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

Betty Balli Torres, Co-Chair & Executive Committee Chair
Leslie Dorosin, Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair
Efrain Escobedo, Secretary
Ted Wang, Co-Chair & Governance Committee Chair

Board of Directors

Evan Bacalao

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.

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Betty Balli Torres, Co-Chair & Executive Committee Chair

Executive Director
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Austin, TX

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.

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Cathy Cha

Vice President, Programs
Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
San Francisco, CA

Cathy Cha is vice president of programs at the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, where she manages the Fund's efforts to promote rights and opportunities for immigrants to become fully engaged citizens. She will become president of the Fund in January 2019. Prior to joining the Fund, Cathy served as a program officer for Community Economic Development at the Hyams Foundation in Boston and was project manager at the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation in San Francisco. She also has worked for ICF Consulting, the City of Oakland, and the United Way in Seattle. Cathy holds an MA in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Psychology from the University of Washington, Seattle.

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Amanda Cloud

President & CEO
The Simmons Foundation
Houston, TX

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.

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Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter

Vice President of Initiatives and Public Policy
Columbia, SC
 

Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter is Vice President of Initiatives and Public Policy for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. She designs and manages the foundation’s organizational strategy and mission effectiveness, ensuring community engagement and impact, as well as leading diversity and inclusion work statewide. Stephanie directs and leads two statewide initiatives, the Kinship Care Initiative and an Immigrant Families Initiative. She also responsible for developing and implementing an advocacy agenda while convening key stakeholders to address needed changes in systems that impact families experiencing poverty statewide. Stephanie joined the Foundation in 2009.

Stephanie serves on the regional Board of Trustees of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of South Carolina as a Council on Social Work Minority Clinical Fellow a Masters of Social Work from the University of Minnesota as a Child Welfare Scholar (1999). Stephanie is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach, a graduate of the Spring Midlands Diversity Leaders Initiative, and a Riley Fellow (2015). She is a Licensed Master Social Work professional with more than twenty years of experience across the nonprofit, social service, health, educational and philanthropic sector. Stephanie was adopted as a toddler from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity orphanage in India and became a naturalized citizen at age ten. 

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Leslie Dorosin, Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair

Co-Executive Director
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.

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Efrain Escobedo, Secretary

Vice President, Civic Engagement and Public Policy
California Community Foundation
Los Angeles, CA

Efrain Escobedo is the vice president in charge of civic engagement and public policy 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.

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James Gore

Program Officer, Social Justice and Equity
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
Salem, NC
 

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.

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Grace Hou

President
Woods Fund Chicago
Chicago, IL

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.

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Irene Lee

Director, Family Economic Success Unit
Baltimore, MD
 

Irene Lee is the director of the Family Economic Success unit in the Center for Community and Economic Opportunity at The Annie E. Casey Foundation. She also oversees the foundation’s grantmaking on strengthening vulnerable refugee and immigrant families and career pathways anchored in the integrated basic education and skill training program. Irene has been a member of the Foundation’s Management Committee and Social Investments Committee since 2004. She has more than two decades of experience in philanthropy, including holding positions at the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation and The Cleveland Foundation. Her areas of expertise include housing and community development, community capacity building, children of immigrants, and immigrant economic integration. Irene is the chair of the Maryland Adult Learning Advisory Council, a member of the task force for performance-based funding in adult education for Maryland, and serves as an appointee of Governor Martin O’Malley on the Maryland Council for New Americans. She has previously served on the Task Force on Remittances of the Inter-American Dialogue and the National Advisory Council for Mayor Bloomberg’s “We Are New York” project, among other boards.

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Carlos Martinez

Executive Director
Latino Community Foundation of Colorado
Denver, 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.

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Dina Merrell

Associate Director
The Chicago Bar Foundation
Chicago, IL

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). 

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Shawn Morehead

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.

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Frank Sanchez

Executive Director
The Needmor Fund
Toledo, OH

Frank Sanchez is executive director of The Needmor Fund, a private family foundation based on Toledo, Ohio. He has an extensive career over the past 40 years as a community organizer, public policy advocate, and foundation leader. He has played a role in the development of a broad array of community organizations, public policies, and funding initiatives. Frank also has helped co-found and establish 14 non-­profit organizations including primary health care clinics, legal service organizations, community development corporations, community organizations, and a private foundation. In addition, he has served as a trustee on five foundation boards and been a leader in foundation affinity groups including Neighborhood Funders Group, and National Network of Grantmakers. He currently serves on the boards and steering committees of the Center for Community Change, New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Grantmakers for Southern Progress, Alliance for Peace and Justice, and Funders Committee for Civic Participation. Frank has received a number of individual and lifetime achievement awards for his commitment to civil rights and social justice, including an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of New Mexico for his contributions to voting rights, community organizing, philanthropy, and public service in New Mexico and the Southwest. His personal papers are archived at the Center for Southwest Research, UNM Libraries.

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Molly Schultz Hafid

Assistant Director
Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock
Manhasset, NY

Molly Schultz Hafid is the assistant director at the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, where she is responsible for the Democratic Participation, Civil and Constitutional Rights and Community Organizing program areas. Prior to the Veatch Program, she worked as the Director of Grantmaking Programs at the Jewish Fund for Justice, where she managed a portfolio that included grantmaking to community organizing and advocacy groups, redevelopment and recovery grants in the Gulf Coast region (following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation (a Ford Foundation initiative), and management of the individual donor-advised fund program. Molly has also worked as a program manager of Strategic Partnerships at the Jewish Funders Network and as the Acting Deputy Director of the North Star Fund. She has held positions as a director, grantmaker, and development professional for nonprofit organizations in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Vermont, and Ohio. Molly holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Literature from Antioch College and an MPA degree in Public and Nonprofit Management from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Molly’s research interest is the role of charitable capital flows in building civil society in the Middle East and North Africa. She recently completed a research fellowship at the American University in Cairo.

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Ted Wang, Co-Chair & Governance Committee Chair

Director, US Program
Unbound Philanthropy
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.

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Luna Yasui

Senior Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning
Ford Foundation
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.

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