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Fighting the Chilling Effect: Ensuring the Health & Well-Being of Immigrants

Thursday, February 20, 2020 -
11:30am to 2:00pm PST
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA 94105
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Whether we’re tenth generation American or a newcomer, Black, White, or Brown, most of us try to treat people how we’d want to be treated. New immigrants work hard to make life better for themselves and come here to bring new ideas and new energy to our nation. However, immigration policies at the federal level have created fear among immigrants and their families, causing eligible people to go without access to health care and other important supports. This chilling effect harms immigrants’ health, and creates challenges for our state level MediCal expansion to undocumented young adults, and proposed expansion to undocumented seniors. 

Thirty percent of Bay Area residents are immigrants. They are our neighbors, teachers, friends, coworkers, and family. Ever since the changes to the public charge rule were proposed, immigrant community members have been declining to enroll or dis-enrolling themselves and their children from legally eligible benefits, including programs that are not subject to the expanded public charge rule. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the expanded public charge rule can take effect while litigation continues, it's critically important for communities to respond quickly to protect and support our immigrant neighbors. 

How are Bay Area communities responding to ensure immigrant residents have the services they need to be healthy, safe, and live with dignity? Join us at the next Bay Area Health Funders Group meeting for lunch and a discussion on how local communities are responding to ensure immigrants have access to the health care, legal aid, and food assistance services they need to thrive. Strategize with your philanthropy colleagues on how to engage and connect to support the health and well-being of our immigrant community members. 

Lunch will be provided.


Zenaida Aguilera, Compliance & Privacy Officer, La Clínica de La Raza

Ms. Aguilera began her career working in government for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer before moving on to the legal and healthcare fields. Ms. Aguilera has more than ten years of experience in the areas of program planning, grants and contracts management, and healthcare compliance.

Ms. Aguilera has held several positions at La Clínica, the most recent being Compliance & Privacy Officer, where she oversees and manages the day-to-day operations of La Clínica’s Corporate Compliance program. Prior to this position, Ms. Aguilera managed the Planning department portfolio of approximately 120 grants and contracts valued at appropriately $20 million, as Senior Planner. Along with the Office of Compliance, Ms. Aguilera led and oversaw the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Operational Site Visit (OSV) agency wide efforts, including managing all aspects of the pre, post, and the actual site visit itself in 2014.

Prior to that position, Ms. Aguilera was the Grants & Contracts Administrator for the Planning department, where she also helped coordinate the development, implementation and maintenance of the department’s policies and procedures to ensure Federal, State and regulatory compliance.

Before joining La Clínica, Ms. Aguilera worked in dynamic non-profit and community based settings to increase operational and program efficiencies. One such non-profit is the Unity Council, a longstanding community development corporation, where she now serves as a Board Member.

Ms. Aguilera received a Master of Education & Teaching at the University of San Francisco, a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley, and is Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC) and Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC). Ms. Aguilera is fluent in English and Spanish.

Sarah Dar, Senior Manager, Health & Public Benefits, California Immigrant Policy Center 

Sarah Dar is CIPC’s Health Policy Manager in Los Angeles. Sarah received her Bachelors in Psychology and Global Health Studies from Northwestern University and Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She has participated in community organizing around a number of issue areas, including as a member of Bend the Arc’s 2013 Community Organizing Residency. Sarah served as the Program Coordinator at American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) and led enrollment and outreach around the Affordable Care Act as a Navigator with Health Access MN. Before joining CIPC, she worked in the Navigator Program at MNSure, Minnesota’s state health insurance exchange.

Meg Davidson, Director of Policy and Advocacy, San Francisco Marin Food Bank

Meg Davidson is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.  In this role, she leads local, state, and federal advocacy campaigns to pursue an end to poverty and hunger.  This includes sponsoring legislation, lobbying for state and local budget allocations, and research on hunger and poverty.  She had been working toward social change within and across the non-profit and social services sectors for over 10 years in NYC and San Francisco.  Meg is passionate about community-driven social policies, particularly in the areas of food justice, economic security, and racial equity. 

Hope Nakamura, Directing Attorney, Public Benefits Practice, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County 

Directing Attorney Hope Nakamura runs Legal Aid’s Senior Advocates program, Government Benefits Unit, and LIBRE program. She is considered a state-wide expert on government benefits. Hope graduated with an A.B. in Economics from Stanford University before attending the UCLA School of Law, and came to Legal Aid after working at the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C. In her 29 years at Legal Aid, she has developed programs and worked in partnerships that educate and assist low-income families and individual residents who need safety net benefits.

Shirin Vakharia, Director Health & Aging, Marin Community Foundation (Moderator)

Shirin Vakharia currently serves as a program director for Health and Aging at the Marin Community Foundation in Novato, California. In this role she oversees a $2.7 million portfolio and is responsible for grantmaking strategy for four initiatives. Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. Vakharia worked for Napa County Health and Human Services Agency as the Prevention Coordinator. In this role she planned and oversaw county and provider operated substance abuse prevention, tobacco control, HIV and mental health programs. She has a Masters of Arts in Community Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati.

Target Audience

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



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