CalNonprofits Articles

Keynote Speaker

Alicia Garza is an organizer, writer, and freedom dreamer living and working in Oakland, CA. She is the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women.

She is also the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, a national organizing project focused on combatting anti-Black state sanctioned violence. Alicia's work challenges us to celebrate the contributions of Black queer women's work within popular narratives of Black movements, and reminds us that the Black radical tradition is long, complex and international. Her activism reflects organizational strategies and visions that connect emerging social movements without diminishing the specificity of the structural violence facing Black lives.

Alicia has been the recipient of numerous awards for her organizing work, including the Root 100 2015 list of African American achievers and influencers between the ages of 25 and 45, and was featured in the Politico 50 guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2015.

Panelists and Workshop Leaders

Orson Aguilar photoOrson Aguilar is President of the Greenlining Institute, a leading voice fighting redlining by advocating for greenlining policies in the economy, environment, health, energy, voting and telecommunications. His op-eds on diverse topics are regularly featured in small and large newspapers including the New York Times and the Huffington Post.

Nancy Berlin  photoNancy Berlin is CalNonprofits’ Policy Director, where she leads strategy development and policy campaigns advocating with state and county legislators and administrators. Nancy is the former director of the California Partnership and Project Coordinator for the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, and works in the CalNonprofits Los Angeles office. She is well known to the nonprofit community for her leadership in Sacramento and throughout California. Nancy was honored with the Outstanding Public Citizen of the Year Award from the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Elizabeth Bluestein photoLiz Bluestein is Vice President and General Counsel at Public Counsel where she leads their nonprofit practice. She also oversees operations and serves as their legal counsel. Before 2009, Liz was the Directing Attorney of Public Counsel’s Community Development Project, representing community-based nonprofits. She is also an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School where she teaches a nonprofit tax and transaction clinic.

Kim Carter photoKim Carter is the Founder and Executive Director of the Time for Change Foundation, a large multi-service nonprofit in San Bernardino. Motivated by her own experiences as a formerly incarcerated woman, Kim made it her mission to help women and children move from homelessness and recidivism to self-sufficiency. Today she is a powerful voice for women who bear the scars of poverty, homelessness, and incarceration.

vera de vera photoVera de Vera is the California Community Foundation’s Director of Nonprofit Sustainability and manages programs to build the adaptive leadership and sustainability capabilities of its grantees. Prior to joining the foundation in 2005, Vera worked for a private foundation and a real estate trade association supporting partnerships between nonprofits, local governments and private industry to increase affordable housing opportunities for working families. A self-described “nonprofit cheerleader," she has served as a volunteer and board member for a number of Los Angeles nonprofits. 

Michele Dilworth photoMichele Dilworth is Director of Foundation Center West, where she is responsible for elevating and expanding the reach of Foundation Center across the western region by building partnerships and strategies that help to strengthen services to the social sector. Michele has 20+ years of experience raising brand profiles, building teams and contributing to the success of both private and nonprofit organizations. She began her career in high tech product development and marketing before transitioning to the nonprofit sector where she has worked in the arts, social services and global affairs.

Cynthia Duenas photoCynthia Duenas is the Executive Director of Center for Human Services, a large, local non-profit organization serving over 20,000 youth and families annually in Stanislaus County. She has been with the agency since 1997, serving in both mid-level and executive leadership positions. Cindy has over 30 years experience providing behavioral health services and leading organizations in implementing a variety of family strengthening programs and activities. In addition to her role as Co-Chair of the Northern San Joaquin Family Resource Center Network, she is a member of the Stanislaus County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council and the Community Corrections Partnership, and a sector leader for the Stanislaus County Focus on Prevention Initiative. Cindy is a member of the CalNonprofits Board of Directors.

Rosemary Fai  photoRosemary Fei is a principal at the law firm Adler & Colvin. Rosemary is a nationally recognized leader and to-the-point speaker on nonprofit issues, with an emphasis on political advocacy and nonprofit governance. Rosemary has been a general business lawyer, a Federal election law compliance officer, budget director for the Dukakis Presidential campaign and an attorney in the U.S. Department of State. Rosemary is a member of the CalNonprofits Board of Directors.

jennifer fearing photoJennifer Fearing proudly represents CalNonprofits and eight other leading nonprofit organizations in Sacramento as a registered lobbyist. After working a decade as an economist for a small consulting firm in Los Angeles and Sacramento, she transitioned into nonprofit advocacy spending ten years with The Humane Society of the United States. While there she ran the successful Proposition 2 ballot campaign in 2008 and since that time has helped build key relationships and raise her clients’ profile while pursuing more than a hundred positive legislative and regulatory outcomes. Her opinion pieces have been published in every major California newspaper and she is frequently interviewed by local, state and national media. Jennifer holds a BA from UC Davis and a masters from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Wendy Garen photoWendy Garen is President and CEO of the Parsons Foundation, a "quiet leader" in Southern California philanthropy. Wendy was a founding staff member of the children’s nonprofit Crystal Stairs, currently serves on the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families, and is an appointee of Governor Brown on California Volunteers. Wendy is also Board Chair of Southern California Grantmakers.

A Gaspar Milanovic photoAnji Gaspar-Milanovic is the Director of Grants and Professional Development for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Anji directs the Organizational Grant Program, Community Impact Arts Grant Program, Arts Internship Program, professional development, and special initiatives to increase the capacity of the arts sector. Prior to the Arts Commission, she worked in development for Saint Joseph Ballet and as Bilingual Public Information Officer for the American Red Cross of Orange County.

Eric Gorovitz 110pxEric Gorovitz is a principal at the law firm of Adler & Colvin. He has extensive experience in lobbying, legislative drafting, policy development and media advocacy, and has helped nonprofits and foundations across the country to understand the federal tax rules governing their advocacy activities. He has represented clients regarding nonprofit and foundation formation and governance, compliance with federal tax law, public policy advocacy, and the intersection of tax and election law.

Geoff Green 220pxGeoff Green is CEO of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, where he initiated their nationally recognized campaign to provide free tuition to all Santa Barbara high school graduates. Prior to joining SBCC, Geoff was executive director of the Fund for Santa Barbara where he earned a reputation as an innovative and progressive grantmaker. Geoff currently leads the CalNonprofits Board of Directors as Chair.

Marqueece Harris Dawson photoMarqueece Harris-Dawson is the Los Angeles Councilmember from the 8th District, and a long-time community organizer in South Los Angeles. Prior to his election, Marqueece served as the President and CEO of the progressive nonprofit Community Coalition. In their endorsement, the LA Times said, "He is rooted in community activism, but his record, and that of the coalition, demonstrates that he understands city government and how to make it work."

Tania Ibanez photoTania Ibañez is the Senior Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Charitable Trust Section of the California Attorney General's Office. As the Section head, she leads a team of lawyers, auditors, and paralegal assistants in Los Angeles and San Francisco who investigate and bring appropriate legal actions for losses of charitable assets through fraud, diversion, self-dealing transactions, excessive compensation, waste and mismanagement. She also supervises the work of the Registrar of the Registry of Charitable Trusts located in Sacramento. This year her office partnered with CalNonprofits to develop the 2016 Nonprofit Compliance Checklist.

Kim Klein  photoKim Klein is a partner at Klein and Roth Consulting and an internationally known and beloved speaker and writer on taxes as well as fundraising; her book Reliable Fundraising in Unreliable Times won the McAdam Book Award in 2010. Her classic text, Fundraising for Social Change, now in its seventh edition, is widely used in the field and in university degree programs. Kim is a member of the CalNonprofits Board of Directors.

Colleen Lazanich 220pxColleen Lazanich is the new CEO of CalNonprofits Insurance Services — a full-service insurance broker providing health insurance, workers comp, and property/casualty insurance to more than 800 California nonprofits. She has more than 25 years of experience across the insurance field, and brings an expert, energetic and warm approach to this too-often overlooked topic (despite the fact that insurance is typically a nonprofit's third biggest expense).

Margarita Luna photoMargarita Luna is Program Manager for the Eastern Coachella Valley under the California Endowment's 10-year Building Healthy Communities initiative, where she manages a grant portfolio focused on improving community health through community engagement in policy/advocacy and systems change. Prior to joining The Endowment, she served as a Keck-Vivian Weinstein Child Advocacy Fellow and Senior Social Worker for Public Counsel, Pedro Zamora Fellow with AIDS ACTION, and many other positions advancing the health and well-being of the most underserved.  

Noah Maier photoNoah Maier is the Manager of Donor Engagement at ACLU of Northern California. As a fundraiser for political campaigns as well as nonprofits, he has a unique perspective on individual giving and donors from a wide variety of economic, racial, age and gender backgrounds.

jan masaoka photoJan Masaoka is CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) and is a leading writer and thinker on nonprofit organizations with particular emphasis on boards of directors, business planning, and the role of nonprofits in society. Her books include Best of the Board Café, Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, and The Nonprofit Guide to HR. She has been named eight times as one of the “Fifty Most Influential People” in the nonprofit sector nationwide. As a volunteer she serves on Independent Sector’s Policy Committee.

David Mermin photoDavid Mermin is a partner at Lake Research Partners and heads the firm’s Bay Area office. David is a pollster, market researcher, and strategy advisor who has worked with political candidates, foundations, labor unions, nonprofits, and ballot measure campaigns. He is an astute researcher who has worked on issues from voting rights and immigration to financial reform and nonprofit overhead.

Holly Mitchell photoHolly Mitchell is a State Senator representing California’s 30th Senate District. Senator Mitchell is the founder of the Senate Select Committee on Women and Inequality and chairs the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. All of the 49 bills Ms. Mitchell has delivered to the Governor’s desk during her five years in the Legislature have been signed into law. Her nonprofit background at Crystal Stairs and her outspoken leadership have already made her a legend.

MANUEL PASTOR 220pxDr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII), and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC. Recognized for his work at the intersection of the academy and activism, he received the Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year Award from the Liberty Hill Foundation for his many research partnerships with social justice organizations. His current research is looking at the last several decades of economic, social, and environmental transformations in California – and what they can tell us about the road ahead for the U.S.

Alberto Retana photoAlberto Retana is the President and CEO of Community Coalition. Alberto began his career at Community Coalition as a community organizer leading the organization to major victories in advancing racial, economic and food justice and education equity. From 2009 to 2011, Alberto worked for the Obama administration as the Director of Community Outreach for the Department of Education, organizing the Department’s first national Youth Summit.

Kris Sinclair photoKris Sinclair is retired executive director of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) and has recently been elected Executive Director Emeritus, the first such designation in ACSO’s history. Before being hired in 1985, Sinclair was president of the Santa Rosa Symphony League and then on its Board of Directors in the 1980s. She moved ACSO World Headquarters to Sacramento in 1987. Sinclair understood what the membership needed from its service organization and built ACSO’s services and programs accordingly. Kris is a member of the CalNonprofits Board of Directors.

Latonya Slack 110px 2Latonya Slack, an executive coach and facilitator, is principal of Slack Global Consulting, assisting individuals and organizations with planning and navigating critical decisions. As Senior Program Officer at the James Irvine Foundation, and executive director of the California Black Women’s Health Project, she became known for her thoughtful insights. She serves on the Board of Directors of CalNonprofits.

Raphael Sonenshein photoRaphael J. Sonenshein is the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles and Director of the PBI Poll. The Pat Brown Institute’s mission is to promote civic and community engagement for an inclusive and informed public policy. An insightful and fiery speaker, Raphael has taught political science at CSU Fullerton and served as its Chair of the Division of Politics, Administration, and Justice. He has authored three books, including Politics in Black and White: Race and Power in Los Angeles, which received the Ralph J. Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association.

Arnie Sowell photoArnie Sowell is currently the Vice President of California Policy for NextGen Climate. At NextGen Climate, Arnie helps to develop and coordinate California policy priorities, including their work on climate change, income inequality, civic engagement, and environmental justice. Prior to joining NextGen, Arnie spent almost two decades as the Policy Director in the California Assembly Speaker's Office -- having worked for 5 Speakers. During his tenure as Policy Director, Arnie’s bill and budget responsibilities focused on a range of local, state, and federal program, budget, legislative and regulatory issues, including the home foreclosure crisis, climate change, renewable energy, the water bond, and veterans issues.

Gene Takagi 110pxGene Takagi is the managing attorney of NEO Law Group and is contributing editor of the Nonprofit Law Blog. Gene also penned CalNonprofits’ popular Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a California Nonprofit. He is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and a recipient of multiple awards for his work. Gene currently serves on CompassPoint’s board and on Independent Sector’s Policy Committee, and frequently volunteers his expertise and time to helping nonprofits by writing and advising CalNonprofits on legislative and regulatory matters.

Phil Ting photoPhil Ting, a State Assemblymember, represents the 19th Assembly District in northern California. Phil currently chairs the important Assembly Committee on Budget and is a leading voice for education reform, reinvestment and equal rights for all Californians. He is past executive director of the Asian Law Caucus as well as San Francisco Assessor.

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