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This is the Moment: A Philanthropic Call to Unify and End the Epidemic of Racism

Thursday, June 18, 2020 -
10:00am to 11:30am PDT
Zoom Meeting
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Long before the Coronavirus pandemic, Black and Latino communities have lived amid the pandemics of racism, poverty, and lack of investment in California. Now, philanthropy has an urgent opportunity to lead the charge for a just recovery which not only addresses the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on Black and Latino communities but begins to fully address decades of racism and disinvestment in grassroots leadership. Ensuring the safety and health of our people in the months and years ahead, we must unite to ensure that Latino and Black-led grassroots groups are heard, respected, and supported at scale.

The Black Funders Network of the Bay Area, East Bay Community Foundation, Latino Community Foundation, and Philanthropy California have joined forces to create a speaker series around the persistent and pervasive underinvestment in Black and Latino-led grassroots nonprofits. What began as a conversation about addressing the COVID-19 needs of our Black and Latino community leaders has now leveled up and we are determined to use our power to demand justice and to advance change in this nation. Join us as we reflect, learn, and share with one another about the ways that philanthropy can manifest real, transformative change led by leaders and communities of color.

Our first session features a panel discussion with Luz Gallegos, co-Founder of Todec Legal Center, and Dr. Noha Aboelata, CEO of Roots Community Health Center. Moderated by Masha Chernyak, VP of Programs at Latino Community Foundation and Byron Johnson, Capacity Building Initiative Officer at East Bay Community Foundation, we will have the opportunity to be in discussion with two nonprofits that have been essential in meeting the needs of Black & Latino communities in California, especially throughout the COVID-19 crisis. 


Noha Aboelata, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Roots Community Health Center

Noha Aboelata, MD, is founder and CEO both of Roots Community Health Center (Roots), a 501(c)3 community health center licensed by the state of California Department of Health Services sec. 1204(a), and the Roots Community Health Alliance (Roots Alliance), a 501(c)6 professional association comprised of Safety Net providers committed to the care of the underserved. She is a board certified family practice physician, an experienced leader and manager of health care institutions, and an advocate committed to eliminating health disparities among low-income populations in East Oakland and surrounding communities. As CEO of Roots, Dr. Aboelata is responsible for overall organizational strategic direction, programmatic design, contracting and oversight, leadership and management including oversight of financial management, HR management, and community partnerships. Before founding Roots and Roots Alliance, Dr. Aboelata served in a variety of executive management positions for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).

Dr. Aboelata received her B.S. degree from the University of California-Santa Barbara (1993) and her medical doctorate from Howard University (1998) where she was honored as a Trustee Scholar. She served as Chief Resident of the Family Practice Residency Program Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Pomona, California (2000-2001) and as a National Health Service Corps Fellow from 2003 to 2005. Dr. Aboelata has a strong verbal command of Spanish and cares for her Spanish speaking patients in their native language. Read her full bio here.

Luz Gallegos, Executive Director, TODEC Legal Center

Luz Gallegos is the Executive Director of TODEC Legal Center, where she leads with faith, pride in her culture, and the determination to advance social change with the people who live and work in rural, Inland communities. Luz celebrates her community’s resilience and channels that strength into civic action every single day. She leads TODEC, a hub for healing, culture, leadership development, organizing, and community transformation led and for the people closest to the pain and the solutions. From their first major organizing win—granting 3 million new Americans amnesty in 1986—until now, TODEC is on the forefront of immigrant justice organizing in California. 

Luz Gallegos was born and raised in the Inland Empire.  Her journey began "en la causa, el movimiento" (in the movement) as a very young child with the guidance of her parents, the Founders of TODEC Legal Center. Marching alongside great leaders like Bert Corona, Soledad “Chole” Alatorre, and Cesar E. Chavez, Luz found her voice and her life’s purpose. At a very young age she developed a community consciousness and commitment that she carries to this day. Luz is relentless in her pursuit for justice, dignity, and economic opportunity for all families in rural California. As the Executive Director of TODEC, Luz has helped to naturalize more than 100,000 individuals, led countless campaigns for immigrant rights, and has built a powerful base made up of thousands of local leaders and their families who are civically and politically engaged. Luz has mentored hundreds of youth who are monarchs and has inspired them to continue with their education while never forgetting their roots. Luz leads TODEC Legal Center with great pride and honors the legacy of her parents who taught her how to hold her head high and win.


Masha Chernyak, VP of Programs and Policy, Latino Community Foundation

Masha is a strategic visionary, community organizer, and an experienced advocate for the Latino immigrant community.

In her current position as VP of Programs and Policy, Masha leads LCF’s change-making strategy. In 2017, Masha launched the 1st ever Latino Nonprofit Accelerator to unleash the power of grassroots Latino nonprofits. Masha has also been instrumental in launching two key pillars of LCF’s work – the California Latino Agenda, LCF’s advocacy platform and the Latino Giving Circle Network™, now the largest network of Latino donors in the country. In her leadership role, Masha also provides strategic guidance for LCF’s communications, branding, and social media presence.

An immigrant herself, Masha served in the Peace Corps in rural Guatemala and worked as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side. While working at UNO, Chicago’s largest Latino education and advocacy organization, Masha led the creation of a parent university for Latino immigrants and graduated over 1,000 students a year. In this same role, Masha organized hundreds of Latino parents and diverse cross-sector leaders during an advocacy campaign that brought UNO $98 million in funding from the State of Illinois.

Masha holds a Bachelor’s in Marketing from University of Cincinnati and a Master’s in Public Affairs and Politics from the University of San Francisco. She is a marketing guru, a talented photographer, and speaks three languages (Russian, Spanish, and English). Masha is driven by a deep sense of urgency to elevate the voices of immigrants and their contributions to this country. In her free time, Masha loves to make art, visit New Orleans, and to laugh loud with her two heroes- her parents.

Byron Johnson, Capacity Building Initiative Officer, East Bay Community Foundation

In his current position as Capacity Building Initiative Officer, Byron helps to shape and implement EBCF’s overall approach to building the capacity of grantees and community organizations throughout the region. He currently leads and manages is the ASCEND: BLO Initiative to Support Black Led Organizations, a 7 year strategy to stabilize and accelerate the work of anchor organizations led by and serving the Bay Area's black communities. 

Before coming to EBCF, Byron spent 12 years at CompassPoint, designing and delivering cohort-based leadership development programs such as the Fundraising Academy for Communities of Color, Bright Spots Fundraising Academy, and the STRONG Nonprofits Program for East Contra Costa County.

As a certified coach he’s worked with individuals, boards, and teams to increase trust and accountability during times of change and transition and to deepen the impact of strategic leader development, succession, and transition plans. His coaching practice was informed by over a decade consulting and training nonprofit leaders, networks, and teams in executive transitions management and succession planning and is centered on fun and risk-taking that inspires bold, confident, and creative actions.

Target Audience

This program is open to members of  NCG, SCG, SDG, and Black Funders Network.