Back to top

Press Release: SCG Announces James Alva as New Board Chair

Tuesday, January 21, 2020





James Alva, Senior Vice President & Market Manager at Citi Community Development, has been elected Chair of Southern California Grantmakers’ Board of Directors.


Los Angeles, CA, January 21, 2020 - Southern California Grantmakers today announced that James Alva has been elected as Chair of its Board of Directors for a two-year term, effective January 1, 2020. Southern California Grantmakers is a robust network of 325 grantmakers working to champion effective philanthropy across 8 counties in Southern California. 

“I am honored to have been selected to serve in this important role,” said Alva, who has served on the SCG Board since 2017. “I look forward to working together with my board colleagues and the entire SCG network to address the issues most impacting the communities that we serve.” 

As Chair, James will oversee the operation of the Southern California Grantmakers’ Board of Directors alongside the current Board Executive Committee: Nike Irvin, Trustee at the Riordan Foundation, SCG Board Vice-Chair; Joe Lumarda, Chair of The California Wellness Foundation’s Board of Directors, SCG Board Secretary; and Melissa Harman, Partner at Moss Adams LLP and Senior Partner at the Moss Adams Foundation, SCG Board Treasurer. In addition, Beatriz Solís, Director of Healthy Communities (South) at The California Endowment, will move into the role of Past Board Chair.

During his term, James will prioritize working with the Board to optimize Southern California Grantmakers’ mission and unveil its revitalized strategic framework in 2020. Additionally, as a number of board terms come to a close next year, James will utilize his experience in organizational change and management to facilitate the onboarding of new board members in 2021. 

“I can think of no one better to lead our Board during this pivotal moment for SCG and the philanthropic sector as a whole,” said Beatriz Solís. “His dedication to our most vulnerable communities and his commitment to racial equity and diversity are exactly what we need in order to envision a more inclusive future for all Californians.” 

James leads Citibank’s corporate philanthropy division for Southern California and Texas. He focuses Citi’s philanthropic efforts on catalyzing new programs and building public-private partnerships. During his five year tenure at Citi, he has helped found the Los Angeles County Center for Financial Empowerment with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Cities for Citizenship with Mayor Garcetti, the Ventanilla Financiera with the Mexican Consulate, and the ONE LA small business procurement program with the LA Chamber of Commerce. He has also partnered with many foundations in joint-funding initiatives and studies such as the Portrait of Los Angeles. His experience prior to Citi includes founding a non-profit and a community bank.

James’ innovative approach to community engagement work has been recognized by three prestigious business organizations in Los Angeles all of which have selected Citi as their 2019 and 2020 Corporation of the Year for corporate social responsibility. 

“James brings a new voice and perspective to the Board,” said Wendy Garen, former SCG Board Chair. “His considerable experience across multiple sectors provides him with valuable insights that will help us achieve long-lasting impact with our communities.” 

James has vast board experience and currently serves on four boards: Southern California Grantmakers, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges, and the California Latino Economic Institute. He serves on two advisory boards: the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and the LA County Center for Financial Empowerment. James' other responsibilities include serving on the steering committees for Philanthropy California and Southern California Latinx in Philanthropy, as well as being a member of the SCG Public Policy Advisory Committee, the SCG Corporate Advisory Council, and the SCG Senior Peer-to-Peer Leadership Program. 

“James has been an incredible champion of SCG’s vision throughout his entire tenure on our Board,” said Christine Essel, President & CEO of SCG. “I am eager to see how his leadership will accelerate our impact and help us foster a thriving philanthropic sector.” 

James is a first-generation college graduate with a degree from Stanford University where he served twice as president of his class. James and his husband, Edward, live in Los Angeles with their dog and cat.

SCG’s Full Slate of 2020 Board Members:

Kim Belshé, Executive Director, First 5 Los Angeles; Marsha E. Bonner, Senior Director of Programs, Community Grantmaking & Special Initiatives, Annenberg Foundation; Cara Esposito, Executive Director, Leonetti/ O’Connell Family Foundation; Christine Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers; Michael Fleming, Executive Director, The David Bohnett Foundation; Wendy Garen, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Shane Goldsmith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Hill Foundation; John E. Kobara, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, California Community Foundation; Deidre Lind, Social Impact Advisor; Connie Malloy, Executive Director, Panta Rhea Foundation; Steve Nissen, Senior Vice President, Legal and Government Affairs, NBCUniversal; Gabriela Robles, Vice President, St. Joseph Health; Tara Roth, President, Goldhirsh Foundation; Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, Samueli Foundation; Belen Vargas, Associate Vice President for Operations and Chief Mission Officer, California State University, Los Angeles; and Adrienne Wittenberg, Executive Director, S. Mark Taper Foundation.


About Southern California Grantmakers

Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) is a community of philanthropists and grantmakers working to make a difference in our communities and around the world. Our members include family, private, public, independent, community and corporate foundations and corporate giving programs, individuals, and government agencies.

We believe that a strong and informed giving community is essential to improving the quality of life for all Southern Californians. At SCG, we understand the region’s philanthropic community, we know our local nonprofits and civic partners, and we recognize the key issues you face. SCG connects grantmakers across Southern California through sector-wide conferences, trainings, networking opportunities and funder convenings—providing space for collaboration and coordinated action on critical issues. We support and advance effective grantmaking in eight Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.



Phuong Pham | Director, Knowledge & Communications | 213-860-8866



Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
News type