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Transforming Government for Racial Justice

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm PDT
Zoom Meeting
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This panel will explore the nuances of what it takes to truly transform government practices to address institutional and structural racism, strengthen democracy, and advance racial equity. While racial equity work is happening at all jurisdictional levels, this session will focus on the unique dynamics of influencing California’s state government, including how to build political will and increase accountability, strategies for influence both inside and outside government and combining training opportunities with advocacy and organizing. Panelists will also explore the importance –and challenges –of partnerships between government, nonprofits, and philanthropy. The Public Health Institute’s role staffing the California Health in All Policies Task Force, partnering with the Strategic Growth Council, and launching the Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity (CCORE) will be held up as a case study, with discussants representing PHI’s nonprofit staff, advocates, community, philanthropy, and government partners.


Julia Caplan, Executive Director, Public Health Institute
Julia Caplan is Executive Director of State of Equity (formerly Health in All Policies) at the Public Health Institute (PHI). She and her team have spent over a decade assisting and organizing California state government to embed racial and health equity across more than 40 units of government spanning policy areas as diverse as transportation, land use, education, agriculture, and social services. State of Equity also runs the Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity (CCORE), which helps government build capacity and take action to address institutional and structural racism, including developing institutional commitments and plans to change practices related to programs, community engagement, public accountability, workforce, budgets, and more. Ms. Caplan has twenty years experience in community building, social change, and public policy leadership. She holds a masters’ degree in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley.
Alex Desautels, Senior Program Manager, Power Infrastructure, The California Endowment 

Alexandra Desautels joined The California Endowment as Program Manager for Strategy Development in January 2014, and has since moved into the role of Senior Program Manager, Power Infrastructure. In this role, Desautels is responsible for working with staff across the foundation to sharpen the core elements of the BHC strategy. Desautels also manages portfolios related to building the state’s power infrastructure, from building narrative power to increasing the strengths of networks and alliances. 

Prior to joining The Endowment, Desautels served as the Local Policy Manager for the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD). While there, she oversaw the implementation of Place Matters, ACPHD’s first local policy initiative for advancing health equity through social and environmental policy change in criminal justice, economics, education, housing, land use, and transportation. 

Other positions held at ACPHD include serving as the Community Health Advisor to Oakland Mayor’s office where she advised the Mayor and his staff on the health equity implications of various policy issues and serving on numerous technical advisory boards, including the West Oakland Specific Plan, a Metropolitan Transportation Commission study on health facility locations and access to transit,  Oakland Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Advisory Council

Before joining ACPHD, Desautels worked in youth development in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. She is the recipient of the Mabel Goode Management and Planning Award and the Davenport Research Award for Public Policy. Desautels earned her B.A. in American Studies, with honors, from Wesleyan University in Middleton, CT, and her Master of Social Welfare (MSW) with a Management, Planning and Policy focus from the University of California, Berkeley. 
Earl Lui, Program Director, The California Wellness Fund 
Earl Lui is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation where he currently manages grantmaking related to the Equity in Access portfolio. Prior to joining Cal Wellness, he was senior attorney at Consumers Union’s West Coast office in San Francisco, focusing on health care advocacy. He also worked for Consumers Union on financial services advocacy. Prior to that, he was an associate trainer for Coro Northern California, a leadership training program; a staff attorney for Public Advocates, Inc.; and an associate with the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro.  A member of the State Bar of California, he earned his law degree from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. 
Dwayne Marsh, President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers (moderator) 

Dwayne S. Marsh assumed the position of President and CEO of Northern California Grantmakers on September 9, 2020. He brings 27 years of experience in the public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors with a career commitment to advancing racial and economic equity.

Dwayne recently completed a four-year turn as co-Director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) and Vice President of Institutional and Sectoral Change at Race Forward. During his tenure, the membership network of local, regional, and state entities committed to advancing racial equity through the policies, practices, and public investments grew from just over 20 to nearly 200 participating jurisdictions.

Prior to GARE, Marsh spent six years as a senior advisor in the Office of Economic Resilience (OER) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he helped advance sustainable planning and development through interagency partnerships, departmental transformation, and funding initiatives managed through OER. He was OER’s principal coordinator for a $250 million grant program and led the development of capacity-building resources that reinforced the work of pioneering grantees in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Under his leadership, OER prioritized equity as a foundational principal for its planning and investment initiatives.

Marsh brings to the movement his expertise and considerable experience in coalition building for regional equity and leadership development for policy change. He provides technical assistance and capacity-building knowledge to equitable development initiatives that address continuing disparities in affordable housing, transportation investment, and environmental justice. Before HUD, Marsh spent a decade at PolicyLink, the national organization committed to economic and social equity. Before PolicyLink, he directed the FAITHS Initiative for eight years at The San Francisco Foundation, building a nationally renowned community development and capacity-building program that continues to this day. His career has been defined by supporting communities traditionally marginalized from full participation in our economy and society to build power and leverage lasting systems transformation.

Target Audience

This program is open to all members and non-members.



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