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Putting Schools and Communities First

Monday, July 29, 2019 -
9:00am to 11:00am PDT
East Bay Community Foundation
200 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
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Schools and Communities First is a historic effort to reform Proposition 13 and restore over $11 billion a year for services that all Californians rely on like schools and community colleges, social services, libraries, and health clinics. Conceived and championed by those communities most impacted by decades of disinvestment, Schools and Communities First is one of several opportunities for California for advance bold, long-term structural reforms rooted in equity and inclusion that can serve as a model for the rest of the country.  

Change of this magnitude requires a deep and expansive voter engagement strategy and a concrete narrative centered on a vision for racial, economic, environmental, and health equity in California. Schools and Communities First offers an unprecedented opportunity to channel resistance into real political power. Leaning on a robust public education campaign to shift California’s narrative from exclusion to inclusion and decades of experience expanding the state’s diverse electorate, a broad coalition of community-based organizations, labor, and local government have come together roll back 40 years of disinvestment in our schools and local communities. As a critical partner in advancing equity throughout the state, philanthropy can play a pivotal role in achieving the goals of this initiative. 

Join our panel of experts for this special funder briefing to learn: 

  • How Schools and Communities First will reinvest over $1.5 billion back into the East Bay and what that means for local communities; 
  • The role that local community-based organizations will play in building real political power among voters of color, young voters, immigrant voters, and low-income voters across the state; and
  • How funders can play a critical role in supporting the voter engagement efforts and public education campaign necessary to make Schools and Communities First as success.  


Judith Bell, Vice President of Programs, The San Francisco Foundation 

Vice President of Programs at The San Francisco Foundation, Judith brings extensive experience in strategic planning and policy development, with a focus on economic and social equity to the Foundation. Previous to joining the Foundation, Judith was the President of PolicyLink where she had been since its inception, becoming President in 2004. Her leadership helped ignite a new national narrative around access and opportunity for all people with a focus on improving health and infrastructure, including increasing access to healthy foods.

Amy Fitzgerald, Senior Program Officer, East Bay Community Foundation 

Amy Fitzgerald recently joined the East Bay (EBCF) as a Senior Program Officer.  In this position, she supports organizations that amplify community voice and exercise grassroots power to build a Just East Bay. A Bay Area native, Amy worked for 12 years as a community organizer and Executive Director of Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), the largest grassroots organizing network in Oakland. Through her work, Amy manifests her passion for community-led, equitable systems change, faith active in the public sphere, and powerful multicultural coalitions.

Amy received her Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science from Santa Clara University. Amy is bi-lingual and served with Jesuit Volunteers International in Managua, Nicaragua. She lives in Oakland with her wife, and can often be found cheering for the Golden State Warriors.

Dr. Jennifer Martinez, PhD, Chief Strategy Officer, PICO California 

Jennifer Martinez is the Chief Strategy Officer for PICO California, the largest faith-based community organizing network in California. PICO CA supports the development and action of grassroots leadership to advocate for racial and economic justice. Jennifer has been an organizer since 2001 where her work has focused on housing justice, immigrant rights, restorative justice and quality education. Today, Jennifer and her team work with dozens of organizations and hundreds of organizers across California to develop long-term strategies that tackle the systemic drivers of racial and economic inequality, including the criminalization of people of color and wealth accumulation into the hands of the few. PICO CA is one of the primary organizations leading the Schools & Communities First ballot initiative, an effort to return $11 Billion a year to local schools and neighborhoods in California. 

Sabrina Smith, Deputy Director, California Calls

As Deputy Director, Sabrina Smith oversees program development, staff management, technology, infrastructure, and strategic communications for California Calls. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and stitches the program work together to enable the alliance to mobilize a base of 500,000 new and occasional voters.

Sabrina has worked with Anthony Thigpenn since 1997, leading alliance building, organizing, voter engagement and regional policy campaigns for AGENDA and SCOPE. Prior to California Calls, Sabrina worked as SCOPE’s Organizing Director. She has trained hundreds of organizers across the country in community organizing, power analysis, campaign development and work management.


This event is open to NCG members and non-member funders only.