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NCG Bids Farewell to Policy Chief, Cecilia Chen

Friday, July 17, 2020
NCG’s Public Policy Director, Cecilia Chen, will soon be front and center in efforts to end the criminalization of Black youth and youth of color in Oakland as she steps into a new role as Chief Strategy Officer at the Oakland-based Akonadi Foundation.
Cecilia was the first to occupy NCG’s policy position and established a significant track record during her time in the role. In three short years, Cecilia marshaled the resources of Northern California Grantmakers and innumerable of our members to preserve benefits and protect immigrant families, establish a unified grantmaking pool for a fair and accurate Census, file Philanthropy California’s first Amicus Brief to halt the addition of a question about citizenship to the upcoming Census, and endorse NCG’s first ballot initiative to reclaim billions in lost revenue for schools and communities. In addition, Cecilia’s formative leadership helped birth a new center for collective action in the Better California initiative.
“Cecilia’s attunement to racial equity and social justice helped NCG re-imagine and push the boundaries of what is possible in the space of philanthropic policy advocacy,” reflected Allison Magee, President of the Zellerbach Family Foundation and Board Chair for NCG.
“We’re glad to count her as a member of the NCG community in her new role and will be calling upon her keen sensibilities to move the dial for philanthropy as we continue the work she began,” added Steve Barton, Interim co-CEO, Northern California Grantmakers.
“Cecilia forged a new path for our region and state advancing policy priorities that speak to justice. With her fresh voice and optimism, she demonstrated the role philanthropy can have when it exercises its voice to stand for systems change,” he said.