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Seize the Moment: Immigration Relief and Bay Area Communities

Monday, March 9, 2015 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Bechtel Conference Center
Public Policy Institute of California, 500 Washington Street, San Francisco, CA
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Funders—no matter their priorities or focus areas—are closely watching how immigration relief and reform is impacting the communities they serve. Immigration is a multi-sectoral issue that intersects with almost all funding areas because of the social and economic impact newcomers and their families have.

President Obama’s November Executive Order on immigration presents an historic opportunity for immigrants, advocates, and philanthropy in California. Estimates indicate that nearly a third of the 5 million immigrants eligible for relief nationwide live in California. Of those, nearly 175,000 immigrants reside in Bay Area counties. The action promises to be the largest immigration reform in contemporary American history, larger still than the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. While the order does not grant immigrants citizenship, it does provide temporary work authorization and the ability to live freely from the constant fear of deportation. Legal work permits open multiple doors for immigrants and profoundly implicate their ability to access education, health, workforce reinvestment, employment, as well as children and youth programs. These changes will have rippling beneficial effects on entire Bay Area communities and directly impact virtually every major grantmaking priority.

Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) is pleased to partner with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), The San Francisco Foundation, and the Latino Community Foundation to present an impressive roster of panelists on immigration and philanthropy—including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.

Join funder colleagues for a special briefing on this policy milestone, learn about the momentum built by undocumented immigrant youth, and discuss implications for funders across a range of philanthropic sectors.

Come Join Us To

  • Learn about the president’s executive order on immigration and its significance for funders across philanthropic sectors.
  • Understand how the leadership of undocumented immigrant youth created momentum to make this moment possible.
  • Discuss how funders can address this historic opportunity, advance their priorities, and improve the lives of immigrant families and the communities in which they live.

Target Audience

This program is open to funders across issue areas. NCG members, non-member funders, and specially invited guests.


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Guests of Organizers: Please email with your name, title, organizational affiliation, business mailing address, and phone number.  Please indicate by which organizer you were invited.


Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Founder, Define America. In June 2011, the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant, stunning media and political circles and attracting international coverage. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine worldwide with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote. Since then, he has testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform, and written and directed Documented, a documentary film on his undocumented experience. It world premiered at the AFI Docs film festival in Washington, D.C. in June 2013, was released theatrically in May 2014, and also aired on CNN.

He was a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post, where he launched the Technology and College sections. Prior to that, he covered tech and video game culture, HIV/AIDS in the nation’s capital, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post, wrote for daily newspapers (Philadelphia Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle) and national magazines (The Atlantic, Rolling Stone) and has appeared on several national and international television and radio programs, including Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Colbert Report. 

Robert K. Ross, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer for The California Endowment. Dr. Ross has been actively involved in community and professional activities at both the regional and national level.  He serves as a Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, a Board member of the California Health Benefit Exchange Board, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Co‐Chair, Diversity in Philanthropy Coalition; Board member, USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy; and has served as a Board member of Grantmakers in Health, National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the National Marrow Donor Program, San Diego United Way and Jackie Robinson YMCA. 

During his tenure at The California Endowment, the foundation has focused on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, reducing childhood obesity, strengthening the capacity of community health centers, improving health services for farm worker and ex‐offender populations, and strengthening the pipeline for bringing racial and ethnic diversity to the health professions.  In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10‐year statewide commitment investing $1 billion to advance policies and forge partnerships to build healthy communities and a healthy California.   Recently, he has helped bring greater philanthropic attention to the health and well‐being of young men of color across California and the nation.  Dr. Ross received his undergraduate, Masters in Public Administration and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  

Maria Blanco, Executive Director of the UC Center for Undocumented Student Legal Services at the UC Davis School of Law. María has more than 20 years of experience as a litigator and advocate for immigrant rights. Her most recent position was Vice President of Civic Engagement at the California Community Foundation. She has also worked for the Earl Warren Institute at Berkeley School of Law and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She currently serves on the board of Public Policy Institute of California and is a commissioner on the California Citizens’ Redistricting Commission.

Sally Kinoshita, Deputy Director, Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Sally helps lead a number of ILRC collaborative and capacity-building projects and oversees the organization’s marketing and communications development. Sally also brings to the ILRC her expertise on immigration relief for abused immigrant women and children as the author or co-author of a number of ILRC publications and by serving as a trainer to judges, attorneys, BIA-accredited representatives, social workers, domestic violence service providers and others. 

Tessa Rouverol Callejo, FAITHS Program and Civic Engagement Officer, The San Francisco Foundation (Moderator). Tessa manages the Immigrant Integration portfolio and directs the FAITHS Program, a civic engagement and capacity-building initiative serving hundreds of Bay Area faith-based and community organizations. Before coming to the Foundation, Tessa directed the Central American Refugee Project at San Francisco Catholic Charities, the National Sanctuary Defense Fund, and St. Peter’s Housing Committee, all of which served the immigrant community. Additionally, she founded and later served on the board of the California Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, a statewide collaborative of faith-based organizations advocating for the just treatment of immigrants.Tessa has deep expertise in the fields of community organizing, policy advocacy, immigrant integration, and affordable housing and currently co-chairs the Immigrant Legal Services Committee of the California Immigrant Integration Initiative. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. 


Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees
Latino Community Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation


East Bay Community Foundation
Grove Foundation
Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Y&H Soda Foundation
Zellerbach Family Foundation