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An Equitable and Resilient Future: Perspectives from Philanthropic Leaders

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 -
3:00pm to 4:30pm PST
Zoom Meeting
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Philanthropy and the nonprofits they support were engaged in incredible work at the start of 2020. But the world drastically changed in March of last year. As we battle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's disproportionate effect on BIPOC communities, and witness a rise in insurgency to our democratic principles, we are reminded of our constant struggle with the historical and generational pandemics of anti-Black racism and white supremacy. It's as crucial as ever to ask, what does all of this mean for the work of philanthropy? How do we hold what we've experienced, shape a strategic agenda that takes on the issues we currently face (while remembering that many of these issues are historical), and advance or shift the work we deemed important prior to the pandemic?

We will talk with philanthropic leaders from across the state to hear how they're thinking about their institutions' future work, their plans for 2021, and what they're struggling with as they look to take on the myriad issues that face our communities and the nation.

Join us to hear about:

  • Funding strategies and approaches for 2021 and beyond
  • Perspectives on the current role of philanthropy
  • Philanthropic actions that responded to the pandemic that should become a regular practice
  • Opportunities for philanthropy to address anti-Blackness and racial justice
  • Long-term strategies for recovery and resiliency


Fred Blackwell, CEO, San Francisco Foundation
Fred Blackwell is the CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. The San Francisco Foundation works hand-in-hand with donors, community leaders, and both public and private partners to create thriving communities throughout the Bay Area. Since joining the foundation in 2014, Blackwell has led it in a renewed commitment to social justice through an equity agenda focused on racial and economic inclusion. Blackwell, an Oakland native, is a nationally recognized community leader with a longstanding career in the Bay Area. Prior to joining the foundation, he served as interim city administrator for the city of Oakland, where he previously served as the assistant city administrator. He was the executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco; he served as the director of the Making Connections Initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Lower San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland; he was a Multicultural Fellow in Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation; and he subsequently managed a multiyear comprehensive community initiative for the San Francisco Foundation in West Oakland.
Blackwell serves on the board of the Independent Sector, Northern California Grantmakers, the Bridgespan Group, the dean’s advisory council for UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and the community advisory council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. He previously served on the boards of the California Redevelopment Association, Urban Habitat Program, LeaderSpring, and Leadership Excellence. He is a visiting professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the Co-Chair of CASA —The Committee to House the Bay Area. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College.
Sandra Hernandez, President & CEO, California Healthcare Foundation (moderator)
Sandra R. Hernández, MD, is president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation. Prior to joining CHCF, Sandra was CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, which she led for 16 years. She previously served as director of public health for the City and County of San Francisco. She also cochaired San Francisco’s Universal Healthcare Council, which designed Healthy San Francisco. It was the first time a local government in the US attempted to provide health care for all of its constituents.
In February 2018, Sandra was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Covered California board of directors. In December 2019, she was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to Healthy California for All Commission, which is charged with developing a plan to help California achieve a health care delivery system that provides coverage and access through a unified financing system. She also serves on the UC Regents Health Services Committee and the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Health Advisory Board. Sandra practiced at San Francisco General Hospital in the HIV/AIDS Clinic from 1984 to 2016 and was an assistant clinical professor at the UCSF School of Medicine. Sandra is a graduate of Yale University, the Tufts School of Medicine, and the certificate program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Surina Khan, CEO, Women's Foundation of California
Surina first became involved with WFC as a volunteer in 2004. Now, as CEO Surina oversees the Foundation’s strategic direction which is focused on building community-based power through investing in effective community-based organizations, training community leaders in policy advocacy, connecting key partners, and mobilizing significant financial resources. Surina has worked at the Ford Foundation where she designed and launched Ford’s LGBT Rights Initiative. She is a member of the Board of Voices for Progress, CalNonprofits, the American LGBTQ Museum, La Cocina, a founding Advisor for the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative, and a member of the Public Policy Committee for Northern California Grantmakers. Surina enjoys cooking, swimming, photography and resides in San Francisco and Sea Ranch with her partner.
Michelynn Woodard, Head of Good Robot at Bad Robot Productions
Michelynn Woodard brings expertise in corporate citizenship, advocacy, impact investing, entertainment philanthropy, public/private partnerships, and employee engagement. She is a leader who has an extensive network of relationships in entertainment, government, and philanthropy. Currently, Michelynn is the Head of Good Robot at Bad Robot Productions and Senior Advisor of the Katie McGrath & J. J. Abrams Family Foundation. At Bad Robot, Michelynnleads corporate social impact, employee engagement, diversity, and culture initiatives. As Senior Advisor of the Katie McGrath & J. J. Abrams Family Foundation, Michelynn, helps manage the family’s philanthropic portfolio.
Previously, Michelynn was a founding partner of the Artemis Agency, which developed and execute sustainable social impact strategies for influencers, corporations, and nonprofits. Before founding Artemis, Michelynn ran philanthropy for talk show host Dr. Phil, and his wife Robin McGraw successfully integrating their causes into the popular broadcast. Michelynnalso led Corporate Social Responsibility for JCPenney and launched the Kanye West Foundation with Dr. Donda West. Miki started her work in this field as an executive with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) foundation. A graduate of Hampton University, Michelynn spent much of her childhood abroad and as a result, is an avid traveler who is passionate about diverse communities and civic engagement. Today, Michelynn serves on the board of several charitable organizations including the California advisory board of the Trust for Public Land and she is also the current Board Chair of the nonprofit, Community Coalition. 

Target Audience 

This program is open to NCG, SCG, and Catalyst members.



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