On Monday, NCG member the Akonadi Foundation announced Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo as its new Program Officer for its Beloved Community Fund. Join us in welcoming her to the NCG community! Read the announcement below:
For more than 17 years, the Oakland-based family foundation has advanced grantmaking that supports and nurtures racial justice movement building. The Beloved Community Fund, one of Akonadi’s main grantmaking program areas, supports free public art and cultural events that celebrate, and are rooted in, communities of color in Oakland.
“Vanessa is a passionate cultural worker with extensive experience as a champion of creative work, both in grantmaking and as an artist herself,” said Lateefah Simon, Akonadi Foundation’s president. “As a foundation, we believe that art and cultural expression can strengthen unity and solidarity in communities by giving people the opportunity to imagine the political and social transformation of their world. Through Vanessa’s leadership, Akonadi will be able expand our impact in Oakland’s vital arts and culture community.”
Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo joins Akonadi Foundation with over 20 years of experience working toward social equity in communities of color through her work in philanthropy, the arts and culture sector, and as a leadership coach in the community. Most recently, she served as executive director of Studio Grand, a multidisciplinary art space in Oakland. There, she developed programming that reflected Oakland’s cultural diversity, collaborating with artists, cultural workers, healers, and movement builders who are working for racial equity and lifting up narratives about people of color.
Vanessa previously served as arts and culture fellow at The San Francisco Foundation, where she made over 200 grants and helped to raise $1.5 million to support Bay Area artists and arts non-profits. As one example, she supported the leadership of the Rockwood Leadership Institute in establishing a Fellowship for Leaders in Arts & Culture. Vanessa was trained as a leadership coach with Leadership That Works.
“I am elated to join this mighty team and work together to invest in arts and culture movements that build voice, power, and self determination in communities of color all across Oakland,” said Camarena-Arredondo. “Akonadi’s work through the Beloved Community Fund affirms the collective memories, shared histories, and social identities of our beautiful and diverse communities. Together, we can shine much-needed light on the value of cultural work to make racial justice possible in Oakland.”
As program officer, Camarena-Arredondo will assist in planning, implementing, and assessing Akonadi’s grantmaking through the Beloved Community Fund, as well as other grantmaking and programs in the arts and culture field. Camarena-Arredondo will lend her expertise to Akonadi’s mission of nurturing deep relationships with grantee organizations and leaders and maintaining a breadth of knowledge about current trends, emerging issues, policy and cultural interventions, and innovations in philanthropy and the field of racial justice in Oakland.
Interviews with Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo are available upon request. Her full biography can be viewed here. For more information on Akonadi Foundation and the Beloved Community Fund, please visit akonadi.org.
Founded in 2000 by Quinn Delaney and her husband Wayne Jordan, Akonadi Foundation began as an outgrowth of their commitment to racial justice. Through the years, the Foundation has given over 1,300 grants totaling $30 million to nonprofit organizations, primarily in the Bay Area as well as across the country. In 2012, Akonadi Foundation shifted its grantmaking to focus solely in Oakland in order to concentrate its financial and human resources toward building a localized racial justice movement.