2017 Awardee

Christine Stoner-Mertz

as President & CEO, Lincoln

Christine Stoner-Mertz is President and CEO of Lincoln, a 134-year old organization that was founded as the first racially integrated orphanage in Northern California and that has evolved to provide comprehensive preventive support services for children and families to disrupt cycles of poverty and trauma.  Christine is driven by the belief that every young person deserves a family and every parent wants their child to succeed despite economic challenges, substance use and limited educational resources.  She was inspired by her parents’ belief in service and is rewarded on a daily basis by Lincoln’s work to strengthen families and change lives.

Prior to joining Lincoln, Christine was Co-Founder of Seneca Center, a nonprofit organization that provides innovative children’s mental health services. She also founded inFocus, a consulting company that helps optimize the services of private mental health providers, school districts and county social service and mental health departments.

Christine is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.  She serves on the Boards of the National Council of Behavioral Health Organizations and the California Council of Behavioral Healthcare Agencies.  She has received numerous honors including the prestigious Bay Area Jefferson Award for Public Service and the Exemplar Award for major contributions to the field from the National Network of Social Work Managers.

This is the perfect time for Christine to recharge, having recently led Lincoln through several years of organizational transition, including moving headquarters to West Oakland, restructuring programs, and redefining Lincoln’s brand.  The organization has emerged stronger than ever, and Christine is excited for her senior team to have the opportunity to take their leadership to the next level as a result of her sabbatical.

With her children now grown and out of the house, her sabbatical will be a time of true rejuvenation.  She plans to meditate, take a Spanish language class and travel to Europe for the first time – connecting with her family history by visiting Ireland and Scotland.  Christine says, “I know that by taking a sabbatical with time for meditation, I will be able to incorporate this reflection more regularly into my life after I return.”  And Christine believes that finding fresh perspective is important to continuing to create meaningful social change.  She says “For a leader to truly lead and create long-term systems change that disrupts poverty, they must take time to reflect on past work and stay open to new ways of thinking.”