technology and Manufacturing Group (TMG) for 23+ years. Along with numerous work positions she have also held several board position within and outside of Intel. Most recently, she serves as Treasurer for NIA (Network of African America employees). Being passionate about STEM related activities, she also sits on the boards of the San Jose State MESA (Math, Engineering and Science achievement) Advisory Board and MESA’s Corporate Advisory Board. Prior to Intel, Aneita worked at Xerox Corp in Rochester, NY. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from San Diego State University and a Masters in Engineering Management/Industrial Engineering from the Rochester of Technology. Aneita is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Incorporated. Growing up in San Jose, Aneita is excited about the opportunities that being in a “High-Tech” area brings. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, attending sporting events and Festivals.
Erika Albury | Board Member | Salesforce
Erika Albury is a Bay Area native who champions employment opportunity for those in under represented communities. As a Talent Acquisition professional, she has consulted for the Bay Area's most recognized employers: Genentech, Gilead, Medivation, Life Technologies (a Thermo Fisher company), PG&E, Solar City and Salesforce. While her expertise is in the recruitment of Ph.D. scientists, engineering and mathematicians, she provides counsel to all in various industries.
Since graduating from St. John's University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science, Erika has honed her craft as a recruitment professional, with 13 years as a scientific recruiter in the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical industry. Because of her love for science, she began volunteering with various local organizations that supported STEM education. She is currently the Executive Director of STEM Saturdays, a grassroots organization that seeks to democratize the access of technical and science education to children.
In addition to her role with STEM Saturday, she is also a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Silicon Valley Chapter, the NAACP, as well as a charter member and chapter leader of BookTini-Fremont, a chapter of the national women's book club BookTini.
Helen Kassa | Board Member| Student Board Member, Santa Clara University
Helen Kassa is an emerging social entrepreneur and has been involved in humanitarian and community services since she was eight-years old. She is currently a sophomore at Santa Clara University. At age eight, she founded a humanitarian educational program here in the United States and in Ethiopia, called Giving Hope to Kids Like Me. The primary focus of her work is the utilization of education as a tool to help communities raise themselves out of poverty. She had completed several trips back to her family homeland and has adopted a K-8 school in Ethiopia with over 1200 students and has provided school supplies and teaching aids and has built a science lab.
Helen in addition has worked and served with numerous organizations and institutions such as: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 (a labor union), Silicon Valley Jewish Community Center, Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, the NAACP and more. Currently, she serves as a Sophomore Student Senator in Santa Clara University’s Associated Student Government where she is working on projects to make her campus more affordable as well as sustainable.
AACSA Past Board Presidents/Chairs
Natisha "Tish" Holloway | June 2015 - July 2017
Everett "Bobby" Gasper | July 2009 - June 2015
Shawneequa Badger | July 2006- June 2009
Joanna Farris | - June 2006