To my beloved community,
Five years ago, I joined an organization that was, and continues to be, one of the leading funders in the movement for racial justice. While other institutions were still figuring out their commitment to the movement and people who were fighting for our collective liberation, Quinn and Wayne were paving the way in the field — urging funders to listen, trust and fund Black and people of color-led movements to win.
Over the last five years, we have been able to accomplish so much together. Today, Akonadi continues to be dedicated to supporting the powerful social change movements that fight everyday to eliminate structural racism. From ending the criminalization of youth of color and police reform to ensuring that Oakland can be a beacon for racial justice, we have seen time and time again that it is thanks to the courage of those on the frontlines that a better future for us all is possible. And, with over $3 million in grants through our All in for Oakland and So Love Can Win Fund each year, Akonadi Foundation continues to invest audaciously in people of color-led organizing, culture-making and movement-building to ignite and advance a radical collective vision of freedom and racial justice.
It has been a privilege to lead this work, and I look forward to continuing to be part of the Akonadi family. When it comes to walking the walk, Quinn and Wayne are it. As Quinn wrote, my partnership with them has come full circle – from being a grantee, to serving as the President to now being the third board member in the foundation’s 20-year history. I am committed to a seamless transition, and ensuring that our brilliant staff and our partners have what they need to continue to implement our strategy. No changes are being made to Akonadi’s strategic focus, and our team looks forward to continuing to support Oakland’s powerful and beautiful organizers, culture bearers, healers, and media makers.
Thank you for your continued partnership, resilience and dedication to our communities. If you have any questions around the transition, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Cecilia Chen, our Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President of Programs.
Thank you, Lateefah Simon
I am excited to announce that starting this month, we will be welcoming Lateefah Simon to the Akonadi Foundation Board of Directors as she transitions from President of Akonadi to lead Meadow Fund, founded by Patty Quillin. Lateefah will bring her wisdom, strategic thinking and boundless energy to Akonadi’s Board where she will continue to help steer the Foundation, connect us to a large network of leaders in many sectors, and continue to provide key strategic thinking.
Lateefah joined as President of Akonadi Foundation on August 22, 2016, and, over the past five years, has made an incredible mark on racial justice in Oakland and in the philanthropic sector nationwide. She is a recognized voice of conscience, transformation and love. She has led Akonadi Foundation with fierce urgency, speaking up at every opportunity, developing strategic programs to address key racial justice issues in Oakland, and bringing funders and movement leaders together to make “good trouble”.
In addition to her contributions to the work to advance racial justice, Lateefah has truly made a lasting imprint on the DNA of Akonadi that will continue into the future. As part of her many accomplishments, Lateefah was instrumental in the launch of All In for Oakland, which resources key movement organizations in their work to end the criminalization of Black youth and youth of color. It was also Lateefah’s vision and perseverance that helped launch the California Black Freedom Fund, the first fund of its kind to ensure that Black power-building and movement-based organizations have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism.
When Lateefah asks you to join her, you quickly jump on board! You have all heard her speak passionately about her vision for a racially just world, a vision we wholeheartedly share, and her deep commitment to our collective liberation mobilizes countless people. From visionary leader to budget wonk, she does it all. But make no mistake, Lateefah’s secret sauce is her commitment to people—all people. She has the remarkable ability to be in tight formation with folks organizing in the street, capturing the attention of Governors and CEOs and bringing them all together.
On behalf of my husband Wayne Jordan and I, I want to express our deep, deep appreciation for Lateefah. When I met her over 30 years ago as the executive director of the Center for Young Women’s Development (now the Young Women’s Freedom Center), I was meeting a most brilliant and strategic leader whom I would work with and follow for years to come. Her role has come full circle – first, as a grantee, then as leader of Akonadi Foundation and now as a sister board member. Thank you, Lateefah. Your leadership continues to inspire me every day.
You have made an indelible mark on the foundation, from its highly committed staff to its deep relationships with the Oakland communities that we love and cherish.
Lateefah will continue to serve as President of Akonadi Foundation through the end of June 2022. The Board will initiate a process to find the next President of Akonadi Foundation; we welcome the support of our many friends in helping us find the next amazing leader of Akonadi Foundation.
Join me in wishing Lateefah the best in her new adventure.
Founder and Board President