About Open Gate

Mildred McKinney
Mildred studied Business Administration at Holmes Community College in Goodman, MS before starting a brief fulfilling career in education. As an educator, Mildred was a Teacher’s Assistant at Carrie Dotson Elementary School in Grenada, MS for 5 years before she decided to move to the West Coast.

Mildred begin her 28 year career in out-of-home advertising as a manager designing marketing plans for Fortune 500 companies locally and nationally. After retiring from corporate America, she started volunteering at Center Point DRC Parole Center Oakland two to three days a week teaching the clients basic computer skills and assisting with various resources. Realizing it was time to take her childhood dream of starting her own business to the next level, became the birth of Open Gate, Inc. with co-founder Denise Richardson.

In 2013, the first successful pilot program with 30 participants launched at College of Alameda. Open Gate, Inc. has a 90% retention rate and a 0% recidivism rate. The second pilot program started Summer 2016 at Chabot College gifted partnership with Santa Rita Jail for the first direct ‘Jail to College’ program in the state of California. Enrollment starts behind the walls combined with weekly college readiness workshops.

After working in corporate America, the re-entry population is the most rewarding and fulfilling career for Mildred. It gives her great satisfaction to see the students thrive, succeed and give back to their communities.

Mildred McKinney
Cofounder/Executive Director
Open Gate, Inc.

Denise Richardson
Denise graduated from the University of Strathclyde Scotland with a Bachelor’s Degree (Honors) in Psychology in 1979 and from the same institution in 1987 with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education.

Denise taught in underserved communities in Scotland until 2000, building bridges between schools, communities and homes to increase attendance and school retention in the most deprived neighborhoods.

After relocating to California, Denise taught Adult Basic Education in Oakland and in 2012, she started to volunteer with parolees, teaching literacy and Job Readiness skills.

In 2013, Denise founded Open Gate with Mildred McKinney, to facilitate and enrich educational and vocational opportunities for parolees and probationers, and in 2014, Denise and Mildred founded Open Gate at the College of Alameda, a special enrollment program for the formerly incarcerated.

A 90% college retention rate and 0% recidivism led to a partnership with Open Gate, Chabot College and Santa Rita Jail to build a Jail to College pipeline, with much of the college preparation work being completed with inmates inside the jail.

Our first cohort of 25 students will start Chabot College in June 2016 and we look forward to developing and building this pipeline into other colleges.

Our vision is “From Incarceration to Graduation”, and this is what we do!

Charles Moore
Charles graduated from San Francisco State University in 1980 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. In 1996, he earned a Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Studies from U.C. Berkeley.
Charles worked at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center for 14 years where he was a counselor for six years and a Counselor Supervisor for the next eight years. In these positions, Charles worked with young people facing incarceration and a life of crime. He would assist and coach them to live a positive and productive lifestyle as they pursued their college degrees.

For the past 19 years, Charles has been the Outreach Coordinator at City College of San Francisco with the Second Chance Program. In this position he enrolls and coach formerly incarcerated students to graduation and a successful life.

In 1983, Charles started H.O.P.E. Ministry while he was a counselor in the Youth Guidance Center. Charles served as the Supervising Counselor and he also served as Volunteer Chaplin, holding both positions simultaneously until he retired from Youth Guidance Center. He made contact with Chaplin Harry Howard in San Quentin State Prison, where he was excepted into the Cell Ministry under the leadership of Chaplin Howard. In this position, Charles begin to Minister to many inmates serving life sentences with no hope of release.

His time as a convicted felon has given him a unique perspective and understanding which has allowed him to offer targeted assistance and advocacy to those in the same situation he once lived. This has been his passion for the last 40 years.
Charles is committed to the growth of Open Gate, Inc. as we bring hundreds and thousands of people from incarceration to graduation.

Charles Moore
Community Network Developer
EOPS Program
City College of San Francisco

Angela Taylor
With over 11 years of experience working with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations. As an educator for the Parolee Education Program of Contra Costa County Office of Education, a division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, she prepares parolee students to achieve their GED, college enrollment or employment . Angela holds an Adult Teaching Credential, earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and is nearing completion of her Master's degree in Leadership and School Administration from Notre Dame de Namur University.

Her past experience includes her role as supervisor of the Achieve 180 case management team, a Second Chance Act re-entry program, designed to reduce recidivism by working with high risk offenders at the San Mateo County jail with their reintegration back to the community. The success of Achieve 180 earned national recognition from Washington DC. Additionally she was a volunteer Rape Crisis Counselor, for SFWAR (San Francisco Women Against Rape, a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) mentor who worked with juvenile offenders, and an intern for the Northern California Service League; where she advocated for inmates pending trial at the San Francisco County Jail. Currently, Angela has sent over 20 Oakland parolees to college and as a committed partner to Open Gate Inc., will continue to help foster the path of progress and advancement through teaching and promoting the significance of education.

Ann Daniels
Is the Family Literacy Coordinator at the Oakland Public Library’s Second Start Adult Literacy Program, where she has taught adult and family literacy for over a dozen years. A New Yorker for the first half of her life, Ann has also practiced law and run a political and educational advocacy nonprofit, so she believes that it is possible to reinvent yourself if you have the will, the opportunity, and the support of your community. Ann brings her love of singing, craft and creativity to her teaching, and she believes that there’s usually more than one good solution to a problem.


Debbie Green
Is an Academic Counselor primarily working with students with disabilities for the past 20 years and, additionally, is the Program Coordinator for the Student Success Learning Communities at College of Alameda. She is also a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist working primarily with clients of color and/or disabilities. Her passions are collaborating and motivating her students to succeed. If she had two life times, her other career goal would have been working with incarcerated and formally incarcerated individuals. Open Gate, Inc. has allowed her to combine her passions with her career goals. She looks forward to the many student successes to come!


Clyde Long
Is an attorney who has practiced in the East Bay for over 30 years. His law practice includes dispute resolution, litigation, and business counseling. He is also President of a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Lafayette Improvement Association.




Susan Ganz
Susan feels gratified to work toward advancing the mission of Open Gate Inc. A resident of Oakland for nearly 15 years, she personally understands the strengths and struggles of the city, and is invested in the success of the community. As a health care professional her entire career, Susan’s passion is creating an environment where people can achieve their best.

She has a history of rolling up her sleeves and digging deep into difficult issues with energy and compassion. Susan has written grants to implement school-based health centers; launched a cancer screening outreach program for the underserved in the Brookside Hospital area; obtained federal funding for an earthquake-damaged historical site in Oakland; introduced a diagnostic mobile mammography unit to a community in Hawaii; and worked for the rights of gays and lesbians in equal housing and employment protection, as well as domestic-partner benefits. Today she works for Stanford Health Care, overseeing the activation and opening of its new facilities.

With support, encouragement, and resources, Susan has seen countless individuals overcome adversity to enhance their lives.

Susan Ganz
Administrative Director, Transition Strategy
Stanford Health Care

Jim Richardson
Jim is Vice President, Strategic Project Solutions In., a San Francisco based firm providing specialized, support, capabilities and enabling software for major capital projects.

Prior to joining SPS he spent 23 years at Chevron in various international and domestic management roles.

Jim served as a member of Board of the Exploratorium in San Francisco from 2004 to 2010 and is currently the treasurer of Open Gate, Inc.

He has been active in supporting the transition needs of the parolees through volunteer activities since 2011.