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2018 Public Policy Conference

Monday, April 23, 2018
8:00am - 3:30pm PDT
The California Endowment Center for Healthy Communities
1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $250.00
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The legislation currently being debated in Washington, DC and Sacramento could result in significant changes for the philanthropy sector and our communities.
Building on the success of last year's Conference, we are once again partnering with the California Budget & Policy Center, which engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of low- and middle-income Californians. At this event, we will come together to take an in-depth look at the latest policy analysis and research and to prepare for and address key issues impacting our work. This year's conference will have a special focus on the 2020 Census, supporting full federal and state funding for a fair and accurate count, as well as higher education policy changes. 

We hope you can join us on April 23rd for a day of candid conversations about our sector's role in advocacy efforts that strengthen our communities. 

Our Public Policy Conference is now sold out!

Click here to download the attendee list




8:00 am

Registration and Networking Breakfast  


8:30 am

Welcome & Introductions

  • Beatriz Solís, Director of Healthy Communities (South), The California Endowment, and Chair, Board of Directors, Southern California Grantmakers
  • Christine Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers


9:00 am      

Keynote address by Dr. Timothy P. White, Chancellor of the California State University (CSU)
Introduction by: Peter J. Taylor, President, ECMC Foundation

Did you know that for every $1 the state invests in the California State University (CSU) system, the CSU system returns $5.43? The 23 campuses of the CSU play a critical role in providing future leaders with the skills and knowledge they will need to thrive in the workforce and help drive California’s economy. With more than 110,000 annual graduates, the CSU is the state’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees and advances California’s economy in agriculture, information technology, business, hospitality, life sciences, healthcare, public administration, education, media and entertainment.

Our opening keynote speaker, Dr. Timothy P. White, Chancellor of the California State University, will share his vision on how to make California count in a rapidly evolving economy by focusing on the Graduation Initiative 2025─an ambitious, system-wide initiative that seeks to increase graduation rates through a multipronged approach. The initiative includes a groundbreaking decision to eliminate remedial education in favor of credit-earning courses that will decrease the time it takes to complete a degree and eliminate achievement gaps for all students. Dr. White will also dive into how and where philanthropy can support these efforts.


9:30 am

Sneak Preview and Transition Break


9:45 am

Morning Breakout Sessions 


11:00 am



11:15 am

Leveraging Cross-Sector Collaborations to Make California Count

Despite Congressional action on the federal budget last month, resolving several months of crises that nearly sunk the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and could have resulted in significant cuts to an array of other domestic programs, uncertainty nonetheless abounds as we look ahead at the California policy landscape. Recently announced plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census will very likely threaten the state’s fair share of federal resources and could reduce California's representation in Congress. Congress is contemplating a Farm Bill that could cut food assistance to our most vulnerable communities. State ballot initiatives may curtail recent progress made in investments in almost every issue area of importance to funders, including housing and homelessness, healthcare, the environment and more. Can cross-sector partnerships in California act as a bulwark against these challenges? And how are funders pro-actively navigating uncertainties?

  • Ditas Katague, Director, Census 2020 California Complete Count, State of California
  • Ashley Swearengin, CEO, Central Valley Community Foundation
  • Chris Hoene (Moderator), Executive Director, California Budget & Policy Center


12:15 pm

Lunch Buffet


12:45 pm         

Keynote and Interview with The Honorable Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State
Interviewed by Val Zavala, Former Vice President of News and Public Affairs, KCET
Introduction by Garrett Gin, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business and Community Engagement for Greater Los Angeles, Bank of America

Secretary Padilla will speak to the urgency of the 2020 Census, particularly in light of recent federal action to disenfranchise and discourage a full, fair and accurate count. He will share updates on efforts to increase voter registration and civic participation to strengthen voter rights and offer insights on how collaboration with advocacy groups and philanthropic partners plays a central role to these initiatives.


1:30 pm

Sneak Preview and Transition Break


1:45 pm

Afternoon Breakout Sessions


3:00 pm

Networking “Sundaes on the Plaza” 


3:30 pm



*Times Subject to Change

Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) Initiative


During the conference, make sure to stop by the VSAP booth to check out the new voting system! Los Angeles County is re-imagining the voting experience, which is set to launch in 2020. At the core of this experience is a new Ballot Marking Device that aims to make voting more accessible, convenient and secure. The Ballot Marking Device features a touchscreen with a simple user interface, an audio ballot with tactile key-pad and built in ballot box. Voters will utilize the new Ballot Marking Device to mark and cast a paper ballot. Learn more at



The Lawyer Is In


Attorneys from Alliance for Justice’s (AFJ) Bolder Advocacy Initiative will be available throughout the day to provide consultations on the rules of foundation and nonprofit participation in advocacy related to public policy and elections. (Note: AFJ will provide resources and guidance for informational purposes only. Consultations do not create an attorney-client relationship.)


Alliance for Justice


Morning Breakout Sessions


Changing the Rules of the Game: Engaging in Policy Systems as a Grantmaker

How can philanthropy leverage its investments to further positive societal change? With the limited resources of grantmakers, where can funders increase their impact? Join us for a discussion from funders on how they’re “changing the rules of the game” by engaging in various forms of systems change to create and sustain their investments and organizational mission in society. Participants will hear from different funders about how and why they engage in policy systems change by aligning their organizational mission, board’s interests and communities. The session seeks to expand the opportunities to engage in systems change work for philanthropic organizations across a range of environs and acknowledges that these tactics work in combination with needed investments in advocacy.

  • Dannielle Campos, Senior Vice President, ESG Program Director, Bank of America
  • Bernadette Glenn, Executive Director and President, WHH Foundation
  • Sandra Shewry, Vice President, External Engagement, California Health Care Foundation (CHCF)
  • Zahirah Mann (Moderator), Program Officer, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation


Emerging Issues Affecting Immigrants and Refugees

As Congress remains immobilized to resolve the future of Dreamers, the path for immigrants and refugees continues to narrow as a result of federal policy promulgated by the Trump Administration. Funders and advocates will share alarming trends that affect immigrant integration, economic mobility and the social inclusion for newcomers and their children in devastating new ways. These proposed public policies will touch upon the cornerstones of the priorities of funders broadly, from early childhood education to the health and well-being of Californians. Learn about the issues on which funders are casting a wary eye and how advocates will respond. Identify how grantmakers can prepare for public policies that may dramatically alter the institutions that promote development and growth of immigrants and refugees within society.

  • Peter Barth, Director of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs, First 5 LA
  • Efrain Escobedo, Vice President, Education and Immigration, California Community Foundation
  • Jenny Rejeske, Senior Health Policy Analyst, National Immigration Law Center
  • Carolina Sheinfeld, Project Coordinator, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Beatriz 'Bia' Vieira (Moderator), California Program Director, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees


Improving Success for All College Students is Key to California’s Economy

California’s standing as the sixth largest economy in the world depends on producing more college graduates, but persistent gaps in college access and success for students of color hinder progress. In this session, we will share key data points from the recently released report, “Left Out: How Exclusion in California’s Colleges and Universities Hurts Our Values, Our Students, and Our Economy.” This will be followed by a conversation about philanthropy’s role in ensuring college access opportunities for all students.


Innovative Civic and Voter Engagement Methods for a New Generation

In an era of social movements leading changes across our nation, California has the largest and most diverse new generation of voters looking for ways to stay engaged and make their voices count. This session will highlight ways to empower young voters through social media and unconventional grassroots organizing. 

  • Christian Arana, Policy Director, Latino Community Foundation
  • Amy Leang Horn, Field Organizer, Khmer Girls in Action
  • Jennifer Ito, Research Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), University of Southern California (USC)
  • Luis Sanchez, Co-Executive Director, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote/YVote
  • Connie Malloy (Moderator), Portfolio Director, The James Irvine Foundation


Afternoon Breakout Sessions


2020 Census: Ensuring Federal Funds for California

Census data guides the allocation of $4 trillion in federal funds, including anti-poverty programs, foster care, Medicaid and other social services. For California, this means our state receives about $76 billion dollars in federal funds. However, our state also has the highest concentration of hard-to-count populations. With a congressional seat on the line, a fair and accurate count ensures equal and fair political representation for the state. Join us to hear about current efforts underway in preparation for the Census, and ways to collaborate to ensure that all Californians are accounted for.


Addressing Poverty through Public Policy Strategies

Nearly a fifth of Californians lack enough resources to meet basic needs when taking into account the state’s high cost of living. While philanthropy has made significant investments, the social safety net provided by the government remains central to preventing more Californians from falling into poverty. New anti-poverty interventions, specifically the expanded state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Cal Savers program, provide opportunities for short-term and long-term anti-poverty strategies. Join us to discuss where funders can engage on new anti-poverty public policies.

  • Ruth Holton-Hodson, Senior Policy Advisor, Health and Retirement Initiatives, California State Treasurer John Chiang
  • Peter ManzoPresident and CEO, United Ways of California
  • Kim Pattillo Brownson, Vice President of Policy and Strategy, First 5 LA
  • Sara Kimberlin (Moderator), Senior Policy Analyst, California Budget & Policy Center


Advancing Gender Justice through Public Policy and Advocacy Efforts

How does community-led policy rooted in gender justice help us achieve progress on multiple issues? How can we leverage data to understand where key issues intersect to have the most impact? How does working toward economic justice move the needle in other areas? In this session, participants will hear from policy experts, funders and community-based organizers who are informing policymakers about ways to ensure gender justice. In particular, this session will highlight the connections between access to comprehensive health care and economic justice, particularly as it relates to immigrant and indigenous communities.

  • Lucia Corral Peña, Senior Program Officer, Blue Shield of California Foundation
  • Rocío González, Health Policy Advocate, Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)
  • Kristin Schumacher, Senior Policy Analyst, California Budget & Policy Center
  • Surina Khan (Moderator), Chief Executive Officer, The Women's Foundation of California


California Budget Perspective: What’s At Stake in State and Federal Budget Proposals

Why do Southern California community leaders and grantmakers need to know about changes to our federal and state budgets? For funders seeking to improve outcomes for low- and middle-income Californians, the proposed budgets could have profound effects on safety net services, education funding and more. Join us for a deeper dive into major elements of the Governor’s proposed budget, changes expected at the federal level and key debates that will shape choices for our national, state and local budgets.

  • Chris Hoene, Executive Director, California Budget & Policy Center




Christian Arana, Policy Director, Latino Community Foundation

As Policy Director, Christian leads the Latino Community Foundation’s efforts to advance policy solutions that will improve the lives and political power of California’s Latinos. Christian served as the Senior Governance Specialist at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in Washington, D.C. Prior to CHCI, he worked at the Aspen Institute for the College Excellence Program. He helped administer the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Competition honoring the top performing community colleges in the nation. Dedicated to the advancement of Latino communities, Christian began his career as an AmeriCorps member where he served as a college counselor at Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem, New York. Christian received a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University in International Politics.




Peter Barth, Director of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs, First 5 LA

Peter BarthAs the senior policy and intergovernmental affairs strategist for the organization, Peter Barth builds and maintains strong relationships with elected officials, administrators and opinion leaders at all levels of government, as well as organizations and institutions partnering with First 5 LA’s ongoing policy work. He previously worked at Third Sector Capital Partners, where has served as Director in their San Francisco office, coordinating their West Coast operations since June 2014. Before that, he was Assistant Secretary for Program and Fiscal Affairs for the California Health and Human Services Agency, appointed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and reconfirmed by Governor Jerry Brown. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s Degree in policy, management and planning. He holds a Master’s Degree in public policy from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He has also completed fellowships with the California Capital Fellows Program, Academy of Business Leadership and American Enterprise Institute.



Dannielle Campos, Senior Vice President, ESG Program Director, Bank of America

Dannielle Campos is a member of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) group, serving as a national philanthropy director for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Dannielle joined the bank in 1994 and prior to her current assignment, she served as a program officer and California manager for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. As the Market Development Manager for Greater Los Angeles, she was responsible for the strategic planning, coordinating and leveraging of the bank’s local philanthropic contributions, events, sponsorships and community partnerships. She began her career at KCET-TV in Los Angeles working on documentaries funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Los Angeles County Office of Education. Dannielle earned a degree in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She currently serves on the boards of the Association of Corporate Contribution Professionals, the Center Theater Group and The Music Center of Los Angeles, Social Enterprise Alliance and the Advisory Board for the USC Center of Philanthropy, and LIFT Los Angeles. She is also a member of Bank of America’s Hispanic Latino Leadership Council, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Greater LA Market Leadership Team.


Lucia Corral Peña, Senior Program Officer, Blue Shield of California Foundation

Lucia Corral Peña is a Senior Program Officer, managing the portfolio of grants focused on ending domestic violence in California. Prior to this role, she was principal of Corral Peña Consulting where her practice focused on creating opportunities for low-income communities, addressing the unmet needs of immigrants, agricultural workers and women in California. She previously served as Director of the Western Region for Hispanics in Philanthropy, where she managed the organization's award-winning Funders' Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities in five states. She has also served as Program Director at The California Wellness Foundation where she focused on state and local projects promoting the health of California's low-wage workforce. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. She is a member of the California State Bar and an alumnus of The San Francisco Foundation's Multicultural Fellowship and the Hastings Public Interest Law Fellowship.


Efrain Escobedo, Vice President, Education and Immigration, California Community Foundation

Efrain Escobedo is Vice President in charge of education and immigration programs at California Community Foundation. Prior to joining CCF, he was the Manager of Governmental and Legislative Affairs for the Registrar of Voters in Los Angeles County, the largest election jurisdiction in the nation with more than 4.5 million registered voters. He also served as Senior Director of Civic Engagement for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, where he helped develop and lead several national efforts in the areas of Citizenship, voter participation and the 2010 Census. He was instrumental in the development of innovative voter contact strategies and technologies that helped to engage more than one million young, newly registered and infrequent Latino voters across the country. Efrain earned his Bachelor’s degree in American studies and ethnicity from the University of Southern California and is a recent graduate of the Los Angeles County Executive Leadership Program.



Maria de la Luz Garcia, Director of the Census 2020 Initiative, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti

Maria de la Luz Garcia currently serves as the Director of the Census 2020 Initiative for the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti. In that capacity, she is responsible for ensuring that all Angelenos are counted in 2020. Working collaboratively with the County of Los Angeles and a diverse coalition of community stakeholders, she and her team are helping to build a regionwide 2020 Census outreach and education effort. She has a passion for and experience in civic engagement efforts launching several civic engagement initiatives for the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach. She holds an M.P.A. and a Certificate in Public Policy from USC Price School of Public Policy and a B.A. from Vassar College.





Garrett Gin, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business and Community Engagement for Greater Los Angeles, Bank of America

Garrett Gin leads a team of financial/banking professionals that is responsible for numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives, including local philanthropy, community reinvestment and community engagement. Prior to joining Bank of America in August 2009, he served as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Merrill Lynch in California. He is active in numerous business, civic and educational organizations, among them are the Los Angeles Business Council, the Central City Association, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the National Asian Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.





Bernadette Glenn, Executive Director and President, WHH Foundation

Bernadette Glenn leads the WHH Foundation, a family foundation based in Los Angeles with family members scattered throughout the U.S. The focus of the WHH Foundation is to ‘invest in human capital’ through providing grants in education, the arts, health and community building. Before joining the Foundation, Glenn worked in telecommunications in the San Francisco area. A native of Dublin, Ireland, she received her BA in History and English, and a Higher Diploma in Education from University College Dublin. She also holds an M. Phil in Gender and Women’s Studies from Trinity College Dublin. She is on the Board of Overseers of The Huntington Library and is a member of the Executive Committee of Caltech’s Board of Associates. She also serves as Co-Chair of Social Venture Partners – Los Angeles, and on the Advisory Board of the California Council on Science and Technology.




Rocío González, Health Policy Advocate, Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)

Rocío González joined MICOP in 2017. Born and raised in Ventura County, and as a child of immigrants, she has seen the first-hand importance of immigrant rights and our community’s access to quality health care. Previously, she worked as Policy Analyst with California Pan Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), where she advocated for statewide policies to improve the health of California’s growing and largely diverse communities of color. She has a B.S. in Nutrition Science and Ethnic Studies from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she was awarded the 2015 President’s Diversity Award and the recipient of CSU-LSAMP Scholar Award in the category of outstanding Social Change Advocate for Underrepresented Communities.




Chris Hoene, Executive Director, California Budget & Policy Center

Chris Hoene became the Budget Center’s Executive Director in October 2012, bringing to the organization 15 years of leadership in state and local policy research and analysis. He leads the strategic direction of the organization, acts as primary spokesperson and works with the Board of Directors and community partners to implement our vision and mission. Prior to joining the Budget Center, he was the Director of the Center for Research and Innovation at the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C., leading efforts to analyze trends in local and state government and promote constructive policy action on issues including public finance, economic development, housing, poverty reduction, infrastructure and governance. He previously worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in D.C. and the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College of Idaho. In 2011, in recognition of his service to the state and local community, Chris was elected as a Fellow into the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).


Ruth Holton-Hodson, Senior Policy Advisor, Health and Retirement Initiatives, California State Treasurer John Chiang

Ruth Holton-Hodson has spent her 30-year career as a consumer advocate in the government, philanthropic and non-profit sectors. Currently, she leads the outreach and stakeholder engagement efforts for California Secure Choice. Prior to that, she served for 6 years as the Deputy Controller for Health and Consumer Policy. She spent almost 10 years working for The California Wellness Foundation as a Special Projects Director and then Director of Public Policy focused on increasing access to health care in low income communities and educating the philanthropic sector about public policy grantmaking. She was the advocate and then Executive Director for California Common Cause where she ran two successful statewide initiative campaigns on campaign finance and ethics reforms. She began her public policy career as a lobbyist for the California Children’s Lobby. She has a Master’s in Educational Administration from The University of Chicago.



Amy Leang Horn, Field Organizer, Khmer Girls in Action

Amy Leang Horn is a second generation Cambodian, born and raised in Long Beach CA. Amy is the daughter of Khmer Rouge Survivors. Her family resettled in the U.S. in the late 70’s. Long Beach is home to the largest concentrations of Cambodians outside of the motherland. Growing up in Long Beach in the 90’s was difficult. Amy was forced to navigate poverty, racism and gang violence. After losing family to gang violence and incarceration, Amy became an activist at age 15. She joined a local organization called Khmer Girls in Action and canvassed for the Parental Notification Act and fought for access to reproductive health care services for youth in her community. She is now the Field Organizer at Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) working specifically around Integrated Voters Engagement. She is also building the organization’s alumni network base, integrating alums in KGA’s civic engagement work.




Jennifer Ito, Research Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), University of Southern California (USC)

Jennifer Ito is the Research Director at USC PERE where she conducts research on issues of regional inclusion and social movement building. Jennifer has co-authored several PERE publications including Linking Innovation with Inclusion: Demography, Equity, and the Future of San Diego and Changing States: A Framework for Progressive Governance. Before joining PERE, she was the Research Director for Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a grassroots organizing and movement building organization based in South Los Angeles. Appointed by the California Assembly Speaker, she served on the California Commission on the 21st Century Economy in 2009. In 2015, she served on the California State Controller’s Council of Economic Advisors. She currently serves on the boards of the Economic Roundtable, California Budget and Policy Center and Asian Pacific Environmental Network Action. She holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA.



Ditas Katague, Director, Census 2020 California Complete Count, State of California

Ditas Katague is currently the Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020  for the State of California. She also serves as the Chair of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Race, Ethnicities and Other Populations. She served as the Director of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Census 2010 project. In 2000, as Chief Deputy Campaign Director for the Governor’s Census 2000 California Complete Count campaign, she led a groundbreaking multi-lingual, multi-media outreach effort that resulted in a mail-in return rate that outpaced the entire nation. She is an expert in multi-ethnic outreach and civic engagement.  Ditas most recently served as Chief of Staff to the California Public Utilities Commissioner Catherine Sandoval where she improved public participation and access to the energy and telecommunications utility rate and regulation process. Since 1998, she has served on the Advisory Board for the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.



Surina Khan, Chief Executive Officer, The Women's Foundation of California

As CEO, Surina oversees the Foundation’s strategic direction which is focused on building community-based power through investing in effective nonprofit organizations, training community leaders in policy advocacy, connecting key partners and mobilizing significant financial resources. She joined the staff in 2005 as a Senior Program Officer and was promoted to Director of Programs and then Vice President of Programs. In 2011, she was recruited by the Ford Foundation to design and launch Ford’s LGBT Rights Initiative and went on to become a Director in the Democracy Rights and Justice Program where she shaped more than $30 million in annual grantmaking around the world to expand rights for women, LGBT people, people living with HIV/AIDS and in the areas of strengthening democratic participation and governance. Earlier in her career, Surina served as Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (now OutRight Action International) where she worked to advance the human rights of LGBTQI people and people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Prior to that, she was a research analyst for Political Research Associates, conducting groundbreaking research on the Right’s attacks on women.


Sara Kimberlin, Senior Policy Analyst, California Budget & Policy Center

Sara Kimberlin joined the Budget Center in January 2017, bringing with her more than 15 years of experience in California in the fields of policy analysis, social science research, human services and housing. Sara came to the Budget Center from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, where she continues to be an Affiliate. At the Center on Poverty and Inequality, she conducted research and analysis of poverty trends, safety-net programs and policy proposals intended to improve outcomes for low-income families and individuals. Sara has also worked as a Research Fellow for the John Burton Foundation, focusing on child welfare policy; as Development Director for Shelter Network (now LifeMoves), a homeless services nonprofit; and as an independent consultant to nonprofits, foundations and cross-sector partnerships, specializing in workforce development, housing and safety-net supports. She holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.



Connie Malloy, Portfolio Director, The James Irvine Foundation

Connie Archbold Malloy serves as Portfolio Director at The James Irvine Foundation, where she developed the Fair Work initiative to ensure that fairness and opportunity are afforded to all of California’s workers. She also leads grantmaking in the areas of immigration, voter and civic engagement, elections policies and practices, and social impact bonds. She is currently appointed to the first-ever California Citizens Redistricting Commission, for a 10-year term: 2010-2020. As Rotating Commission Chair, Connie has overseen the creation and implementation of fair political districts for the first time in the nation’s history, redesigning CA’s citizen representation across the Assembly, Senate, Congressional, and Board of Equalization maps. She earned her Master’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor’s Degree from La Sierra University in Riverside, CA.




Zahirah Mann, Program Officer, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation

Zahirah Mann joined the The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation in 2017. Zahirah has over fifteen years of experience working with nonprofits in the Los Angeles region, including as a Program Officer at the Annenberg Foundation and Program Manager at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, leading a collaborative of private and public funders investing in solutions to end homelessness. Before entering philanthropy, Zahirah was a public interest attorney representing and advising nonprofits, coalitions and governmental entities. She received her J.D. cum laude from Tulane Law School and her A.B. from Vassar College.





Peter Manzo, President and CEO, United Ways of California

pete manzo 2Peter Manzo is the President and  CEO of United Ways of California, which improves health, education and financial results for low-income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the community impact and advocacy work of California’s United Ways. Previously, he was the Director of Strategic Initiatives for The Advancement Project, a civil rights “action tank” that advances equity and expands opportunity for low income and vulnerable people; Executive Director and General Counsel of the Center for Nonprofit Management, where he directed the expansion of the Center's information, training, consulting, technology and search and compensation services to nonprofits; and Directing Attorney of Community Development Programs for Public Counsel. He is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley; he also is a graduate of the London School of Economics, where he received a Master's degree in Political Sociology and the University of Notre Dame, where he received a Bachelor's degree in Government.



Joseph Tomás Mckellar, Co-Director, PICO California

Joseph Tomás Mckellar is Co-Director of PICO California, the largest faith-based community organization in the state. He has been leading efforts to grow grassroots organizing capacity for racial, economic, health and environmental equity across California. In 2017, he led PICO California’s organizing efforts to win SB 54, The California Values Act, which became the country’s strongest sanctuary legislation protecting immigrant families from deportations and opening new pathways to rehabilitation for ex-offenders. In 2016, Joseph served as Faith in the Valley’s founding Interim Director, leading efforts in the San Joaquin Valley to launch a powerful regional organization at its “Founding Convention” with 1,500 people from 6 counties and 16 labor and community partners.





The Honorable Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State

Alex Padilla was sworn in as California Secretary of State on January 5, 2015. Previously, he served in the California State Senate (2006-2014) where he chaired the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications. Padilla graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. He recently completed a five-year term as a member of the MIT Corporation (Board of Trustees). Previously, he worked for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and then-Assemblymember Tony Cardenas. In 1999, at the age of 26, he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council to represent the east San Fernando Valley community where he grew up. In 2001, his colleagues elected him to the first of three terms as Council President, becoming the youngest member and the first Latino to serve in this capacity. In 2005, Padilla was elected President of the League of California Cities. In 2006, he was elected to the California State Senate. He was reelected in 2010. Padilla previously served as President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a non-partisan organization made up of more than 6,000 federal, state and local officials dedicated to all aspects of civic engagement.


Kim Pattillo Brownson, Vice President of Policy and Strategy, First 5 LA

Kim Pattillo Brownson is responsible for strengthening First 5 LA’s profile and influence on local and statewide early childhood public policy, legislative and advocacy efforts. She previously served as the Managing Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Advancement Project. In addition to spearheading statewide coalition work on the early childhood budget, her local coalition work at the Los Angeles Unified School District resulted in over $1 billion in increased investment in the highest-need neighborhoods for K-12 and early learning students, and expanded early learning programs for almost 8,000 young children. Prior, Kim was an education attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Previously, she worked in private sector litigation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Kim began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Dolores Sloviter on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal and the Honorable Louis H. Pollak in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to law school, she worked at the Boston Consulting Group, where she provided financial and strategic planning services to Fortune 500 companies. She earned a Doctor of Law degree from Yale Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies.


Jenny Rejeske, Senior Health Policy Analyst, National Immigration Law Center

Jenny Rejeske leads the National Immigration Law Center’s (NILC) team working to defend, protect and improve low-income immigrants’ access to affordable health care. NILC works in partnership with national policy and advocacy groups, community-based organizations, health care providers, legal and social services agencies and government officials. Prior to joining NILC, she directed the health advocacy program at the New York Immigration Coalition. Jenny started her health-related career working at community health centers in New York City and Estes Park, CO. She earned her M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy.





Tavae Samuelu, Executive Director, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)

Tavae Samuelu is the Executive Director for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC). As the Executive Director, Tavae provides strategic oversight towards realizing EPIC’s mission to promote social justice by engaging the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community through culturally-relevant development, advocacy and research. She’s passionate about liberation work and supporting the political consciousness and growth of youth. Before joining EPIC, she served as the Development Director for the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond and has since become a member of RYSE’s Board of Directors.






Luis Sanchez, Co-Executive Director, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote/YVote

Luis Sanchez currently serves as Co-Executive Director of Power California (formerly known as Mobilize the Immigrant Vote), a network of 30 organizations building an intergeneration movement of young people and families of color in California. He founded YVote, a statewide youth organizing network transforming young voters of color into an influential voting bloc. He previously served as a Senior Fellow for the Movement Strategy Center. As former Chief-of-Staff for LAUSD School Board President Mónica García, he successfully championed school reform models that offer students smaller, more personalized settings. As the founder and former Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle, he organized youth, parents, and community leaders to lead campaigns for safe and healthy neighborhoods. As the former Vice President of the Los Angeles Recreation and Park Commission, he worked with the Mayor’s office to launch the Summer Night Lights, a violence prevention initiative that keeps parks open after dark by offering recreational activities. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Cal State Northridge.


Melina Sanchez, Program Officer, The James Irvine Foundation

Melina Sanchez joined the Irvine Foundation as a Program Officer in June 2016 to work on the Foundation’s civic participation initiatives. Previously, she served as a Civic Engagement Officer at the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles for nearly five years. Melina helped to define and implement strategies and activities as part of the foundation’s inaugural Civic Engagement Department and convened the Los Angeles Preschool Advocacy Initiative Coalition, a cross-sector collaborative that helped restore $40 million for early learning programs at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Melina earned her B.A. from Vanderbilt University. She completed her mid-career MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a focus on philanthropy, working on a study of philanthropy in Latin America through the Hauser Institute for Civil Society, as well as holding a position on the editorial staff of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy.



Kristin Schumacher, Senior Policy Analyst, California Budget & Policy Center

Kristin Schumacher joined the Budget Center as a policy analyst in 2013 and has been a senior policy analyst since November 2017. Prior to joining the Budget Center, she taught public policy and public administration courses in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver and held research positions with the University and the Feminist Majority Foundation. She also worked in fundraising and development with the Colorado AIDS Project in Denver. She received a Ph.D. in public affairs from the University of Colorado Denver and a master’s degree in social work with an emphasis in policy and administration from the University of Texas, Austin.





Carolina Sheinfeld, Project Coordinator, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Carolina Sheinfeld has been with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles since 2003, first as an International Human Rights Analyst and most recently as the Project Coordinator for LAFLA’s Torture Survivors Project. Her program provides legal assistance, case management and community education to refugees and asylum seekers, and facilitates the integration process of vulnerable immigrant groups. It serves survivors from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. She also developed a professional network for legal and social providers called The Asylum Collaborative of Los Angeles, which has been in existence for over a decade. She was the Chair of the Refugee Forum of Los Angeles in 2016 and 2017 and has been a member of the State Advisory Council on Refugee Assistance and Services since 2009. She holds a Master of Public Diplomacy from USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism and is a Fellow for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Programme since 2011. In 2014, she completed a Professional Certificate on Peace and Conflict Resolution in Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, as a Rotary World Peace Fellow and in 2015, joined the Responsible Leaders Network of BMW Foundation.


Sandra Shewry, Vice President, External Engagement, California Health Care Foundation (CHCF)

Sandra Shewry leads CHCF’s health policy communications, digital publishing, government relations and audience engagement functions. She previously served as CHCF’s Director of State Health Policy. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was President and CEO of the Center for Connected Health Policy, a nonprofit organization working to remove policy barriers to the integration of telehealth technologies into California’s health care system. Sandra held a number of senior leadership positions within California state government, including Director of the California Department of Health Care Services, which administers the state Medicaid program (Medi-Cal). She also served as the Executive Director of the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board. Sandra received her Bachelor’s degree in community studies and psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in public health and social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.



Michele Siqueiros, President, The Campaign for College Opportunity

Michele Siqueiros has been with the Campaign since 2004, serving first as the Associate Director and the past seven years as Executive Director and was named President in 2014. With her leadership in 2010, the Campaign led the effort for historic transfer reform that will make it easier for students to transfer from any California Community College to the California State University system and most recently led support for the passage of the Student Success Act of 2012. She was instrumental in assembling a statewide network of over 12,000 coalition supporters, involving over 50,000 young people and their families through the “Save Me a Spot in College” and “I’m One in A Million” scholarship contests awarding over $670,000 in scholarship dollars. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies and Chicano/a Studies from Pitzer College and her Master of Arts in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.




Peter J. Taylor, President, ECMC Foundation

Peter Taylor is the President of ECMC Foundation. In this role, he has lead more than $60 million of investments in initiatives affecting educational outcomes, especially among underserved populations, in the areas of teacher and leader development, college success, and career readiness. Before joining ECMC Foundation, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the University of California system. During his time there, he oversaw all aspects of financial management at the 10 campuses, five academic medical centers and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Peter was recently appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Board of Trustees of the California State University system. He also serves on the boards of Edison International and Pacific Life. He previously served as president of the UCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors, the alumni representative on the UC Board of Regents, and a board member of the J. Paul Getty Trust. In 2004, he was appointed to the California Performance Review Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. From 2000–2002, Peter served on the board of the California Student Aid Commission, as an appointee of Governor Gray Davis.


Ashley Swearengin, President and CEO, Central Valley Community Foundation

Ashley Swearengin is the President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, a charitable foundation serving the six counties of Central California and providing over $110 million in funding to over 650 community benefit organizations.  Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the mayor of Fresno from 2009 through 2016. As mayor, she focused her efforts on improving distressed neighborhoods, revitalizing the downtown and urban core, promoting business and job growth, securing the city’s long-term water supply, addressing chronic homelessness and stabilizing the city’s financial position. Before becoming mayor, she led a number of community and economic development initiatives in the Central Valley, including the Governor’s Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development and the Central Valley Business Incubator. She sits on numerous boards of organizations dedicated to economic empowerment and educational attainment, including the College Futures Foundation, California Competes, California Forward, New America and FUSE Corps. She holds MBA and BS degrees from California State University, Fresno.


Beatriz 'Bia' Vieira, California Program Director, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)

Beatriz 'Bia' Vieira advances GCIR's programs and initiatives in the Golden State. She joined GCIR in August 2017. She brings over 20 years of experience in human rights and advocacy work, including program leadership and management, fundraising, policy development, organizing, public outreach, and constituency building. She previously served for six years as the Philadelphia Foundation’s first Vice President for philanthropic services, where she led the foundation’s strategy and distribution of approximately $29 million in annual grants, including a grantmaking initiative addressing the health and wellness of low-income youth of color in Philadelphia. Earlier, she spent 10 years as the Executive Director of Lutheran Settlement House, where she managed an annual operating budget of over $8 million and oversaw social services, health, education, and advocacy programs provided to more than 10,000 consumers annually. Born and raised in Brazil, Bia earned a B.A. in Spanish and Anthropology, as well as a M.A. in Literature and Linguistics, from Temple University.



Dr. Timothy P. White, Chancellor, California State University (CSU)

Dr. Timothy P. White is chancellor of the California State University. As chancellor, he leads a university of 23 campuses and a global community of 479,000 students, 50,000 faculty and staff and more than 3.3 million alumni. He also leads the CSU as it embarks on an ambitious systemwide plan – Graduation Initiative 2025 – to increase graduation rates, decrease time to degree and eliminate achievement gaps for
all students by recruiting more faculty, hiring more advisors and student-support staff, providing new tools and adding thousands of more classes over the next decade. Prior to joining CSU, White held senior academic and administrative positions at the University of Michigan, Oregon State University, University of Idaho and at University of California campuses in Berkeley and Riverside. White deeply believes in and is a product of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, having pursued his higher education from Diablo Valley Community College, Fresno State, California State University, East Bay and the University of California, Berkeley.


Val Zavala, Former Vice President of News and Public Affairs, KCET

Val Zavala is recently retired from her position as Vice President of News and Public Affairs at KCET after 30 years of service as a television anchor, reporter, producer and executive producer. Over her three decades in public television she has covered major issues impacting Southern California politics, education, healthcare, environment, demographics, the economy, arts and culture. As anchor/reporter for KCET’s prime-time news magazines, SoCal Connected and Life & Times, Zavala has won 18 L.A. Area Emmy® Awards, eight Golden Mikes and numerous Los Angeles Press Club awards. She also won a prestigious Walter Cronkite Excellence in Journalism award for her 1-minute ballot proposition explainers. She was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 1992.  She received her Masters in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. and her B.A. in Latin American Studies from Yale University. She serves as a Senior Fellow and mentor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, as well as board member for Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles and a regent for Mount Saint Mary’s University.


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