New Hire Joins at Pivotal Time as Foundation Pursues a Social Justice Vision for East Bay Region
Oakland, CA – October 8, 2018 – After an extensive search and a deep candidate pool, the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) announced today that Alex Saingchin, formerly Program Director at Common Counsel Foundation, will join EBCF as Vice President, Community Investments & Partnerships. Saingchin’s selection to oversee EBCF’s community impact strategies comes at a pivotal time as the Foundation embarks on a new strategic vision for the region.
While the economic growth over the last 10 years has been a boon to the broader Bay Area, it has also come with widening inequality and exacerbated social and economic conditions for individuals, families, and communities at lower income levels. In response to these social and economic trends, EBCF stepped back to
examine the effects of systemic and structural disinvestments from low-income East Bay communities, particularly communities of color, and the resulting social and economic imbalances. Across Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the region it serves - communities of color continue to fare worse on every key quality of life measure. “As we embark on this journey to ensure equity, I am confident that Alex is the right hire at the right time and I am thrilled to have him join the Foundation,” said James W. Head, President & CEO, EBCF.
The region’s new economic growth has brought with it soaring housing costs, which have hurt the region’s economic and social diversity. “This is a pattern that we have observed in that prosperity for some, translates into social and economic injustice for others -- with some being pushed further and further from opportunity,” said Saingchin. “In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that philanthropy take a bold stance against policies that disproportionately impact vulnerable communities,” he continued. “I am thrilled, therefore, to be joining the East Bay Community Foundation team as we chart out a new vision that centers the priorities of social justice movements to achieve not only a just East Bay, but indeed a just world.”
Guided by the belief that social justice movements are critical drivers of change, EBCF is endeavoring to strengthen low-income communities and communities of color through power building, leadership development, and civic engagement strategies to achieve better outcomes for the entire East Bay. “The Bay Area has a unique history of activism and fighting for social justice,” said Mr. Head. “As the center of community philanthropy serving the East Bay, together with our donors and partners, we embrace this legacy and are reimagining what a community foundation can do to forge an inclusive, fair and just East Bay. Ultimately, this vision is about leveraging dollars and taking actions that tackle intractable social problems and accelerate progress across a broad base of issue areas for all -- balanced by effective risk- taking.”
Saingchin brings a wealth of experience to EBCF after holding significant leadership positions, and funding movements and advocacy work throughout his career. Most recently, he served as Program Director at Common Counsel where he was responsible for strategic advising, research, and grantmaking for family foundations and donor-advised funds, as well as strategic re-granting initiatives. His knowledge and grantmaking experience include environmental justice, immigrant, worker, and Native rights, housing and land use, criminal justice, and impact investing.
“Alex is deeply committed to the transformative power of philanthropy and the importance of the nonprofit sector to help create vibrant communities,” said Carly Hare, Board Chair at Common Counsel Foundation. “His experience in community, and knowledge of funding social movements will be a tremendous asset to the Foundation’s efforts to ensure regional equity, and the fair treatment and advancement of all people.”
Before entering philanthropy, Saingchin spent 15 years as an organizer, community lawyer, and policy advocate. His work includes grassroots organizing with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York and the New York City AIDS Housing Network and policy advocacy at the Urban Justice Center. As a community lawyer, he served as New Jersey director for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he oversaw its human rights legal docket and organizing campaigns for immigrant rights in the state. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the smart, dedicated team at EBCF,” said Saingchin. “And am very much looking forward to working with James, staff, and the Board. EBCF’s justice orientation and community values resonate deeply with me -- and I can’t wait to get started.”
Celebrating 90 years of service to the region, the East Bay Community Foundation mobilizes financial assets and community leadership to transform the lives of people with pressing needs throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. “As a community foundation, we will continue to fund the immediate needs of local nonprofit organizations via donor advised funds,” said Mr. Head, “but it is clear that we also need to broaden our role to build a sustainable strategy that supports policy advocacy and civic engagement as a means of changing the conditions that yield inequitable outcomes.”
Founded in 1928, and supported by over 400 local donors, the East Bay Community Foundation mobilizes financial assets and community leadership to transform the lives of people in the East Bay with pressing needs. This means bringing together the financial resources and leadership capabilities of charitable- fund holders with those of government, business, private foundations, and non-profit service providers in coordinated, grantmaking efforts to positively affect social change. The Foundation is committed to advancing a Just East Bay; where all members of our community are treated fairly; resulting in equitable opportunity and outcomes. In 2017, in partnership with our donors, EBCF granted more than $46 million to local nonprofit organizations and has charitable assets under management of $450 million. For more information, please visit www.ebcf.org.