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Health, Education and Opportunity for All: How California is Paving the Way for Immigrant Rights

Thursday, March 20, 2014 -
2:00pm to 4:00pm PDT
World Affairs Council
312 Sutter Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA
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While efforts to reform our nation's immigration system remain stalled in Congress, California is leading the way in addressing barriers that prevent immigrants from becoming full members of our communities—and society as a whole. Recent legislative victories at the state level hold important lessons for the rest of the country, including the role of the philanthropic community in implementing these hard-won changes.
Join NCG for a funders' dialogue on immigration policy and integration efforts in the Golden State. During this program, a panel of experts will:
  • Provide insights on the latest policy developments at the local, state, and national level.
  • Highlight the role of advocates, philanthropy and community groups in advancing measures that promote immigrants' health, well-being, and economic success.
  • Engage participants in discussion on how immigration connects to a wide range of funding priorities (health, education, civic engagement) that can help to meet the needs and advance the contributions of California's immigrant population.

Target Audience

This program is free and open to all NCG members.


James W. Head is vice president of programs at The San Francisco Foundation and has more than 25 years of experience in the field of community and economic development. Previously, James served as president of the National Economic Development and Law Center for 18 years. A lawyer by training, he has significant nonprofit management, programmatic, and legal experience and has worked on nonprofit legal and finance issues as a consultant to foundations, business, and government, and as a professor of law. His past and present affiliations and community service include the community advisory board of Union Bank of California, member and past board president of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association; board member and past board president of Northern California Grantmakers, board member of the National Center for Youth Law, and past board member of the Neighborhood Funders Group; as well as adjunct professor of law at U.C. Hastings, U.C. Berkeley (Boalt) and Santa Clara University Law Schools in the Bay Area. Additionally, James is currently a Commissioner for the Port of Oakland, a position of appointment by the Mayor and City Council. He has also formerly served as an advisor to the 2001 Race Commission in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a member and chair of the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board, and was a founding board member of the California Community Economic Development Lending Initiative. James holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the University of Georgia, School of Law. He holds state bar memberships in Georgia, Florida, and California.
Marielena Hincapié is the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the main organization dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants in the U.S. Under her executive leadership, NILC has grown to be one of the premier immigrants' rights organizations, strategically using a combination of litigation, policy, communications, and alliance-building strategies to effect social change.   
Ms. Hincapié is highly respected for her legal and political strategies and is seen as a bridge builder within the immigrants' rights field as well as across broader social justice sectors
Marielena began her tenure at NILC in 2000 as a staff attorney leading the organization's labor and employment program and then served as NILC's director of programs from 2004 to 2008, after which she became executive director. She holds a juris doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law, served on the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration, and is currently a member of the Jobs with Justice board of directors
Reshma Shamasunder has served as Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center since 2003.  Under Reshma's leadership, CIPC has helped to advance several successful campaigns at the state level, including preserving important health and human service programs, supporting survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, stalling abusive employment verification practices, and furthering important immigrant integration efforts.  
Reshma currently serves on the board of Health Access California and previously served as co-chair of the South Asian Network in Los Angeles. Reshma was most recently an inaugural fellow with the Rockwood Fellowship for a New California, a leadership program for California's immigrant rights leaders. She was previously Director of Benefits Policy and Government Affairs at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and also worked for several years on child labor issues in India. Reshma holds a Bachelors Degree from UCLA and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Timothy P. Silard is the president of the Rosenberg Foundation. Since joining the Foundation in 2008, he has made criminal justice reform in California a core focus of the Foundation. Under his leadership, the Foundation also is resourcing innovative new solutions in the areas of immigrant rights and integration, immigrant workers' rights, and civic participation. Silard joined the Rosenberg Foundation from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, where he served as chief of policy, developing reforms in criminal justice, civil rights, and immigrant rights. While there, he helped launch the nation's first civil rights division in a local prosecutor's office, designed model reentry programs that have proven to sharply reduce recidivism, and expanded access to services for immigrants and low-income families.
He also was a leader of San Francisco's nationally replicated approach to addressing commercial sexual exploitation, which won the Ford Foundation's Innovations in American Government Award. He previously was HOPE VI Director for the Corporation for National Service, where he served on the Community Enterprise Board and White House Urban Policy Working Group.