A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

2024 California Philanthropy Convening on Housing Justice Speakers

<<Return to the main 2024 California Philanthropy Convening on Housing Justice Speakers page

Last updated: 2/12/2024

Amanda Andere

CEO | Funders Together to End Homelessness


Amanda Misiko Andere has spent over fifteen years working in the nonprofit and public sector as a leader committed to racial and housing justice through advocacy for systemic change. Prior to joining Funders Together to End Homelessness as their CEO, she served as the CEO of Wider Opportunities for Women, a national advocacy organization. Currently, she serves as a board member of the United Philanthropy Forum and Equity in the Center. Amanda is a founding member and on the leadership team for the National Racial Equity Working Group on Homelessness and Housing. She also serves on the Leadership Council for the DC Partnership to End Homelessness. As a former Co-Chair of A Way Home America, Amanda is a co-conspirator in their work to end youth and young adult homelessness rooted in racial equity.


Rosie Arroyo

Senior Program Officer, Immigration | California Community Foundation


Rosie Arroyo oversees the foundation’s Immigrant Integration portfolio with the goal of empowering immigrants to thrive civically, economically and socially. This includes overseeing the Los Angeles Justice Fund (LAJF), a $10M public-private partnership between the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, the Weingart Foundation, and CCF.

Widely considered a coalition builder, a change agent, and effective communicator, Arroyo began her career by working at LAUSD under the School Readiness Language Development Program (SRLDP). She then went on to work for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund where she helped lead a national citizenship campaign titled Ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía! included more than 400 organizations nationwide to inform, educate, and motivate over 1 million legal permanent residents to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Arroyo is Board Chair of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), a nonprofit organization that builds the Latina leadership pipeline and champions policies that advance Latinas in California and nationally. In 2019, Arroyo was selected to the California Influencer Series, an effort launched by the Sacramento Bee and CA newspapers to encourage conversations between the public and leaders/influencers about the state’s most pressing public policy challenges impacting Californian’s. Arroyo is a member of the American Bar Foundation’s Network for Justice Advisory Committee, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity Advisory Committee and is a fellow of the 2018 Latina Global Executive Leadership Program.

Arroyo is a graduate from the California State University of Los Angeles. She is the proud daughter of immigrant parents, has 9 siblings and is a mother to a young activist.



Saa'un Bell

Associate Director | Power California


Saa’un Bell (she/her) is the daughter of a Black Alabama Southerner John Fitzgerald Bell and Pilipina-Visayan immigrant Nenita Deladia. Saa’un was born in Angeles City, Philippines and raised in East Long Beach.

Previously, Saa’un organized and developed Black and Brown youth and community college students to transform California’s education system at Californians for Justice (CFJ) for 11 years where she started as an organizer and eventually became Senior Strategy Director. During her time at CFJ she oversaw regional organizing in Oakland and Long Beach, led narrative, policy, and civic engagement campaigns; founded the Shared Story Table for Public Education. She is a highly regarded leader in education justice, campaign, and narrative strategy across California.

Saa’un is a first-generation college graduate with a B.A in Philosophy and minor in Marxist Studies from UC Riverside and is a graduate of Black Organizing Leadership and Dignity’s (BOLD) Directors and Lead Organizer’s 2013 and 2016 cohort. Outside of organizing, Saa’un writes short fiction and comics, fishes jetties and oceans, and is building out a beverage startup called WildSeed that brings food and drink of the Black Diaspora to BIPOC communities.

Her organizing, strategy, and writing are deeply rooted in Eastside Long Beach, her Working Class, Black Southern, and rural Filipino Immigrant roots.

Christa Brown

Associate Director for State Policy and Advocacy | San Francisco Foundation


Christa helps the San Francisco Foundation advance policy change at the local, regional, and state levels. Whether that’s helping move forward ballot initiatives to increase affordable housing in the Bay Area, supporting grantees to advance policy change, or lobbying for state bills that advance economic and racial equity that will benefit all. She works with foundation staff and community-based and grassroots organizations to move forward structural change. 


Sergio Carranza

Executive Director | PUEBLO UNIDO


Sergio Carranza is the founder and Executive Director of Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation (PUCDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the living conditions of farm workers in the Eastern Coachella Valley through technical assistance in leadership development, infrastructure, affordable housing, economic development, and climate resilience. A tireless advocate for farmworker communities for over 20 years, Mr. Carranza is committed to community-driven solutions to uplift these communities from substandard living conditions through focused public policy, planning, and development. He graduated from the Central American Institute of Technology and Chapman University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science.


Carla De Paz

Director of Organizational Strategy | Community Power Collective


Carla De Paz is the daughter of an immigrant single mother from Guatemala that found herself planting roots in Lynwood, CA. She had a humble but joyful upbringing, raised in a household with extended and chosen family who instilled a strong sense of responsibility, community, and lots of dancing. Her passion for organizing flourished in college while volunteering for IDEPSCA at multiple day laborer sites. After graduating with a BA in Political Science and Labor & Workplace Studies from UCLA in 2010, she started organizing nursing homeworkers with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). While at SEIU, she organized over 500 workers to win union representation through National Labor Board Relations elections.

Carla became more interested in land use and housing issues after her family lost their home during the foreclosure crisis. In 2013, she started organizing with the East LA Community Corporation and over a 7 year period she led multiple high profile efforts including the base building work for the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign which won the legalization of street vending in 2019 and securing affordable housing and green space on all Metro-owned land in Boyle Heights. She also played a big part in shaping ELACC’s political orientation towards transformative organizing and movement building, making ELACC a prominent player within the housing justice movement ecosystem.

Unfortunately, after suffering a financial crisis that was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization was no longer able to sustain its organizing programs. In April of 2020, Carla made the decision to lead the separation of ELACC’s organizing work into a new entity, the Community Power Collective (CPC), and now leads CPC’s operations, advocacy and coalition work. She chairs the Organizing Committees for the Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA), the Healthy LA Coalition, and is on the steering committee for Homes For All California.

Carla’s lived experience and learnings in the 12 years of organizing have solidified her identity as a social movement leftist and she hopes to continue building her skill sets as a strategist within CPC and to strengthen CPC’s role as a tool for winning housing and land use justice in Los Angeles. Carla enjoys reading poetry about radical free love, she enjoys summer day dancing to reggaeton, and enjoys Sundays by herself with her plants.


Emily Duma

Program Strategist, Community Ownership for Community Power Fund | Common Counsel Foundation


Emily joined Common Counsel Foundation in July 2022 as Program Strategist for the Community Ownership for Community Power Fund. Prior to this, she worked as the Program Officer for the Catalytic Capital Consortium, managing a grantmaking pool designed to spur learning and market development around catalytic capital to create a more just, inclusive and resilient world. Previously, Emily managed the grantmaking at the Crossroads Fund in Chicago, where all funding decisions were made by community members to support groups fighting for racial, social and economic justice in Cook County. She has a background in community organizing, and over the past decade has supported immigrant parent leadership in fighting for better schools in Chicago, drafted national policy resources around economic justice and community reinvestment at Community Change, and co-founded an intentional community that practiced radical resource sharing in Minneapolis. Emily co-founded Regenerative Finance, a project that worked to shift the economy by transferring control of capital to communities most affected by racial, economic and environmental injustice, and has served on the board of Resource Generation, which organizes young people with access to wealth and class privilege to leverage their resources towards the equitable distribution of land, wealth, and power. She has a Masters in Urban Planning with distinction from Harvard University and a BA in political science and international studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Chione Lucina Muñoz Flegal

Executive Director | Housing California


Chione Lucina Muñoz Flegal is the Executive Director of Housing California. With deep expertise on issues of infrastructure, land use, housing, and environmental policy, she works to promote social, economic, and environmental equity through policy change. Chione has over 20 years of experience building coalitions and leading policy campaigns to improve outcomes for low-income communities and communities of color in California.

Prior to joining Housing California, Chione was a managing director at PolicyLink, where she led a portfolio of initiatives focused on water, climate, housing, transportation, and equitable fiscal policy in California and beyond. Her work has strengthened California’s housing and equity movements, has contributed to significant statewide policy wins, and has resulted in new and expanded public investments in housing and infrastructure. 

Chione has previously worked at Latino Issues Forum where she directed the organization’s environmental health and justice work. She has worked as a consultant for organizations in the United States and abroad including CARE International and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Chione has served on the Board of Directors at several other state and national organizations including Housing CA, TransForm, the California EDGE Coalition, and Emerald Cities. She has been a member of the climate justice working group for the California Natural Resources Agency and the AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee for the Air Resources Board. 

She holds a master’s degree in city planning with a focus on housing and community development and has a BS in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley.


Maria Noel Fernandez

Executive Director | Working Partnerships USA


As Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA, Maria Noel brings more than a decade of successful community, labor, and electoral organizing to Silicon Valley’s movement for a just economy. She is a fierce advocate for racial and economic justice, and her passion is grassroots organizing to build a multi-racial, feminist democracy for all.

Under her leadership, Working Partnerships USA has won campaigns resulting in better wages, working conditions, and access to union jobs for more than 10,000 subcontracted service workers employed on high tech campuses throughout the Valley. Maria Noel was instrumental in crafting and implementing policy campaigns to raise the minimum wage in eight Silicon Valley cities to $15/hr; pass the first-in-the-nation Opportunity to Work policy to increase access to work hours for part-time workers; expand tenant protections including just cause eviction and rent stabilization; and ensure access to affordable, universal healthcare for all.

Maria Noel began her career working for progressive elected officials, including then San Jose Vice-Mayor Cindy Chavez and the former California State Speaker Pro Tempore. She then worked for many years as a community organizer with Sacred Heart Community Service, and eventually joined the team at the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council where she won several regional tax campaigns and ballot measures. She joined Working Partnerships USA in 2012, and as Organizing Director she grew the organization's community organizing and electoral campaign capacity to one of the largest field operations in the region. 

She serves on the boards of PowerSwitch Action, the South Bay AFL-CIO and Movimiento Arte Cultura Latino Americana Board (MACLA). Maria Noel lives in Gilroy with her husband Carlos and their sons, Tadeo and Diago.


Rajib Guha

Director of Program Development | The James Irvine Foundation


Rajib Guha joined the Irvine Foundation as Director of Program Development in November 2019. His role includes identifying and assessing new opportunities for impact, building cross-sector relationships and partnerships, and engaging internal and external stakeholders on the design and execution of pilot projects and potential new initiatives.

Prior to Irvine, Rajib spent six years at the Monitor Institute by Deloitte, where he served as a strategic advisor to a wide range of grantmakers and nonprofits, including New Profit, United Way of New York City, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, ArtPlace America, and City Year.

Rajib began his career as a college counselor at Prep for Prep and a program specialist at the Breakthrough Collaborative. He then joined The Opportunity Network as the organization’s first Director of College Initiatives.

Born and raised in Southern California, Rajib holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, a master’s in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.


Azhar Khanmohamed

Movement Lab Coordinator | Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE)



Chris Ko

Vice President, Impact and Strategy | United Way of Greater Los Angeles


Chris Ko serves as VP, Impact & Strategy for the United Way of Greater LA overseeing its efforts to combine community power, donations, and new solutions to support neighbors in crisis and close the prosperity gap. In his time there, he helped craft the community coalitions to create and pass ballot measures around housing (HHH), homelessness (H), and racial justice (J).

Chris has seen different approaches to social change over the last 20 years working to expand community schools in West Philadelphia and working at a Liberian Refugee Camp Self-Help Initiative in Ghana. He began his time in LA as a policy aide for Mayor Villaraigosa, helping design Bank on LA, which increased access to capital for 50k low-income Angelenos. He was subsequently named a Coro Fellow working on special projects for SEIU 721, KPCC, and LAUSD.

Having grown up in the middle of class and racial divides, he is glad to work in the rich community that is Los Angeles and is in the middle of a quest to visit each of its 88 cities.


Christina Livingston

Statewide Executive Director | ACCE Institute


Christina Livingston is the Executive Director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). She began her organizing career in 2004 when she was hired as a field organizer for Los Angeles ACORN. In 2010 Christina helped form ACCE where she worked for 2 years as Statewide Deputy Director before becoming Executive Director in 2012. In her organizing career Christina has worked on campaigns that addressed equitable infrastructure investment, progressive revenue solutions, housing equity, access to high quality and well-funded public services, corporate accountability, good government, representative voter engagement, and criminal justice. She centers her work at the intersection of racial and economic impacts and is passionate about increasing the voices of people of color, poor folks, and women.


Lydia Lopez

Co-Director for Organizing and Partnerships | California Community Land Trust Network


Lydia Lopez joined the CA CLT Network in 2022, supporting the network’s curriculum, policy, convening, and technical assistance programs to members. Prior to this role, she was Executive Director at La Raza Centro Legal, where she supported access to affordable housing and civil rights through legal programs. She has worked with both tenants and homebuyers, and designed and implemented Habitat for Humanity’s Credit Repair Program, which was launched concurrently in San Francisco (Bayshore neighborhood) and other Bay Area cities.  Lydia has also worked with immigrants seeking asylum and family reunification in the US, and conducted Flores Settlement monitoring of detention conditions at the US/Mexico border, documenting conditions at private for-profit detention centers. She believes in strategic partnerships and consulting Indigenous populations through collaborations that could create a lasting impact by promoting mutual education and change.  She has served on the boards of CSC, La Raza Centro Legal, Centro del Pueblo, and NISGUA, and is currently serving on the board of USSen. Lydia grew up in Guatemala City and Caye Caulker, Belize, and she holds a BA in Political Science from Stanford University and a JD from UC Berkeley School of Law.


Zach Lou

Coalition Manager | California Green New Deal Coalition


Zach is the Director of the California Green New Deal Coalition, a grassroots and EJ-led statewide alliance of over 80 community, labor, climate, and racial justice organizations. He was the lead author for Resilience Before Disaster, a report sponsored by APEN, SEIU, and the BlueGreen Alliance that highlighted models for community resilience and social infrastructure. 


Craig Martinez

Senior Program Manager | The California Endowment


Craig Martinez joined The California Endowment in May 2012 as a program manager tasked with supporting policy and system change efforts to create healthier neighborhoods. Prior to joining The Endowment, Craig served as a health policy advisor in the Majority Health Policy Office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, first under the Chairmanship of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and subsequently under the Chairmanship of Senator Tom Harkin. His legislative portfolio on the HELP Committee included issues relating to public health, disease prevention, health disparities, mental health, HIV/AIDS, and public health preparedness.

Craig received his Bachelor of Science from Stanford University, and holds both a Master of Public Health and a Doctorate in Public Health in child and adolescent health and development from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has also worked in numerous community-based organizations addressing adolescent health concerns including HIV/AIDS, violence prevention, and environmental health.


Jennifer Martinez

Policy Director, Housing Affordability | Chan Zuckerberg Initiative


Dr. Jennifer Martinez is the Policy Director for Housing Affordability at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). Prior to joining CZI, Jennifer was a community organizer for 17 years and worked on campaigns for housing justice, immigrant rights, restorative justice, and quality education. From 2017 to 2021, Jennifer served as the Chief Strategy Officer for PICO California, the largest faith-based community organizing network in California, where she helped lead several statewide and regional campaigns for affordable housing, tenant rights, and tax reform.


Joseph Tomás McKellar

Executive Director | PICO California


Joseph Tomás Mckellar is Executive Director of PICO California, the largest faith-based organizing network in California focused on racial equity and promoting a culture of belongingness. In his role, Joseph provides strategic leadership to 10 multi-faith, multi-racial community organizations representing 450,000 Californians, and accompanies a talented staff team running power building and leadership programs for 2,500 volunteers. He also helps lead PICO’s “Faith Votes” program, which seeks to engage one million more young voters, low-income voters, and voters of color around a vision for a State of Belonging. Joseph guides PICO’s statewide campaigns to transform the criminal justice system, protect and promote immigrant families, increase affordable housing, and create an inclusive economy. Joseph founded and directed Faith in New York and Faith in the Valley in California, nonprofits dedicated to advancing racial, economic, and environmental justice. Joseph previously worked as a Community Organizer in San Diego and Orange County, as an Assistant Teacher with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Boston, and as a Prison Minister in San Diego. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Political Science, with a minor in Biology, from the University of San Diego. Joseph is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Civil Society Fellowship, A Partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.


Blanca Ojeda

Community Organizer | Faith in the Valley


Blanca Ojeda is a Community Organizer with Faith in the Valley where she focuses on developing grassroots leaders to address housing justice issues in Merced and the Central Valley.  Through her community organizing, Blanca has worked with immigrant families and low wage workers for over 5 years. Blanca is a DACA recipient and grew up in an immigrant family that worked in the dairy industry. She got into community organizing  because she realized how DACA came to be. The organizing power that undocumented youth were building created the path to DACA and she wanted to utilize that organizing to have a deep and profound impact in many people’s lives.

She is part of the Faith in the Valley housing justice team, and collaborates with partner organizations in Merced and across the Valley, to empower residents who are most impacted by the housing crisis to use their voices to build power and to make systems and policy change that reflects their lived experiences.  Faith in the Valley is a multi-faith, multi-racial grassroots organization in five counties across California’s Central Valley that builds power among historically excluded communities to act together to advance housing and economic justice and other racial equity issues. The organization is led by BIPOC residents, low-wage workers, immigrants, young people, the formerly incarcerated and others.


Jewel Patterson

Director of Organizing and Programming | Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE)


Jewel Patterson is a Lead Organizer for Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (C.O.P.E.). She joined C.O.P.E. in 2016 where she designed and launched a grassroots organizing and leadership development program for Black youth called R.E.A.L. (Race, Education, ARTivism and Leadership). Through the R.E.A.L. Program and various C.O.P.E. Youth engagements and activities (such as the Youth Artivism Retreat, Black Youth Hangout and Black Radical Unity Hub) C.O.P.E. has raised the consciousness and capacity in youth across the IE, ages 14-29. Throughout her time with C.O.P.E., Jewel has received her Master’s in Counseling, and was recognized by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez-Reyes’ office as a 30 Under 30 honoree for 2020. As a Black, queer feminist community organizer Jewel’s work continues to focus on serving traditionally marginalized communities in the Inland Empire by using organizing and ARTivism.


Jessica Prieto

Program Manager, Public Partnerships | Liberty Hill Foundation


Jessica Prieto was born and raised in unincorporated East Los Angeles, an environmental justice community with a long history of political struggle and community resourcefulness. She received her Master of Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs with a concentration in Community and Economic Development, and Housing in 2019. She received her B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning with a minor in Race and Resistance Studies from San Francisco State University in 2013. She has extensive experience working at the grassroots level on intersecting planning issues and their impact on communities of color, such as housing justice, environmental justice, and transportation equity. As Program Manager of Public Partnerships, Jessica will manage emPOWER program implementation, priorities, and processes and other key public partnerships across the Environmental Justice (EJ) and Housing Justice (HJ) teams.

Prior to Liberty Hill, Jessica was the Community Stability Policy Organizer at East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), leading and supporting multiple anti-displacement policy campaigns in the Southeast Los Angeles communities along the Lower Los Angeles River to address ongoing environmental gentrification resulting from Los Angeles River Revitalization plans. During graduate school she was a Real Estate Development Associate for T.R.U.S.T. South L.A., researching collective stewardship models and supporting the Community Mosaic Limited Equity Housing Cooperative Conversion Pilot Project. Prior to this she was a Research Assistant at USC Environmental Health Centers and a Community Organizer for EYCEJ, focused on the health impacts of families who grew up within the Exide Technologies impact zone. She was also an Environmental Health and Justice Intern at the Liberty Hill Foundation, focusing on the City of L.A.’s Clean Up Green Up campaign. Her community organizing experience began in undergrad over ten years ago, as a Civic Engagement intern at Causa Justa: Just Cause, a housing rights organization based in the Bay Area and as a participant in the Center for Third World Organizing’s Community Action Training in 2012.

Professor Ananya Roy

Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography, UCLA | Founding Director, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy


Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography and The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the founding Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy.

Ananya is a scholar of global racial capitalism and postcolonial development whose research is concerned with the political economy and politics of dispossession and displacement. With theoretical commitments to postcolonial studies, Black studies, and feminist theory, she seeks to shift conceptual frameworks and methodologies in urban studies to take account of the colonial-racial logics that structure space and place. As a researcher, Ananya strives to advance research justice, by which she means accountability to communities directly impacted by state-organized violence. At the very heart of her work is an insistence on the transformation of the public university – through teaching, public scholarship, and community engagement – so that it can be a force for social justice.

Ananya’s work has focused on urban transformations and land grabs as well as on global capital and predatory financialization. Her current research is concerned with “racial banishment,” the expulsion of working-class communities of color from cities through racialized policing and other forms of dispossession. Such work is reflected in her scholarship on property, personhood, and police, which studies policing as a race-making project, as well as in her role as convener of the After Echo Park Lake research collective, which studies displacement in Los Angeles.

Ananya leads a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network on Housing Justice in Unequal CitiesAlong with colleagues at UCLA, Ananya has convened the Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism, which is concerned with the place of racial others in liberal democracy. Situating transnational inquiry and solidarity at the present moment of resurgent white nationalism and xenophobia, the Sanctuary Spaces project challenges Western humanism and foregrounds alternative frameworks of freedom and justice.

Ananya was Editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research from 2016 to 2020. She is the 2020 Freedom Scholar, an award bestowed by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation to social justice leaders and the 2022 recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva.


Phoebe Seaton

Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director| Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability


Phoebe, a native Californian, attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her B.A. She then spent time in Guatemala, working to address human rights violations, and went on to complete her J.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles. Phoebe joined CRLA, Inc. following law school and worked at the organization’s Delano office prior to launching the Community Equity Initiative, a program designed to address critical infrastructure and service deficits in low income, unincorporated communities in California. In 2013, Phoebe co-founded Leadership Counsel with Veronica Garibay. Phoebe is based in Sacramento and leads Leadership Counsel’s state-level policy work.


Jazmin Segura

Director| Fund for An Inclusive California


Jazmin Segura joined the Common Counsel Foundation (CCF) in 2017. As the Director of the Fund for an Inclusive California, she oversees the fundraising, strategy development, and execution of the Fund’s power-building grantmaking priorities for housing justice in California. In her role, she leverages over 15 years of experience in housing, immigrant rights, and social justice movements within the non-profit and philanthropic fields. With a fervent dedication to racial and social justice, Jazmin channels her passion into grassroots organizing, advocacy, and movement building to foster systemic change for low-income families, immigrants, and communities of color. Before joining  CCF, she spearheaded the development and launch of the San Francisco Foundation’s inaugural Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building, bolstering grassroots organizations at the forefront of racial and economic justice issues in the Bay Area. Currently, she is co-chair of the San Joaquin Valley Funders Collaborative.

Previous roles include policy manager at Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) and policy advocate at Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN). Her dedication to organizing and movement-building is deeply rooted in her family’s immigration journey to the United States. Jazmin grew up in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Economy.


Noni Sessions

Executive Director| East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative


Noni Session is a Cultural Anthropologist and the Executive Director of the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, which supports BIPOC and allied communities to finance, purchase, occupy and steward collectively-owned land and housing. As an Oakland native, Noni’s diverse formative, academic and professional background contributes to her unique approach to economic development. Raised by teachers and small business owners, Noni cut her academic teeth on the challenge of equitable economic development.  As a Fulbright-Hays fellow she studied international humanitarian strategies for developing communities globally.  Upon completing her Doctoral work, she helped found several small scale collective civic action networks.  After a run for city council where she garnered more than 43% of the District 3 vote, Noni saw a clear path to ameliorating resource disparities in her West Oakland community-- building more cooperative networks and galvanizing opportunities for collective economic action.


Alexandra Suh

Executive Director| Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA)


Alexandra C. Suh, Ph.D., is Executive Director of KIWA, a multiracial worker center in Los Angeles. She is also Co-President of the California Coalition for Worker Power and Secretary-Treasurer of the California Restaurant and Retail Workers’ Union. She serves as a Commissioner for the Housing Authority for the City of LA and on the executive board of the National Immigration Law CenterFounded in 1992, KIWA organizes immigrant workers in the restaurant and retail industries, advances policy for workers’ and renters’ rights, builds civic power, and unites people for racial and economic justice. KIWA is on the steering committee of the United to House LA Coalition




Susan Thomas

President | Melville Charitable Trust


Susan K. Thomas is President of the Melville Charitable Trust where she oversees the Trust’s grantmaking strategy, philanthropic partnerships and administration. Formerly the Trust’s Program Director, Susan led the foundation’s housing and racial equity efforts for five years, while managing a state and national portfolio of grants supporting solutions to homelessness. Susan has been instrumental in the creation of Funders for Housing and Opportunity, a national non-partisan, cross-sector funder collaborative focused on tackling the housing affordability crisis by supporting advocacy, narrative change work, and efforts to scale effective practices at the intersection of housing, health, economic mobility, and education. While at the Trust, she was also selected to participate in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Fellowship program targeting leaders working to improve outcomes for children, families, and communities. Her experience as a Casey Fellow has been instrumental in helping the Trust develop a targeted grantmaking strategy that focuses on ending homelessness for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

Prior to joining the Trust, Susan was Project Officer for Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, where she was responsible for leading “Unsheltered No More!,” an initiative to dramatically reduce street homelessness that placed over 1,000 homeless men, women, and children into permanent housing. As the former president of Providence Consulting Group, she helped launch a statewide foundation to assist foster families and co-chaired an effort for the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Atlanta Housing Authority to rehouse 420 families as part of a major HOPE VI redevelopment project. Susan is a former Vice President of Community Investment and Area Development at the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Prior to her nonprofit career, she worked for 15 years in the areas of accounting, management consulting, and strategic planning. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Maryland.


Showing 1 reaction

We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or email.