Who We Are: Board
Our board of directors represent foundations and grantmaking programs addressing a wide range of community issues across the United States.
Board of Directors
General Service Foundation
Dimple Abichandani joined the General Service Foundation in August 2015 as the Executive Director, bringing two decades of experience advancing social justice as an advocate, funder and educator. She was previously the Executive Director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law, and the founding program officer for the Security & Rights Collaborative at the Proteus Fund. As an attorney and program director at Legal Services NYC, Dimple founded a language access project and represented immigrants and low-wage workers. Dimple earned a JD at Northeastern University School of Law, and a BA in English with Honors at the University of Texas at Austin.
Program Officer, Special Initiatives & Partnerships
Open Society Foundations
New York, NY
Evan Bacalao is a program officer with the Special Initiatives and Partnerships unit of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs, working with multi-issue advocacy and civic engagement partners. Prior to joining Open Society in 2015, Evan was a senior director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, where he led the organization’s civic engagement department, promoting U.S. citizenship, mobilizing Latino voters, and protecting voter rights through direct services, original research, and capacity-building initiatives. Under his leadership, the department significantly expanded its investment in national coalition work, regional outreach campaigns, and regranting to local nonprofits.
Evan joined NALEO in 2005 as research associate in the organization’s policy, research, and advocacy department. He wrote public reports and testimony based on demographic and electoral participation data, and assisted with advocacy efforts such as the Voting Rights Act reauthorization of 2006. Prior to joining the nonprofit world, Evan was a political fundraiser. He is a proud naturalized citizen and a cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California.
Betty Balli Torres
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Betty Balli Torres has led the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, the largest Texas-based funder for legal services to the poor, since October 2001. She started her career as a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Central Texas in 1987. Subsequently, she has held various direct service and administrative public interest positions: executive director of Laredo Legal Aid Society, Inc.; legal director of Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas; managing attorney of the Austin office of Legal Aid of Central Texas; and staff attorney at Advocacy, Inc. in the Rio Grande Valley. Betty is a past president of the National Association of IOLTA Programs. She serves on the two national boards of Management Information Exchange (MIE) and Pro Bono Net. She is also secretary to the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas and on the Board of Directors of the Austin Tenants' Council. Betty is a member of the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force and a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, Austin Bar Association, and American Bar Association.
President & CEO
The Simmons Foundation
Amanda Cloud is president and CEO of The Simmons Foundation in Houston, Texas. Along with her work at the Foundation, she is active in the community, serving locally on the board of directors of One Voice Texas and Our Global Village, the executive committee of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, and the advisory board for the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. In addition to being a graduate of Leadership Houston, Amanda serves on committees for regional and national philanthropic associations. She earned a BA in political science from The University of Houston and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Texas A&M University. Amanda is a native Houstonian.
Leslie Dorosin, Treasurer
The Grove Foundation
Los Altos, CA
Leslie Dorosin is the co-executive director at The Grove Foundation, where she has worked since 2005. Prior to that, she was a senior manager at Intel Corporation working primarily in Finance, Venture Capital, and Human Resources. As an active member of GCIR’s California Immigrant Integration Initiative, Leslie has played a leadership role in the areas of naturalization and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). She also brings extensive experience in evaluation. She has a BA in Economics from UC Berkeley and an MBA from UCLA.
Efrain Escobedo, Secretary
Vice President, Education and Immigration
California Community Foundation
Los Angeles, CA
Efrain Escobedo is the vice president in charge of education and immigration programs at California Community Foundation in Los Angeles, California. Prior to joining CCF, he was the manager of governmental and legislative affairs for the Registrar of Voters in Los Angeles County, the largest election jurisdiction in the nation with more than 4.5 million registered voters. Efrain earlier served as senior director of civic engagement for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, where he led the development of innovative voter contact strategies and technologies that have helped to engage more than one million young, newly registered, and infrequent Latino voters across the country. He earned his BA in American studies and ethnicity from the University of Southern California and is a recent graduate of the Los Angeles County Executive Leadership Program.
James Gore, Co-Chair
Program Officer, Social Justice and Equity
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
James Gore, program officer for Social Justice and Equity at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, oversees grantmaking on a wide range of issues, including civil and human rights, anti-death penalty and criminal justice reform, immigration, race relations and racial equity, women’s reproductive rights, sexual assault, domestic violence, and adolescent pregnancy. Prior to coming to the Foundation, James served as a program director with One Economy Corporation, a Washington, DC-based multi-national nonprofit that focuses on efforts to bring broadband access, online content, and technology resources to low-income families. James also spent eight years with the Winston-Salem Foundation as a program officer and donor services officer. In addition to his grantmaking work at the Foundation, he helped create the Black Philanthropy Initiative. James received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Yale University.
Woods Fund Chicago
Grace Hou was appointed president of the Woods Fund Chicago in February 2012. The Fund focuses its funding on projects that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism. Grace’s career has been dedicated to systems change improvement through public policy development and implementation, social services provision, community organizing and engagement, and now, philanthropy.
Prior to joining the Woods Fund, from 2003 to 2012, Grace served as the assistant secretary at the Illinois Department of Human Services. During her time with the state, she was a key player in the creation and implementation of the state’s Immigrant Integration New American’s Executive Order. Grace earlier served as the executive director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association. She is the chair of the Illinois Human Services Commission and a board member of Chicago Public Media, Forefront, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Latino Community Foundation of Colorado
Carlos Martinez is the executive director of the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, an initiative of the Rose Community Foundation, in Denver, Colorado. Carlos previously served a CEO of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, held multiple executive director positions, and led the transformation of several social service and arts organizations in California and Boston. In grantmaking, he served as vice president of community investment for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and program officer at the James Irvine Foundation. Currently, he is on the Wells Fargo Community Advisory Board for Colorado, serves as a board member of the Foothills Art Center, and is an honorary board member of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado. Carlos holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he also did graduate work in gerontology.
The Chicago Bar Foundation
Dina Merrell has served as the associate director at The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) since October 2004. The CBF brings the legal community together to improve access to justice for people in need and make the legal system more fair and efficient for everyone. In her role as Associate Director, Dina oversees and directs the CBF’s grants program and other programmatic work, including court-based efforts and immigration partnerships. In addition, she oversees the administrative operations of the CBF, with a lead role in directing finance and audit, human resources and other key operational activities. Prior to joining the CBF, Dina served as Director of the American Bar Association Center for Pro Bono and as Counsel to the ABA Commission on Loan Repayment and Forgiveness. Earlier in her career, Dina served as Special Counsel to the Guardian of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and as a Staff Attorney at Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. Dina is active in Chicago’s nonprofit community and has served in many volunteer leadership roles, including currently serving as Board Secretary of Links Hall, a Chicago organization that incubates and supports artistic innovation, and numerous committees and work groups focused on access to justice, immigration and grantmaking. Dina graduated with honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law and earned a B.S. from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).
Program Director, Promising Futures, Education and Human Justice
The New York Community Trust
New York, NY
Shawn Morehead manages the Education and Human Justice grantmaking programs at The New York Community Trust. She also leads the Trust’s Fund for New Citizens, a funder collaborative focused on integrating immigrants into the City’s economic and civic life, and is Co-Chair of the Donors’ Education Collaborative, which supports research, advocacy, and organizing to improve the City’s public schools. Prior to coming to the Trust, Shawn collaborated on recommendations to the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education to improve services for students with disabilities and prior to that was the Litigation Director at Advocates for Children of New York, where she managed a docket of systemic reform cases concerning education and civil rights on behalf of New York City public school students. Shawn received her J.D. from Stanford Law School and clerked for the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, then Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York. Before law school, she taught middle school special education in Shreveport, Louisiana.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Robby Rodriguez is a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he helps guide investments in the areas of education, health, economic security, racial equity and community engagement. Prior to joining the Kellogg foundation, he was a programme executive at the Atlantic Philanthropies. He cut his teeth as a community organizer, working on issues such as youth development, corporate accountability, environmental health and indigenous rights. During his six years as the Executive Director of the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), Robby helped the organization achieve key policy changes related to economic development and environmental protection at the state and local level. He has also been a part of national and international social movements linked to ending racial discrimination and economic inequality. Robby received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of New Mexico, and has co-authored a book titled, “Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership.”
Associate Director, Policy Reform and Advocacy
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Laura Speer is the Associate Director for Policy Reform and Advocacy at the Annie E Casey Foundation and has primary responsibility for the National KIDS COUNT Project. Laura is also a key member of the federal policy team at the foundation and manages a portfolio focused on national policy research and advocacy with a special emphasis on racial equity policy and policies impacting immigrant families. Having spent a number of years doing state- and local-level child advocacy work, Laura is now a key liaison and resource person for the KIDS COUNT network of state advocates in the US as well as a growing number of child advocates in Latin America interested in Data Based advocacy. Laura has a BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Masters in Public Administration from New York University.
Ted Wang, Co-Chair
Director, US Program
New York, NY
Ted Wang is the director of Unbound Philanthropy's United States Program, focused on supporting immigration policies and practices that promote a fair and just society. Before joining the Unbound Philanthropy staff in 2011, Ted worked as a public policy consultant, advising a mix of foundations, policy organizations, and elected officials. Prior to consulting, he worked for 14 years in the civil rights community, holding leadership positions at Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ted litigated discrimination and voting rights cases and drafted local and state laws promoting immigrant rights, racial justice, and small business development. Ted holds a BA from Reed College and a JD from Yale Law School.
Senior Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning
New York, NY
Luna Yasui is a program officer on Ford Foundation’s Youth Opportunity and Learning team. Her work supports the next generation of social justice leaders and organizations with a particular emphasis on people of color, women, LGBT people, immigrants and low-income communities. Luna previously worked at the Open Society Foundations, where she managed a portfolio focused on gender justice, LGBT rights, and the rights of lower-wage workers. She earlier served as an advocate and attorney at a number of social justice organizations, including as associate director and policy director at Chinese for Affirmative Action. Prior to that, she served as a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid and as staff attorney with the Immigrant Day Labor Project of the National Employment Law Project. Luna earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Law, where she was a public interest fellow. She graduated from Brown University with a concentration in political science.