Philanthropy and The City, a national leadership forum that marks The Center’s 20th anniversary, is an opportunity to explore how philanthropy can work to solve problems in our neighborhoods and communities, and in our cities and counties. Leaders from communities across the nation and from different sectors will draw on their experiences and insights to share ideas for building a more robust capacity for local solutions. In particular, we will explore new models for working across the sectors at the local level; innovative strategies for place-based initiatives; and promising avenues for local journalism to build greater trust and civic engagement. We hope you will join us.
Register by March 16, 2020
Attendance is by invitation-only.
Space is limited.
“Special Note: Thank you for your interest in the forum. Given the emergent public health crisis due to the COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the forum to a later date. We hope you will join us in the future!”
As public problem solving becomes ever more localized, a new generation of regional and local structures, coalitions, and partnerships is emerging to help govern and lead. What can we learn from these new cross-sector structures and what do they suggest about the recalibration of roles across sectors?
Henry Cisneros, Founder and Chairman,
City View and Former Secretary, HUD
Rip Rapson, President and CEO,
The Kresge Foundation
Opportunity Zones I: Leveraging Local Coalitions
New cross-sector alliances and governance structures are coalescing to guide investments and to ensure that Opportunity Zones result in equity outcomes for low-income communities. What can current efforts underway across the country tell us?
Aaron Thomas, Director of Economic Development,
Accelerator for America
Tammy Buckner, Opportunity Zone Project Manager,
We Grow KC (Kansas City)
Bradford Davy, Director of Regional Engagement,
The Fund for Our Economic Future (Northeast Ohio)
Effie Turnbull Sanders, Executive Director,
SLATE-Z (Los Angeles)
Economic Inclusion through Private Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Cities and communities are exploring new capital streams, financing approaches, and shared ownership strategies that can support private enterprise in neighborhoods. Can we move from individual transactions to support systems of businesses?
Rudy Espinoza, Executive Director,
Inclusive Action for Urban Renewal
John W. Haines, Executive Director,
Community Investment Trust (Portland)
James Johnson Piett, Founding Principal and CEO,
Tosha Tabron, Senior Vice President, Lending,
The Detroit Strategic Neighborhood Fund
What Difference Does a Newspaper Make?
Communities without quality local journalism experience lower voter turnout, weaker civil engagement, and less social cohesion, as newspaper layoffs and shutdowns have become increasing frequent. Can a renewed investment in local reporting reverse those negative effects?
Jennifer Preston, Vice President, Journalism,
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Kristen Cambell, Executive Director,
Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement
Fraser Nelson, Vice President of Business Innovation,
Salt Lake Tribune
Charles Sennott, Founder, CEO, and Editor,
How Local Journalism Can Strengthen Communities
Over the last two decades, economic, political and social forces, have left many towns with a shortage of local reporting, leaving some communities to become “news deserts” without a common baseline of facts and opening the door to misinformation and disinformation. Can supporting local journalism rebuild trust and strengthen communities?
Cinny Kennard, Executive Director,
In conversation with
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Executive Chairman,
Los Angeles Times
and commentary with
Sam Gill, Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer,
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Peter Lattman, Managing Director of Media,
How Place-Based Strategies Can Transform Neighborhoods and Communities
Philanthropic efforts to strengthen city government or leverage market forces are growing in number – as are efforts to vertically integrate strategies at the neighborhood, city, and state levels. What strategies are gaining traction in place-based philanthropy?
Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO,
The California Endowment
In conversation with
Wendy Lewis Jackson, Detroit Program Director,
The Kresge Foundation
Terri Ludwig, President of Philanthropy,
How Local Foundations are Anchoring Communities
Regional, local, and community foundations are playing catalytic roles in their communities and supporting the emergence of cross-sector problem-solving structures. What are these new models and how are they elevating the role of philanthropy in community change?
Grant Oliphant, President,
The Heinz Endowments
Fred Blackwell, CEO,
The San Francisco Foundation
Antonia Hernández, President and CEO,
The California Community Foundation
Ashley Swearengin, President and CEO,
Central Valley Community Foundation
Opportunity Zones II: The Promise and Perils of Opportunity Zones
Foundations and social impact investors are playing a variety of roles intended to optimize the place-based benefits of Opportunity Zones. What are these roles and how are they helping to align interests across sectors?
Dan Letendre, CDFI Lending and Investing Executive,
Bank of America
James Head, President and CEO,
East Bay Community Foundation
Aaron Seybert, Managing Director, Social Investment,
The Kresge Foundation
Daniel Tellalian, CEO,
Angel City Advisors
How the Local News Landscape is Changing
Emerging “business models” have sought to fill the void in local journalism such as forming content-sharing networks, converting to nonprofits, and developing other models to inform the public. What success are they having and what role can philanthropy play?
Teresa Gorman, Senior Program Associate for Local News,
Jesse Holcomb, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Communication,
Mukhtar Ibraham, Editor,
Sahan Journal (Minnesota)
Marcia Parker, Publisher and Chief Operating Officer,
The New Brand of Inclusive Growth Coalitions
As the economic divide becomes more pronounced, new coalitions and partnership configurations are forming with a focus on inclusive growth. What are we learning from these efforts and where might they lead us next?
Amy Liu, Vice President and Director, Metropolitan Program,
Tawanna Black, Founder and CEO,
The Center for Economic Inclusion (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
Bethia Burke, President,
Fund for Our Economic Future (Northeast Ohio)
Mark Cafferty, President and CEO,
San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
Collective Action for Community Solutions
Philanthropy is increasingly engaging with its partners to meet the challenge of mounting large-scale initiatives aimed at systems change. What can we learn from examples of partnerships in these cities?
Mary Lee, Project Manager,
Los Angeles 2028 Bold Vision
Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO,
The Chicago Community Trust
Nina Revoyr, Executive Director,
Los Angeles, Ballmer Group
Sondra Samuels, President and CEO,
Northside Achievement Zone (Minneapolis)
How Philanthropy Is Supporting Local Journalism
Funders have stepped up their support of journalism in recent years, from helping newsrooms to hire reporters to funding efforts that seek to fight fake news and restore trust in journalism. What effect is it having and what more can philanthropy do?
Sue Cross, Executive Director and CEO,
Institute for Nonprofit News
Vaishalee Raja, Senior Communications Officer,
The James Irvine Foundation
Julie Sandorf, President,
The Revson Foundation
Roxann Stafford, Managing Director,
Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund
John Thornton, Founder, Texas Tribune and Co-founder,
American Journalism Project
Bold Philanthropic Leadership: How Can Philanthropy Step Up?
A leading foundation executive and his former board chair and current board member reflect on what it takes to act boldly, beyond strategies and tactics. How can foundations and donors develop the will to leverage their dollars, knowledge, and reputations for greater impact, including a focus on equity in their community?
Fred Ali, President and CEO,
Mónica Lozano, Board Member (Former Chair),
Weingart Foundation and President and CEO, College Futures Foundation
Register by March 16, 2020
Attendance is by invitation-only.
Space is limited.
For more information
email: [email protected]
For travel planning purposes,
the forum will start at 2 pm on March 30th
and end by 4 pm on March 31st.
Check back often for detailed program and additional speaker updates.
Nina Revoyr is the Executive Director of Ballmer Group’s philanthropic efforts in Los Angeles County and California, which are aimed at improving economic mobility for children and families disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. Prior to joining Ballmer Group, she spent two decades in the fields of child and family services and education. Most recently, she was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Children’s Institute, Inc., which provides evidence-based mental health services, child welfare and enrichment programs, and early childhood education to over 25,000 children and families annually in Central and South Los Angeles who are affected by violence and poverty. She has also worked for SafeSpace in New York City; for Head Start in Los Angeles; and as chief of staff for the president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Nina is the author of six novels and co-editor of a college textbook; she has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, Pomona College, Occidental College, Pitzer College, and others, and speaks frequently on issues of community, race, and history. Revoyr was born in Tokyo, Japan, lived in rural Wisconsin, and was raised in urban Los Angeles, where she still resides with her spouse and their dogs. She received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.F.A. from Cornell University.
Rudy Espinoza is the Executive Director of Inclusive Action for the City, a community development organization designing innovations to responsibly revitalize low-income, urban areas. He specializes in designing economic development initiatives in low-income communities, researching the informal economy, building private/nonprofit partnerships, and training the working poor to participate in the socio-economic revitalization of their neighborhoods. At Inclusive Action, he leads their advocacy efforts in support of the working poor and their micro-finance programs that support micro-entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, Inclusive Action helped legalize street vending in Los Angeles, has deployed over $500,000 in low-interest micro-loans to under-served entrepreneurs, and co-created a unique commercial real estate initiative that preserves small businesses in gentrifying neighborhoods. He serves as the President of the East Area Planning Commission for the City of Los Angeles as well as the Board Chair of the LA Food Policy Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Nonprofit Management and the Advisory Boards of the LA Development Fund and Investing in Place. Rudy holds degrees in Business Administration and Urban Planning.
Sondra Samuels is the President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), a collaborative of over 40 partner nonprofits and schools. The NAZ Collaborative is working toward a single goal—to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school college- and career-ready. NAZ has scaled up in support of over 1,000 parents and 2,300 students as they turn the social service model on its head and lead the creation of a college-bound culture throughout the community. Samuels is a 21-year resident of North Minneapolis and a national leader committed to results-based leadership and accountability. She, her staff, and their partners work tirelessly to ensure the integration of effective cradle-to-career solutions across the NAZ collaborative — to scale and sustain results across the community and to achieve the systems and policy changes needed for low-income families and children of color to truly share in the prosperity of the Twin Cities Region. Under her leadership, NAZ was named a federal Promise Neighborhood and has become a nationally recognized model for community and systems change. She serves on the Leadership team of Generation Next, Community Advisory Board of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute, as well as the boards of Minnesota Private College Council, Center for the Study of Social Policy and Health Partners. She received her Bachelor degree from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, and an MBA from Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA.
Vaishalee Raja joined the Irvine Foundation’s Los Angeles office as a Senior Communications Officer in March 2016. She has more than a decade of experience with strategic communications, media relations, advocacy campaigns, and community organizing. Before joining the Foundation, Raja was a Vice President at Fenton, a strategic communications firm. There she managed a variety of communications needs for nonprofit and foundation clients on a broad range of public health, social, and economic justice causes.
Prior to Fenton, Raja was the Communications Director for Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. She developed communications strategies to support the organization’s legislative agenda, public education campaigns, and its electoral work. Raja has also held communications positions at The Front Range Economic Strategy Center, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers. There she led communications campaigns across Southern California to improve patient care and workplace standards for caregivers and to ensure low-income residents had access to quality healthcare. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a M.A. in Journalism.
Mark Cafferty sits at the center of a unique collaboration of business, trade, community, and education leaders who have redefined the region’s economic development strategy, cementing the region as a key stakeholder in the global economy. Cafferty has spent more than 20 years designing systems to support career advancement and economic opportunity for American workers. He has served in numerous public-sector leadership positions and has been sought as a consultant on workforce development efforts throughout the country.
Over the last few years, Cafferty was asked to chair San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Workforce and Economic Advisory Committee, and was appointed to serve on Governor Jerry Brown’s International Trade and Investment Advisory Council. A Boston native who now considers San Diego home, he earned his bachelor’s in marketing and communications from Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., and his advanced certification in Performance Measurement and Non-Profit Management from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2007, Cafferty was selected as a Center for Social Innovation Fellow for International Non-Profit Leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Marcia Parker is Publisher of CalMatters, a five-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that covers California state government and public policy, where she oversees revenue and leads foundation outreach. CalMatters distributes its work on education, health care, environment, economy, poverty and income inequity, and politics on Calmatters.org, Apple News and Smart News, and to nearly 200 news orgs across California. The award-winning news organization has a staff of 38 and a $7 million budget supported by philanthropy, individual and institutional memberships, event and product sponsorships. Prior to joining CalMatters three years ago, Parker served as Editorial Director for Patch’s West Coast 160+ local news sites, the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch site launch manager, and Assistant Dean at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she managed fundraising and ran and taught in the business reporting program. She is on the board of the Institute for Nonprofit News, the advisory board of the Emma Bowen Foundation for media diversity, and the Stanford Knight Journalism Fellowships selection committee. She is also on the adjunct faculty at Northwestern University’s San Francisco campus. This year Parker is in the Sulzberger Executive Leadership program for media executives and managers at Columbia University.
Julie Sandorf has served as president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation since January 2008. Before joining Revson, she was a co-founder and executive director of Nextbook, a national organization dedicated to the creation and promotion of Jewish literature, culture, and the arts. From 1991 through 1999, she was president of the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), an organization she founded that worked to deliver permanent solutions to chronic homelessness in partnership with philanthropic foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government at the local, state, and national levels. Previously, she was a program director at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), where she forged a groundbreaking public-private partnership to revitalize distressed neighborhoods throughout New York City. She has served as a senior program consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, directing the Foundation’s After School Project, and has been a consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Oak Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. She currently serves as an adviser to the Oak Foundation, is Vice-Chair of the board of directors of the Center for Urban Community Services, and is a member of the boards of directors of the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing and the A.M. and Ruth Z. Fleishman Foundation. She has previously served on the Board of Leading Edge: Alliance for Excellence in Jewish Leadership, the advisory board of the Brookings Institution Center for Urban and Metropolitan Policy, and on the boards of the National Mental Health Association, Goddard Riverside Community Center, and the Project for Psychiatric Outreach for the Homeless.
John W. Haines is the Executive Director and creator of the Community Investment Trust with Mercy Corps Global Innovations Team. Previously, he was executive director of Mercy Corps Northwest, the domestic arm of Mercy Corps, for 15 years. From 1997-2002, he was vice president of ShoreBank Pacific, a start-up sustainable development bank in Portland, Oregon. From 1996-97 he was senior finance advisor to the Czech National Environmental Fund in Prague, working for Chemonics. From 1994-95 he was executive director of Trenton Business Assistance Corporation, an economic development loan fund in Trenton, NJ. From 1986-1991 he worked in various corporate banking and commercial lending positions with First Interstate Bank of Oregon (now Wells Fargo Bank). He is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and native of Laramie, Wyoming.
James is Principal and CEO of Urbane, a community development agency with offices in NYC and Philadelphia; his work focuses on strengthening small businesses and community anchor institutions operating in urban communities through an integrated approach that includes research, consulting, and place-based investing. Piett has worked in 50+ communities across North America and the Caribbean, with over 1,000 small businesses, representing over 1.1 million SF of commercial and community facility space. He helped raise over $60 million for small business and community development initiatives in low-income areas with the goal of promoting community wealth generation. Currently, Piett spearheads Urbane’s co-development platform, which includes Caton Flats, the $135M mixed-use development project featuring the redevelopment of Flatbush Caton Market, a historic Caribbean vendor marketplace, and 256 units of affordable housing in Brooklyn. He is also a cohort member of the Boston Impact Initiative’s blended capital fund accelerator targeting place-based investments solutions to close the racial wealth gap in 12 US communities. He serves as a board director of The Merchants Fund in Philadelphia and Community Solutions, Inc. in NYC and was named an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar in 2019, 40 under 40 Rising Star by Hunter College Food Policy Center in 2017 and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture by Brooklyn Magazine in Spring 2016. Piett is an alumnus of Swarthmore College and MIT’s Center for Real Estate, Professional Development Institute.
Before coming to the Foundation in 2014, James Head served for 10 years as Vice President for Programs at The San Francisco Foundation, where he spearheaded initiatives on race, equity, poverty, housing, economic development, and youth development.
Head has more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit management and technical assistance; community and economic development; and public interest and civil rights law. Prior to joining The San Francisco Foundation, he was president of the National Economic Development and Law Center for 18 years. Additionally, he served as legal counsel of the California Community Economic Development Association and has been a member of numerous foundation advisory boards, including the Open Society Foundation of New York and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation of Michigan. Head served as a Commissioner on the Port Authority of Oakland from 2008 through 2015; leading the Commission as President from 2010 – 2011. James holds a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law. He has been an adjunct professor at University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law, University of California at San Francisco’s Hastings School of Law, and University of Santa Clara’s School of Law.
Grant Oliphant has been President of The Heinz Endowments since 2014 and a positive force in philanthropy and public service for nearly three decades. A leading proponent of the idea that philanthropy must be vocal in the defense of its values, he has written and lectured extensively on issues of equity, race and social justice, and championed principles that address critical community and societal issues in Pittsburgh and beyond. Following a six-year term as President of The Pittsburgh Foundation, he joined the Endowments where he reshaped the foundation’s grantmaking around three key strategic areas based on the core ethos of a ‘just community,’ supporting commitments and initiatives that enhance the quality of life for all. Under Oliphant’s leadership, the Endowments refocused its work on advancing a sustainable and equitable future, locally and globally; creating equitable opportunities that benefit families and individuals, especially those living in vulnerable neighborhoods; and building a culture of engaged creativity for all citizens. At the same time, he has helped strengthen the Endowment’s communications with all constituents and has been a strong and effective advocate for the essential community role of nonprofit journalism and media industry entrepreneurship. Oliphant has served extensively on the boards of local nonprofit and national sector organizations, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy, where he is Board Chair. He earned a Master’s in Organizational Development from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business, and a Bachelor’s from Swarthmore College.
Fraser Nelson leads The Salt Lake Tribune’s groundbreaking transition to a nonprofit organization. She has held leadership positions in the government, foundation and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she facilitated social policy innovation projects throughout the US for the Sorenson Impact Center, and served as the first Director of Data and Innovation for the Salt Lake County Mayor. Her nonprofit experience is extensive, including founding the Community Foundation of Utah and serving as CEO of a civil rights law firm and an AIDS service organization. Nelson moved to Utah to ski and still spends as much time as possible at Alta.
She holds degrees in Medieval History and Political Science from Duke University, an MA in Human Development from St. Mary’s University and was a Social Innovation Fellow at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Fraser teaches at the David Eccles School of Business.
Effie Turnbull Sanders is a passionate and dedicated advocate for economic, environmental, and social change. She brings over two decades of experience advancing the rights of underserved Los Angeles communities to lead the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z) as its Executive Director. As Executive director, Sanders leads SLATE-Z’s efforts to promote neighborhood revitalization, educational excellence, and economic empowerment to help realize the tremendous promise and potential of South Los Angeles. Prior to joining SLATE-Z, Sanders worked in service of the children of Los Angeles as Assistant General Counsel to the Los Angeles Unified School District
(LAUSD) on real estate development, facilities management, and employment law. Through her legal career, she has worked as counsel to public and private organizations such as the City of Los Angeles and Richards, Watson & Gershon. Currently, she is the Environmental Justice Commissioner with the California Coastal Commission. She is also member of Representative Karen Bass’ Congressional Council and was a Presidential Appointee for Vice Chair Cruz Reynoso with the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Throughout her career, Sanders has led a number of non-profit organizations as an active board member for Social Action Partners and the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. She also served as an advisory board member to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Mark Ridley Thomas’ African American Voter Registration, Education, and Participation Project.
Dan Letendre is responsible for managing the Bank of America’s lending and investing activities with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Previously, Letendre was Managing Director of the Merrill Lynch Community Development Company, a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch that provided capital, liquidity and technical assistance to underserved communities. He also managed the New Markets Tax Credit Program and focused on expanding the firm’s Socially Responsible Investment products focused on the community development sector. Before Bank of America, Mr. Letendre was Vice President at JPMorgan Chase, where he managed the bank’s lending and investing activities with CDFIs. He also managed JPMorgan Chase’s portfolio of community development venture capital investments and the New Markets Tax Credit Program. Letendre has worked within Chase’s Financial Institutions Group; he was a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton in their Financial Institutions Practice; and a research analyst with Paine Webber, focusing on financial institutions in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. He has served on the boards of the Low Income Investment Fund, Corporation for Enterprise Development, the New York Community Investment Company, as well as on the advisory boards of Local Capital Markets Investment Fund and the Opportunity Finance Network – CARS Program. Letendre received a BS from Manhattan College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Bethia Burke brings critical analysis to Northeast Ohio’s most pressing challenges, works with diverse stakeholders to find common ground, and advances real solutions. Most recently, Burke led the development of The Two Tomorrows, a call to action that codifies a set of regional priorities to advance inclusive economic growth. She also oversees a portfolio of initiatives that advance work in job creation, job preparation and job access. Burke is a boomeranger; after growing up in Shaker Heights she spent her early career in the greater Washington, D.C., area conducting cost risk reviews of major defense programs while earning her master’s degree in applied economics. She spends her free time taking on one-too-many projects in the kitchen, rearranging her living room furniture, and helping her two young boys navigate their way through life.
Sam Gill is senior vice president and chief program officer. In this role, he oversees all of Knight’s grantmaking programs — Community and National Initiatives, Journalism and Arts. He also oversees Learning and Impact, Knight’s research and assessment program. Sam joined the foundation in 2015. Previously, he served as vice president of Freedman Consulting, where he provided leadership for many of the firm’s projects, including strategic planning and evaluation, as well as campaign and initiative management. He has led or participated in projects for elected officials and candidates for office, Fortune 500 companies and many of America’s leading foundations. Gill earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Chicago and a Master of Philosophy in politics from the University of Oxford, England, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He serves on the board of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami and was a member of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Peter Lattman is the managing director of media at Emerson Collective, a social change organization. He oversees Emerson’s investments and grants in media and journalism, which include The Atlantic, where he is vice chairman. He serves on the boards of Anonymous Content and the American Journalism Project. Prior to joining Emerson, Peter worked as a journalist at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Born in New York City, he grew up in Roslyn, on Long Island. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife, Isabel Gillies and their three children.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, is a surgeon, scientist, inventor, and philanthropist with over 400 issued worldwide patents and 100 scientific publications. He serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NantWorks, an ecosystem of companies with deep understandings in a wide variety of complex industries, from medical science to physics, from data to AI and from communications to mobility.
Under the NantWorks umbrella, Soon-Shiong serves as Chairman and CEO of NantKwest, a Nasdaq-listed immunotherapy company focusing on natural killer cells; Chairman and CEO of NantHealth, a Nasdaq listed transformational healthcare company converging biomolecular medicine and bioinformatics with deep learning AI to empower physicians, patients, payers, pharma and researchers to transcend the traditional barriers of today’s healthcare system; Chairman of NantEnergy, a privately-held company accelerating the worldwide transformation to clean, reliable energy disrupting industrial scale methods of heat production, cement and plastics manufacturing ; and Owner and Executive Chairman of California Times, publisher of two of the states largest newspapers, the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Dr. Soon-Shiong is also Chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation and of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, a nonprofit medical research organization.
Born and raised during apartheid in South Africa, Dr. Soon-Shiong has lived in Los Angeles since 1980 and is a citizen of the United States.
Fred has more than 40 years of senior management experience with philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government. He began his career in 1972 as a volunteer teacher and counselor in a small western Alaska village. Over the next 19 years, Fred held a number of leadership positions in Alaska with nonprofit organizations, state government, and higher education. In 1991, he became the executive director of Covenant House in Los Angeles. Under Fred’s leadership, Covenant House California developed into a large, multi-service program working with homeless and at-risk youth in Los Angeles and Oakland.
Fred was appointed president of the Weingart Foundation in 1999. He serves on the boards of Covenant House California, the MLK Health and Wellness Community Development Corporation, and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles. Fred also chairs the board of advisors for the University of Southern California’s Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy and co-chairs the Center’s national advisory committee for the Irene Hirano Inouye’s Philanthropic Leadership Fund. Fred speaks regularly on issues pertaining to the nonprofit sector including equity, organizational effectiveness and capacity building.
Tawanna is nationally recognized thought leader who is well known for influencing, inspiring and equipping cross-sector leaders to transform a personal conviction for equality into actions that produce equitable and thriving communities. She has led cross-sector collaboratives, triple bottom line diversity and inclusion strategies and economic revitalization efforts and organizations for twenty years in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota, and two years ago she created the nation’s first organization dedicated exclusively to creating inclusive regional economies. As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Economic Inclusion, Tawanna leads a team of people who equip leaders and institutions throughout the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region and the nation, with the knowledge, tools and resources needed to dismantle institutional racism and bias, and construct and sustain an inclusive, equitable and growing economy. Tawanna has a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from Washburn University. Tawanna is a non-resident Fellow of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, where she leverages the intellectual assets of the Center, and the research and forward thinking of Brookings to help communities across the country build shared prosperity and inclusive growth. Tawanna has lent her leadership to over 35 non-profit and philanthropic boards over the last two decades. Today she serves as a board member of the Northside Achievement Zone, Forward Cities, and Community Advisory Board Member of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute.
Fred Blackwell is the CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. The San Francisco Foundation works hand-in-hand with donors, community leaders, and both public and private partners to create thriving communities throughout the Bay Area. Since joining the foundation in 2014, Blackwell has led it in a renewed commitment to social justice through an equity agenda focused on racial and economic inclusion.
Blackwell, an Oakland native, is a nationally recognized community leader with a longstanding career in the Bay Area. Prior to joining the foundation, he served as interim city administrator for the city of Oakland, where he previously served as the assistant city administrator. He was the executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco; he served as the director of the Making Connections Initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Lower San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland; he was a Multicultural Fellow in Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation; and he subsequently managed a multiyear comprehensive community initiative for the San Francisco Foundation in West Oakland.
Blackwell serves on the board of the Independent Sector, Northern California Grantmakers, the Bridgespan Group, the dean’s advisory council for UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and the community advisory council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. He previously served on the boards of the California Redevelopment Association, Urban Habitat Program, LeaderSpring and Leadership Excellence. He is a visiting professor in the department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the Co-Chair of CASA — The Committee to House the Bay Area. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College.
Kristen Cambell is Executive Director of PACE and leads our mission to inspire interest, understanding, and investment in civic engagement within philanthropy and to be a voice for philanthropy in larger conversations taking place in the fields of civic engagement, service, and democratic practice. Previously, Kristen ran her own consulting practice focused on civic engagement, education, and leadership. She served the National Conference on Citizenship as its Chief Program Officer, and has held philanthropic roles at the Case Foundation and Points of Light. Kristen is an AmeriCorps Alum and serves on the board of United Philanthropy Forum and Citizen University, as well as the advisory groups of several national groups, including the working group of the Philanthropy Initiative at the Smithsonian Institution.
Henry Cisneros is the Executive Chairman of CityView, an investment firm focused on urban real estate, in-city housing, and metropolitan infrastructure, which he founded in 2000.
Just prior, he was President and COO of Univision Communications, the Spanishlanguage broadcaster which has become the fifth-most-watched television network in the nation. He currently serves on Univision’s Board of Directors.
Mr. Cisneros has a background in public service, and is well-known for having been elected as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas in 1981 — the first Hispanic-American to be elected mayor of a major US City. After four terms in office, he was appointed by President Clinton in 1992 as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Mr. Cisneros has served as President of the National League of Cities and as Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He is currently a member of the Advisory Boards of both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Broad Foundation and was honored by the National Housing Conference as the “Housing Person of the Year.”
Sue Cross directs INN’s work to advance nonprofit, public service newsrooms that inform communities across the U.S. with fact-based, non-partisan, accountability journalism. Cross has worked in nonprofit and public service news for 20+ years and ran a strategy firm helping nonprofits and news organizations increase their impact and reach. As senior vice present for The Associated Press, the nonprofit global news agency, Cross directed business development and partnerships throughout the Americas, managed a nationwide membership cooperative and developed digital partnerships with global media and technology firms. In prior roles in digital product development and partnerships, she expanded Spanish language news and video production and helped introduce digital video to thousands of news websites, an initiative awarded the Chairman’s Prize for Innovation by the AP board of directors.
She previously served as AP’s Los Angeles bureau chief and directed news coverage and media operations in Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas. She began her career as a reporter in Alaska and Ohio. Cross serves on boards including EdSource, a California education media and research nonprofit, the Social Enterprise Alliance – Los Angeles and the Center for Health Journalism at USC Annenberg.
Bradford’s work is to spread the Fund’s Growth & Opportunity framework across the region. As the Director of Regional Engagement, he connects with key stakeholders, from neighborhood-based leaders to regional civic actors in the state of Ohio and beyond, to adapt and align economic development strategies to meet community needs and drive a persistent focus on systemic racial inclusion. Previously Bradford served as a project manager at Camcode Global, focusing on the manufacturing firm’s international government and defense portfolio. Notably, this work landed him as a sponsored presenter at the United Nations’ Biannual Meeting of Government Experts in 2016. Bradford also brings a wealth of community organizing and policy experience to the role of Regional Engagement, having previously worked for the Center for Community Solutions and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. Bradford received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Toledo and holds a Master of Science in urban studies from Cleveland State University.
For almost a decade, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, a leading international humanitarian organization. An expert on global development, humanitarian and health issues, Dr. Gayle spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. She worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues. She also launched the McKinsey Social Initiative (now McKinsey.org), a nonprofit that builds partnerships for social impact.
Dr. Gayle serves on public company and nonprofit boards including The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America, the ONE Campaign, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Public Health Association, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” and one of NonProfit Times’ “Power and Influence Top 50,” she has authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality and social justice.
Dr. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University. She has received 18 honorary degrees and holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.
Teresa joined the Democracy Fund as the Local News Associate for the Public Square Program in 2016, supporting the Public Square team’s mission to invest in innovations and institutions that help people understand and participate in the democratic process. Teresa previously worked as the Supervising Producer of “Localore: Finding America,” for the Association of Independents in Radio, adapting new storytelling models to meet the individual needs of communities across the country. She has spent her career at the intersection of public media, local news, and digital media, working as one of the first ever social media editors for PBS NewsHour. Teresa attended Boston University where she received her BS in Journalism.
Nationally regarded for her expertise in immigration, philanthropy and civil rights, Antonia Hernández has spent more than four decades advocating for social justice and improving the lives of underserved communities in Los Angeles County and beyond.
Since 2004, she has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Community Foundation, one of Southern California’s largest and most active philanthropic organizations, which has served Angelenos for over a century. The Foundation partners with more than 1,600 individual, family and corporate donors and holds $1.7 billion in assets. During her tenure, the California Community Foundation has granted nearly $2 billion, with a focus on health, housing, education, immigration programs.
Previously, Hernández was president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a national nonprofit litigation and advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of the nation’s Latinos through the legal system, community education and research and policy initiatives. She is a member of the boards of directors of the Automobile Club of Southern California, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Association, Grameen America and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute.Hernández earned her B.A. in History at UCLA and J.D. at the UCLA School of Law.
Jesse Holcomb teaches journalism and communication at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI. Prior to this, Holcomb was an associate director of research at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., where for 10 years he helped design and execute a broad research agenda around journalism, technology and civic life. A frequent collaborator, Holcomb has produced groundbreaking research with the Institute for Nonprofit News and Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism where he is currently a fellow. In addition, he is the principal advisor to the Knight Foundation’s research on trust, media and democracy with the Gallup organization. Holcomb is widely quoted in national and international media, including the New York Times, NPR and BBC, and speaks regularly about his research to audiences in the U.S. and abroad. He holds a master’s degree from George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs and has held writing and editorial roles at Sojourners magazine and the Public Interest Network.
Mukhtar M. Ibrahim is the founder, editor and executive director of Sahan Journal, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to chronicling the struggles, successes and transformations of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities.
He previously worked as a staff writer for the Star Tribune, where he covered Minneapolis city government and local affairs; and Minnesota Public Radio News, where he wrote about national security matters and immigration.
Wendy Lewis Jackson is managing director for the Detroit Program. She leads The Kresge Foundation’s efforts to revitalize Detroit and to strengthen its social and economic fabric. Her work supports organizations providing economic opportunity for low-income people and addresses the needs of vulnerable children and families.
Prior to joining Kresge in 2008, Wendy was a program director for Children and Family Initiatives and executive director for education initiatives at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation in Grand Rapids, Mich. She taught at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., and has coauthored and assisted in the publication of several reports and publications that address community needs and problem solving.
Wendy is an American Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States; the Association of Black Foundation Executives named her an Emerging Leader in 2008. Wendy earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from the University of Michigan. She also holds a master’s degree in social work from U-M, with a concentration in community organization and social policy and planning.
Cinny Kennard serves as the Executive Director of the Annenberg Foundation, one of the largest family foundations in the United States.
Prior to joining the Annenberg Foundation in January 2015, Cinny was the Senior Vice President in charge of Programming at the Smithsonian Institution. In that role, she created partnerships with the Smithsonian involving national and international partners for special educational and media initiatives; managed the programming relationships in the joint venture between the Smithsonian and Showtime/CBS known as the Smithsonian Networks; and brought President Obama for a first-ever interview on Smithsonian Channel. Before Smithsonian, Cinny was the first Managing Director of National Public Radio’s West Coast Production Center – NPR West – in Culver City, with executive responsibility for operational and editorial oversight.
Cinny co-founded the Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Television Journalism, the Walter Cronkite Awards and the Reliable Resources for Broadcast Political Coverage. She serves on the editorial advisory board of Global Post, an online international newsgathering operation; the DuPont Columbia University Jury; and is a longtime member of the Trusteeship of the International Women’s Forum. Cinny is also a Senior Fellow at the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.
Mary M. Lee consults with community-based organizations, public officials, government agencies and philanthropy to dismantle racially biased systems and structures and build just and equitable neighborhoods. She is a former Deputy Director of PolicyLink, a national advocacy organization working to advance racial equity and social justice. She has co-authored reports and journal articles on health equity, access to healthy food, the built environment, and the impact of place and race on health. A practicing attorney for over 25 years, Lee has experience using civil rights, land use and economic development strategies to revitalize neighborhoods and enhance public participation in the policy arena, with an emphasis on the legal rights of low-income people. She has been an adjunct professor of law and has developed and taught courses at the undergraduate and community college level on community development and civil rights. Lee has served as a Transportation Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles and is currently a member of the Leadership Circle of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, and a board member of the Community Coalition. She recently completed a term on the Los Angeles County Community Prevention and Population Health Task Force. In 2016 she was named by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Commission for Women as one of the “Women of the Year”. A native of Los Angeles, Lee holds a BA in Political Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California and a JD from U. C. Berkeley School of Law.
Amy Liu is vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and the Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy. She is a national expert on cities and metropolitan areas adept at translating research and insights into action on the ground. As director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, which Liu co-founded in 1996, she pioneered the program’s signature approach to state and local engagements, which uses rigorous research to inform strategies for economic growth and opportunity. Liu has worked directly on such strategies with scores of public, private, and philanthropic sector leaders in regions around the country, including Chicago, Detroit, Louisville, San Diego, and Birmingham.
Liu frequently writes about inclusive economic growth, the fortunes of mid-sized cities and small towns, and the intersection of economic, workforce, and community development policies, and is frequently cited in top media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR. She has extensive experience working with states and the federal government to develop policies and strategies to support cities and metropolitan areas. In 2013, Liu served as a special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, guiding policy priorities related to trade, innovation, and data. Prior to her work at Brookings, Liu was Special Assistant to HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros and staffed the U.S. Senate Banking Committee’s subcommittee on housing and urban affairs. Liu serves on the board of Equal Measure, a nonprofit that helps local and national organizations advance social change and for ACT of Alexandria, a local community foundation.
Monica joined the Foundation in December 2017. As president and CEO she works in partnership with organizations and leaders around the state to ensure education pathways are aligned seamlessly for college attainment. She is committed to the vision that California’s low-income students and students of color should have equitable access to bachelor’s degrees and a better life.
Before coming to College Futures, Monica spent thirty years in media as editor and publisher of La Opinión, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the country, and then as chairman and CEO of the parent company, ImpreMedia. Monica has been very active in education, especially at the institutional governance level. She served as chair of the California State Board of Education and the Board of Regents of the University of California, spent more than 20 years as a trustee of the University of Southern California, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. She is on the Advisory Council of the Public Policy Insitute of California’s Higher Education Center.
Monica has also been active in philanthropy and the non-profit sector, including as chair of the Weingart Foundation Board of Trustees, a former member the board of the Rockefeller Foundation, and co-founder of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program.
Terri Ludwig leads Ballmer Group’s philanthropic operations, directing resources and civic activism to improve economic mobility for children and families in the United States who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. Ludwig has three decades of experience leading cross-sector solutions that tackle some of society’s toughest challenges. In her role as chief executive officer of Enterprise Community Partners, she focused on improving communities and people’s lives nationwide by making well-designed homes affordable. By developing impact measures and scaling results, she helped to ensure that Enterprise’s best programs, capital, and policy solutions reach the communities that need them most. Ludwig grew Enterprise to a 1,200-person national organization with 11 regional offices and a presence in every state. Under her leadership, Enterprise’s impact increased exponentially through the development of critical cross-sector partnerships, integrating housing services with health care, transit, education, and other efforts that can improve lives.
Before joining the Knight Foundation in October 2014, Jennifer Preston was an award-winning journalist for The New York Times for almost 19 years. In 2009 she became the company’s first social media editor. In 2011 she returned to a reporting role where she focused on the impact of social media in politics, government, business and real life. Her most recent work as an editor focused on extending digital media and social media storytelling and curation across the newsroom. Before becoming social media editor, Preston edited four Sunday weekend sections for the Metropolitan Desk, leading several innovative data projects, including a five-year analysis of the impact of mortgage foreclosures in the New York area. She also spent nearly seven years as a senior editor in the Office of the Executive Editor, working across the newsroom on budget, career development, diversity, newsroom policies and staffing. Earlier in her career, Preston worked as an editor and circulation marketing manager at New York Newsday, where she won numerous awards for an investigative reporting project, and as a reporter for The Bulletin and The Philadelphia Daily News. Since 2007 she has taught journalism, primarily at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
Rip Rapson is president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, a private, national foundation dedicated to expanding opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing.
Since his appointment in 2006, Rapson has led the 95- year-old foundation to adopt an array of grantmaking and investing tools to improve the economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions of urban life through six defined programs: arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Kresge’s hometown of Detroit. Using a full array of grant, loan and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. Nationally, Rapson has strengthened the philanthropic sector’s role through convening, collaborating and supplementing community development activities in cities across the country.
Rapson earned a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.) and a juris doctorate from Columbia University Law School. He is the recipient of dozens of philanthropic and civic honors and accolades, including a 2017 induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been named Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News, a Power and Influence Top 50 executive by The NonProfit Times and a Michigan Changemaker by Crain’s Detroit Business. He has co-authored two books: “Troubled Waters,” an account of the Boundary Waters legislative battle in Minnesota, and “Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design,” a biography of his father, a globally renowned architect.
In 1991, John joined Austin Ventures, which became the largest regional capital firm in the US. He served for four years as the firm’s managing partner and led nearly 50 investments in young software companies that created more than $2 billion in value for AV investors. In 2017, he co-founded Elsewhere Partners, a boutique software investment firm focused on bootstrapped companies in non-coastal markets.
In 2008, John founded the Texas Tribune, one of the largest local news organizations established anywhere in the world during the 21stcentury. In 2018, John co-founded the American Journalism Project, a first-of-its-kind venture philanthropy firm dedicated to starting and growing local news organizations. AJP has received over $46 million in commitments from the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, Arnold Ventures, the Emerson Collective, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Christopher Buck, Facebook, and the Democracy Fund.
John serves on the boards of several private software companies as well as The Texas Tribune and The City, a nonprofit news startup in New York. He also serves as a senior advisor to CAVU Venture Partners, an investment firm focused on consumer-packaged goods. He is a graduate of both the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Trinity University, where he graduated first in his class, was named Distinguished Alumnus of 2015, and is a former trustee. He lives in Austin with his wife Erin and their boys Wade and Wyatt.
Robert K. Ross, M.D., is president and chief executive officer for The California Endowment, a health foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians. Prior to his appointment in July 2000, Dr. Ross served as director of the Health and Human Services Agency for the County of San Diego from 1993 to 2000, and Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Philadelphia from 1990 to 1993. Dr. Ross has an extensive background in health philanthropy, as a public health executive, and as a clinician.
Dr. Ross received his undergraduate, Masters in Public Administration and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Ross was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from 1988 to 1990, focusing on urban child health issues. Dr. Ross has been actively involved in community and professional activities at both the regional and national level.
During his tenure at The California Endowment, the foundation has focused on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, reducing childhood obesity, strengthening the capacity of community health centers, improving health services for farm worker and ex offender populations, and strengthening the pipeline for bringing racial and ethnic diversity to the health professions. In the Los Angeles region, he has provided leadership to support the re opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center and the revitalization of Charles Drew University.
Charles Sennott is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Editor of The GroundTruth Project. He is an award-winning correspondent, best-selling author and editor with 30 years of experience in international, national and local journalism. A leading social entrepreneur in new media, Sennott started GroundTruth in 2014 and in 2017 launched the nonprofit organization’s new, local reporting initiative, Report for America.
Reporting on the front lines of wars and insurgencies in at least 20 countries, including the post 9-11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the 2011 Arab Spring, Sennott began his career in local news covering cops, courts and municipal government. Sennott’s deep experience reporting led him to dedicate himself to supporting and training the next generation of journalists to tell the most important stories of our time.
Sennott is also the co-founder of GlobalPost, an acclaimed international news website. Previously, Sennott worked for many years as a reporter at the New York Daily News and then the Boston Globe, where he became Bureau Chief for the Middle East and Europe, and a leader of the paper’s international coverage from 1997 to 2005. Sennott has also served as a correspondent for PBS FRONTLINE and the PBS NewsHour. He has contributed news analysis to the BBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC and others. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Aaron Seybert is managing director of the Social Investment Practice at The Kresge Foundation. He previously served as a social investment officer supporting the American Cities and Detroit Programs at Kresge. He joined the foundation in 2016. Prior to Kresge, he served as executive director at JPMorgan Chase Bank, where he was involved with community development banking focused on New Markets Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credit investing.
He started his career in impact investing at Cinnaire (formerly the Great Lakes Capital Fund) addressing affordable housing, and previously worked with Legal Aid of Central Michigan. He has served on the board of directors for the Michigan Magnet Fund, Lake Trust Credit Union and the Core Cities Strategic Fund advisory board.
A native of Michigan, Aaron earned a bachelor in business administration in corporate finance and accounting from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., and a juris doctorate from the Michigan State University College of Law.
Roxann Stafford is the managing director of the Knight- Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, a $20-million initiative that works to empower local news organizations to build trust with their audiences while producing outstanding journalism and developing new revenue streams that can enable them to reach longterm business sustainability.
Stafford most recently served as Director of Program for Matter in New York, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm grounded in the principles of design thinking that supported early-stage media entrepreneurs. There, she oversaw all aspects of the fund’s accelerator program for early-stage media entrepreneurs. She has worked with local news organizations around the United States and Asia as well as with national outlets such as The New York Times and The Associated Press.
Prior to her time at Matter, Stafford was SecondMuse’s director of design & learning, where she worked on a variety of innovative collaborations including LAUNCH, National Day of Civic Hacking, New York’s Next Top Makers (now Futureworks), Internet Freedom and strategic guidance for developing a sustainable apparel and footwear industry. Before joining SecondMuse, she was a consultant at FSG where she developed strategies, evaluation plans, and implementation plans in Shared Value and Collective Impact. As a Senior Associate at Jump Associates, an innovation and growth strategy firm that specializes in helping businesses discover new opportunities for progress. She worked with visionary organizations, including HP, Target, and the Kellogg Foundation, to identify new markets, reinvent existing categories, and develop new sources of revenue. Stafford continues to be a Guest Lecturer at the Stanford University School of Engineering and d.school. She earned a bachelor of science degree in product design from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Duke University, with concentrations in social entrepreneurship and strategy.
Oversees the overall management and direction of the Central Valley Community Foundation, ensuring that CVCF makes progress every day towards accomplishing our mission: to cultivate smart philanthropy, lead, and invest in solutions that build stronger communities.
Ashley Swearengin is president and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, a charitable foundation serving the six counties of Central California and providing over $100 million in funding to over 650 community benefit organizations over the last decade. Prior to joining CVCF, she served as Mayor of the City of Fresno from 2009 through 2016. As mayor, she implemented substantial changes to improve the delivery of city services, revitalize the downtown and urban core, promote business and job growth, address chronic homelessness, and stabilize the city’s financial position. Before becoming mayor, Ashley led a number of economic development initiatives in the Fresno region, including the Central Valley Business Incubator, Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development, and the Regional Jobs Initiative. She holds MBA and BS degrees from California State University, Fresno.
Aaron is the Director of Economic Development at Accelerator for America, a nonprofit organization focused on scaling and replicating local solutions to matters of economic insecurity. In this role, he assists communities all over the country in attracting and leveraging local governance and private capital in ways that serve those most in need. The Accelerator provides said communities a set of tools, organizing mechanisms and technical assistance to level the playing field between the public and private sectors with the ultimate goal of fostering wealth creation for communities traditionally precluded.
He’s spent the majority of his career in investment banking, where he facilitated equity transactions. More recently, he worked in middle-market private equity before pivoting into the public sector, first as a legislative fellow in the California Senate (focusing on fair business practices and criminal justice) and now with the Accelerator. He’s a graduate of Harvard College and received his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.