Student Debt and Nonprofit Workforce Forum

Friday, October 7, 2016 • Los Angeles

8:30 AM - 1:00 PM 

The Forum on Student Debt and the Nonprofit Workforce was hosted in partnership with The Forum was a blend of practical trainings and tools that can be used by nonprofit employers and employees to manage student debt. It was also be a call to action, offering an opportunity to discuss what's happening nationally and locally on this issue and how the nonprofit sector can engage in the debate. 


8:30 AM: Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00 AM: The View From D.C. and the California Perspective

Student debt is a personal issue and a national crisis. So what are our representatives in Washington, D.C. doing about it? Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15) is a national champion on the issue. We are fortunate to have him with us to share what it feels like to be a Congressman with student debt, how it informs his position, and what he thinks Congress will do to alleviate the student debt crisis in the future. He will also discuss his recently introduced legislation ("Know Your Repayment Options Act" and "Strengthening Forgiveness for Public Servants Act"), and ways we can work to get better debt relief programs implemented quickly.

Following Congressman Swalwell's national overview, we'll discuss the California perspective. This year CalNonprofits conducted a detailed survey of nonprofit employees and employers – and got nearly 1,000 responses! What did we learn about student debt from employees? What solutions did we find in the data? We will briefly discuss the results of our survey, including a look at how California’s nonprofit sector both converges and diverges from national trends in student debt.

10:30 AM: WORKSHOPS (Choose One)
Debt Relief Options Workshop for Nonprofit Employees  

Borrower Packet Available Here

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is the best loan forgiveness program available to anyone working for a nonprofit. Natalia Abrams, Executive Director of Student Debt Crisis, will present this workshop full of useful tools for individuals with student loans. Learn about the different types of student loans, the available debt repayment plans, ways to avoid default, and how to take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. 

Nonprofit Employer Toolkit for Supporting staff with Student Debt

Slides available here

In this workshop, CalNonprofits will unveil a newly developed employer toolkit full of useful, free and low-cost opportunities for nonprofits as employers to support employees with student debt. Learn how to attract and retain talented employees using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, simple steps for improving employee loyalty, and why the economics of student debt are driving staff turnover. This workshop is designed for Executive Directors, Human Resources staff, and supervisors.

12:00 PM: Nonprofit Student Debt Taskforce Meeting (invitation only)

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM: One-on-one consultations with Student Debt Crisis staff members Natalia Abrams and Cody Hounanian (limit 22)

Contact: Christina Dragonetti is a non-profit organization (501c4) dedicated to fundamentally reforming the way in which higher education is paid for in America.



This Forum and the Nonprofit Student Debt Project are made possible by the Trustees’ Philanthropy Fund at Fidelity Charitable, foundations who provide unrestricted support to CalNonprofits including the California Wellness Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation and the Weingart Foundation, and the thousands of nonprofit organizations that are members of CalNonprofits.

The Forum is co-sponsored by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network-LA, the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, San Francisco Human Services Network, Community Partners, Valley Nonprofit Resources, the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA, the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, and Antioch Unversity Los Angeles Master of Arts in Nonproft Management Program.


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Presenter Biographies


Eric Swalwell 220pxEric Swalwell was elected in 2012 to represent California’s Fifteenth Congressional District, which includes a large part of the East Bay. Now in his second term, he’s working hard to bring new energy, ideas, and a problem solving spirit to Congress, with a focus on advancing policies that support equality, opportunity, and security.

Congressman Swalwell serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and believes protecting Americans is Congress’ most solemn duty. He is the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), responsible for the oversight, policy, activities, and budget of the CIA. He also serves on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, where he addresses climate change and advocates for renewable energy.

An up and coming leader in the House, he chairs the Future Forum, a group of 18 young Democratic Members of Congress focused on issues and opportunities for millennial Americans including student loan debt and home ownership. Leader Nancy Pelosi also named him vice chairman of the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee, which helps set the Democratic policy agenda.


Natalia Abrams 220pxNatalia is an education advocate working toward solutions that provide affordable, accessible and quality education for all students seeking a college degree. In 2012, she formed in response to the economic injustices facing students including high tuition increases and lack of financial aid. While serving as SDC’s Executive Director, Abrams has written for the Huffington Post and The Nation. She has appeared on CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS Sunday Morning, Al Jazeera English, HuffPost Live, Blue Nation Review and NBC News Sacramento. Natalia is a frequent speaker on the topic of student loan debt and has been quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, NBC News, Huffington Post, The Nation, NPR, Politico, Reuters, AP, among various other media sources.


cody hounanian photoCody Hounanian is a higher education advocate and the digital director of Student Debt Crisis. Through maintaining the organization’s’ social media presence and email correspondences, he has developed a unique understanding and compassionate perspective towards struggling student loan borrowers. He has spoken on behalf of people with student debt in print and on syndicated radio and has written about the issue for Blue Nation Review. Cody held a leadership position for Congresswoman Lois Capps’ (D- CA 24) successful 2012 campaign, where he began his interest in higher education reform and mobilizing young voters.

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