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Young People Driving Social Change through The Ballot Box and Beyond

Thursday, February 21, 2019 -
10:00am to 12:30pm PST
The San Francisco Foundation
One Embarcadero Center, Suite 1400, San Francisco, CA 94111
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In the November 2018 elections, 31 percent of youth (ages 18-29) voted- the highest level of participation among youth in a mid-term election in the past three decades. Simultaneously, the country is in the middle of a massive demographic shift where young people of color are the fastest-growing segment of the population. In California, the overwhelming majority of millennials (over 60%) are people of color. Building and supporting the civic engagement infrastructure and leadership pipeline opportunities focusing on youth leaders, both in and outside of election cycles, holds incredible power to build and rebuild a robust and inclusive democracy. In this context, the youth turnout in 2018 is cause for celebration and presents a unique opportunity for philanthropy to engage in building momentum for 2020 and beyond.  

In cities and towns across America, young people have organized to resist and reimagine our collective futures- to name just a few among many, the Dreamers, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and the March for Our Lives. In doing so, they are extending the historical legacy of young people who have long been at the forefront of transformative movements for justice and equity. 

Here in California, we have witnessed an emergence of a plethora of youth advocates and organizers addressing the important issues of our day through youth-led and youth-driven strategies that combine traditional organizing, social media and voter engagement approaches. In addition to this social change work, the campaigns are built and run with youth development practices that build leadership and agency among participants. Diverse organizations, groups, and networks are growing and increasing in sophistication their strategies to address the myriad of social causes that young people care about including improving schools, LGTBQ and gender justice, protecting immigrant rights, ending mass incarceration, and advocating for climate justice. The robust electoral programs that drive youth turnout in communities of color are built upon the success of base-building groups that organize year-round. Investing in youth leadership and organizing today will have long term outcomes for the youth themselves, their families, and our state. 

Join us to:

  • Have an interactive dialogue with youth leaders, organizers, and funders
  • Learn how philanthropy can boldly support, seed, and invest in building youth turnout for 2020 and infrastructure that supports youth leadership on social issues that will last beyond election cycles
  • Meet local groups like RYSE Youth Center that provide services and leadership development as well as engaged youth in electoral wins such as Measure H in Richmond, CA
  • Learn how Power CA mobilized young voters of color statewide in 2018 and their plans to build momentum towards 2020
  • Learn how Youth Organizing (YO-Cali) builds statewide infrastructure for youth leadership development and organizing around issues important to young people


Jamileh Ebrahimi, Youth Organizing Director, RYSE Youth Center
Jamileh Ebrahimi has been the Youth Organizing Director since 2012. As Youth Organizing Director, she builds a vibrant youth organizing culture both at the Center and in the Richmond community. Jamileh is deeply committed to education, organizing, organizational and community sustainability, and movement building, and through her 18+ years of community organizing, she has discovered the importance of community empowerment, healthy living, and justice. She works to ensure that young people serve as key stakeholders and decision-makers on issues and policies impacting their individual and collective health and well-being. Before joining RYSE, Jamileh started organizing for change in Youth Together (YT) at the age of 13. Following high school, she became the Regional Organizer at YT where she worked for seven years organizing the regional Ethnic Studies conference, campaign planning, and doing local, regional, statewide, and national coalition work for educational justice. She was a member of the BSU at Berkeley Community College, Organize Da B.A.Y., Schools Not Jails Coalition, and the Just Act Core Group, where she had the opportunity to travel to Brazil for the World Social Forum.
J Ishida, Senior Strategy Director, Youth Organize! California

As a Senior Strategy Director at Californians for Justice and Youth Organize! California, J Ishida leads the integration of local and statewide organizing to build power and transformation in our communities. J brings 17 years of youth organizing and racial justice experience through their work with Californians for Justice, Movement Strategy Center, Chinese Progressive Association, and as an independent consultant for youth organizing and civic engagement organizations. J comes from four generations of Hawaii-Japanese farmers, and is a genderqueer parent who loves frisbee, dark chocolate, and kids- but not in that order.


Albert Maldonado, Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment

Albert Maldonado is Senior Program Manager tasked with developing and managing The California Endowment’s cross-cutting Youth Power & Youth Development Strategy and Portfolio. The Endowment’s approach to youth engagement expands beyond traditional notions of “youth development” by supporting a youth organizing framework and approach to address issues of race, power and equity as part of young people's socio-political development and agency. Albert has played a key role in building grant making strategies and incubating organizations to support youth-organizing and civic engagement, youth-voice, youth-healing and youth-participatory action research at the local and statewide levels with an emphasis on low income, marginalized communities for The California Endowment. Realizing the power of youth as health equity change-makers, he has spearheaded the development and launch of The Endowment’s signature youth engagement strategies and gatherings, including developing and staffing The President’s Youth Council, The Endowment’s Youth Organizing Camps, Youth Advocacy Day in Sacramento, Trans Youth Health Summit, Youth Awards and youth media retreats to hone the story telling craft of youth journalists who cover community health issues across California. Prior to joining The Endowment, Mr. Maldonado was the Senior Director of Central Valley Programs at the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), an organization committed to creating space where young people and their adult allies come together to address public health issues through youth-led campaigns. Albert received a bachelor’s degree in Politics & Sociology from UC Santa Cruz and lives in Los Angeles with his son, Malachi.


Luis Sánchez, Co-Executive Director, Power California 

Over the last 25 years, Luis has dedicated himself to building a movement for educational, social and economic justice in California. Prior to joining Power California, Luis was a Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center. In that capacity, he led the Boys and Men of Color work and the Building Healthy Communities Statewide Youth Engagement Initiative with the California Endowment. Through his consulting practice, EC Strategy, Luis has served as a strategic planning, organizational development, and media and political consultant for foundations, political candidates, and campaigns, non-profit organizations, elected officials and labor unions. He was also the founding Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle, an organization that works to improve education and the quality of life in East Los Angeles. Luis is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Cal State Northridge. He resides in the El Sereno section of Los Angeles with his spouse and two children.


Jidan Terry-Koon, Senior Program Officer, San Francisco Foundation (Moderator)

Jidan Terry-Koon is a second generation Chinese American born and raised in the SF Bay Area.  Her field experience encompasses grassroots organizing, civic engagement, service provision, and institutional reform led by low-income communities of color towards racial and economic equity through organizations including Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, Youth Together, East Bay Asian Youth Center, and the Oakland Unified School District. Since the beginning of Jidan’s consulting practice in 2006, she has provided strategy, planning, training, and organizational development support to dozens of philanthropies, organizations, and alliances including the Akonadi Foundation, National Center on Crime and Delinquency, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, California Fund for Youth Organizing, Climate Justice Alliance, and the Alliance for Educational Justice.

Jidan has a BA in Political Science and a minor in Education from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters of Public Policy with a certificate in Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Target Audience

This event is open to NCG members only.