It is with bittersweet feelings that we announce the departure of Director of Equity and Social Justice Chris Punongbayan from NCG. Chris is assuming the helm as Executive Director of California ChangeLawyers (formerly the California Bar Foundation) this month.
Chris has been instrumental in centering equity at the heart of NCG’s work over the past year, working with our board, staff, and member community to establish an equity/social justice framework to inform our strategic planning, design equity-focused programs initiatives, and identify critical opportunities to advance important conversations about race and other equity issues within our member community. Several examples illuminate the considerable contributions Chris made during his tenure:
- To advance equity and social justice across Northern California, NCG is leading regional funder engagement on key issues such as the 2020 Census, where we maintain laser-focused on the protection and inclusion/engagement of communities of color, immigrants, and low-income residents.
- After Charlottesville, we conducted a briefing on fighting intolerance in the Bay Area, sharing strategies in education, policy, organizing, and communications to address the rise of bigotry in our region.
- In late 2017 – and largely due to Chris’s stewardship – NCG became the new fiscal sponsor of California Criminal Justice Funders Group, providing infrastructure support to this unique funder collaborative that seeks to transform the criminal justice system throughout the state.
- NCG has amplified the visibility of important racial equity efforts that are shaping the field, including Race Counts (a look at racial disparities at the local level in all 58 California counties) and Race to Lead (a report about the racial leadership gap in California nonprofits).
- Along with our Philanthropy California partners in Los Angeles and San Diego, NCG has also taken up internal racial equity work through trainings and ongoing learning opportunities. Our goal is to “walk the walk” with a sure stride as we deepen our collective capacity to build equitable and just communities throughout California.
We thank Chris for his contributions to our community, and look forward partnering with him in his new role (he is literally working next door, after all!). We will launch a search for a new team member to continue the momentum Chris has built in the coming weeks.