August 10, 2020
Oakland, CA – Akonadi Foundation brings policy and philanthropy leader Cecilia Chen aboard as the organization’s first Chief Strategy Officer to further its mission of supporting movements to end the criminalization of Black youth and youth of color in Oakland.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Cecilia to the Akonadi family,” said Lateefah Simon, president of Akonadi Foundation. “She is a proven leader in seeking justice for communities of color in the Bay Area, and has played a critical role in ensuring that philanthropy centers equity, policy and systems change at the core of its practice.”
As Chief Strategy Officer, Chen will play a leading role in strategy development across Akonadi’s program areas and implementation of Akonadi’s five-year initiative, All in For Oakland. In addition, Chen will help analyze local, regional and state policies and system practices that impact communities of color in Oakland with an eye toward identifying opportunities for reform.
“It is an honor to join Akonadi Foundation at a critical moment for racial justice, Black-led organizing and movement building and our democracy,” said Chen. “Philanthropy has a unique role to play in addressing racism and anti-Blackness within our systems, communities and institutions and I am excited to support Akonadi’s commitment to building a racially just Oakland.”
Chen comes to Akonadi with policy experience in both the nonprofit and public sectors. Most recently as Northern California Grantmakers’s first Public Policy Director, she marshaled the resources of the network and its members to preserve benefits and protect immigrant families, establish a unified grantmaking pool for a fair and accurate Census, file Philanthropy California’s first Amicus Brief to halt the addition of a question about citizenship to the upcoming Census, and endorse NCG’s first ballot initiative to reclaim billions in lost revenue for schools and communities. Previously, as Deputy Attorney General with the California Attorney General’s Office, she advanced statewide efforts to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect. Chen has also led multi-sector coalitions to address the far-reaching impacts of childhood trauma and served as the community lawyer for a nationally-recognized youth-led anti-discrimination campaign.
About Akonadi Foundation