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Equitable and Sustainable Recovery and Growth for Inland California: Next Steps for Philanthropy

Thursday, July 2, 2020 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PDT
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Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic and recent events surrounding the murder of George Floyd have only further exposed the large and pre-existing health, racial, economic, and regional disparities across our state. The challenges of the current moment only underscore​ the critical importance of maintaining our focus on driving greater equity and inclusion throughout our state – particularly as we enter the important stages of economic and social recovery and rebuilding.

Over the past six weeks, the Governor’s office and regional partners held seven virtual listening sessions across the Central Valley and Inland Empire with the crucial community and nonprofit stakeholders. The goal of these convenings is to engage with local voices and hear from community leaders about the needs and opportunities for investment in inland California, with particular sensitivity to how COVID-19 and recent events have exposed underlying challenges.

Join this conversation to discuss and reimagine an inclusive and equitable recovery and growth in Inland California. Philanthropy California, the Governor’s Office, the Center for Social Innovation at UC Riverside, and the Sierra Health Foundation will co-host this webinar.


Steve Barton, Acting Co-CEO, Northern California Grantmakers

Steve has a long history with NCG including stints on various committees as well as the NCG and Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers boards. Over the last several years he’s been a consultant on special projects, corporate philanthropy and social responsibility and briefings. As Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, he’s focused on programs, initiatives and projects that address the issues affecting our region from displacement and gentrification to income inequality to the arts, climate change and disaster resiliency. 

Maria Herrera, Central Valley Deputy Regional Director of External Affairs, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Maria has devoted her career to addressing drinking water challenges in disadvantaged and rural farmworker communities. As the manager of community engagement and planning at Self-Help Enterprises, she and her team pioneered the Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute, a program that helps communities in the San Joaquin Valley engage with and influence regional water planning and sustainability programs. Prior to Self-Help Enterprises, Maria led a grassroots campaign to pass historic legislation: The Human Right to Water Act of California in 2012, the first of its kind in the nation. The legislation ensures universal access to clean, safe, accessible, and affordable drinking water. Maria was appointed to the California Water Commission by Governor Brown in 2015 and Governor Newsom in 2019. In 2014, she provided consultation to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation on the participation of marginalized groups.

Chet Hewett, President and CEO, Sierra Health Foundation

Chet P. Hewitt has served as the President and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation since September 2007. Prior to joining the foundation, Chet spent five years as the Agency Director for the Alameda County Social Services Agency, where he was credited with transforming its child welfare system into a national model. He also worked as Associate Director for the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, and established and managed the West Coast office in San Francisco. Chet has received several national awards, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation Child and Family Leaders Fellowship and the 2009 Black Child Welfare Administrator of the Year. Chet serves on several boards, including Grantmakers in Health, Social Interest Solutions, Public Policy Institute of California’s Advisory Board, United Way of the California Capital Region, Sacramento Metro Chamber and Valley Vision.

Don Howard, President and CEO, James Irvine Foundation

Prior to joining Irvine in 2012, Don was a partner at The Bridgespan Group, where he served as a strategic advisor to nonprofit and foundation leaders. Earlier in his career, Don helped corporate leaders formulate strategy and improve the effectiveness of their organizations as a Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton and later as a Managing Director at the Scient Corporation. Don earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Stanford University, where he also obtained his M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business. As a volunteer, Don has been an activist around HIV and other health-related issues, serving in the past on advisory boards at the San Francisco Department of Public Health; University of California, San Francisco; and the National Institutes of Health. Don also serves on the Public Policy Institute of California’s Leadership Council and the California Community Colleges’ Chancellor’s External Leadership Advisory Council.

Kathleen Kelly Janus, Senior Advisor on Social Innovation, Governor Gavin Newsom

Kathleen Kelly Janus is the newly appointed senior advisor on social innovation in the Office of Governor Newsom. This new position elevates the role of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations as innovators. Janus was a lecturer at Stanford University’s Program on Social Entrepreneurship from 2013 to 2019 and was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School from 2007 to 2012. She worked as pro bono counsel at Covington & Burling from 2009 to 2013 and was an associate at Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP from 2003 to 2007. She co-founded Spark in 2005. Janus earned a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Marian Kaanon, CEO, Stanislaus Community Foundation

Marian Kaanon grew up in Modesto and graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Communication Studies. She began her career in broadcast journalism before working for a number of years in public relations, marketing, and lobbying/legislative affairs.. She served as Vice President of Marketing for Community Hospice for 8 years, developing and executing a holistic brand strategy that grew the organization triple-fold prior to her departure. Marian joined Stanislaus Community Foundation as their CEO in 2012. In 2006, Marian was named by The Modesto Bee as one of “20 Under 40” young civic leaders to watch, and in 2015 she was named an Outstanding Woman for Stanislaus County. She is an active Rotarian as well as a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum.

Margarita Luna, Program Manager, The California Endowment
Program Manager Margarita Luna, program manager for Coachella, first joined The Endowment in 2007. Before joining The Endowment, Luna was a senior social worker for Public Counsel where she managed the Special Needs Advocacy Project, a client advocacy program. In addition, Luna had earlier served as a UCLA Keck-Vivian Weinstein Child Advocacy Fellow at Public Counsel. Luna also served as a Pedro Zamora Fellow in government affairs for AIDS Action in Washington, DC. Luna, a resident of San Dimas, is a member of the American Public health Association and the National Association of Social Workers. She earned her B.A. in Sociology and Chicano/a Studies, M.P.H. in Community Health Sciences, and M.S.W. in Health Services from UCLA.
Karthick Ramakrishnan, Founding Director, Center for Social Innovation, UC Riverside

Karthick Ramakrishnan is professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Riverside, and founding director of its Center for Social Innovation. He has published many articles and 6 books, including most recently, Framing Immigrants (Russell Sage, 2016) and The New Immigration Federalism (Cambridge, 2015), and has written dozens of opeds and appeared in over 1,000 news stories. He was recently named to the Frederick Douglass 200 and is currently finishing a book entitled Citizenship Reimagined (Cambridge, 2020). He holds a BA in international relations from Brown University and a PhD in politics from Princeton.

Ramakrishnan is also a Board Member of The California Endowment, Chair of the California Commission on APIA Affairs, and Director of the Inland Empire Census Complete Count Committee. Ramakrishnan directs the National Asian American Survey and is founder of, which publishes demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.   

Molly Wiltshire, Deputy Regional Director of the Inland Empire, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Molly Wiltshire has served as the Inland Empire’s Deputy Regional Director for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsome since February of this year. Prior to this role, Molly worked as the Assist and Director of San Bernardino County Workforce Development, in addition to serving as Chief of Staff for County Supervisor James Ramos. Molly graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Redlands in 2012 with a degree in Political Science and Government, before earning her Master of Public Administration at CSU San Bernardino.


Presented in partnership with:

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