The LA Partnership for Early Childhood investment
We are a public-private collaboration of the country’s largest private foundations, family foundations, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, First 5 LA, and key government agencies.
A belief that investing early pays long term dividends
A desire to leverage support for the greatest possible impact
Rachel was born and raised in Los Angeles. She attended University of California, Irvine for two years, transferring to Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where she received her B.A in Philosophy. After living in Portland for 10 years, Rachel returned to Los Angeles and received a Certificate in Graphic Design from Otis College of Art & Design. She pursued freelance design and then in 2003 was selected as the next Executive Director of her family’s foundation, Roth Family Foundation. She served in that role until December 2012, and remains an active trustee/board member of the Foundation. She is currently leading the Foundation in a special anniversary grantmaking program plan for 2016, which will celebrate the Foundation’s 50th anniversary since its founding. Rachel was hired as the Program Officer for The Crail-Johnson Foundation in August 2013.
Rachel currently serves on the board of the Crossroads Community Outreach Foundation. She also serves as an Advisory board member of Peer Health Exchange – Los Angeles. She sits on the Executive Committee and Investment Committee of the Partnership for Early Childhood Investment and co-chairs a donor-advised fund at Liberty Hill Foundation.
She served on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for 6 years, chairing the Education Task Force, as well as volunteering as a sex education high school speaker with the organization for two years. Rachel also served on the Advisory Committee for Liberty Hill Foundation’s annual CHANGE LA event and the Membership Committee of Southern CA Grantmakers.
David Rattray is the President & CEO of UNITE-LA. Since 1998, he has led UNITE-LA in ensuring the continuous improvement of effective and aligned cradle-to-career public education and workforce development systems in Los Angeles, resulting in all children and youth having access to a high-quality education. Previously Rattray spent more than 20 years in the foodservice distribution industry. Rattray serves on the L.A. City Workforce Development Board and Youth Council and was vice chair of the State Workforce Investment Board’s Lifelong Learning Committee. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Linked Learning Alliance. Rattray earned his M.B.A. from the University of Southern California.
Jacqueline Chun has worked steadily in the non-profit sector for 17 years. She started her career in philanthropy directly after college at the Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, D.C. where she spent six years. Following the Public Welfare Foundation, she moved cross-country to Los Angeles and joined a grassroots immigrant rights education and advocacy organization for nearly two years. She attributes her experience at the grassroots level with providing her with an increased perspective and understanding of the non-profit sector before moving back into philanthropy. Jacqueline joined The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation in 2008 and is the Chief Programs and Administrative Officer, where she is responsible for managing the Foundation’s strategic grantmaking and daily operations. She also serves on the Education Leadership Council of Southern California Public Radio, Steering Committee of the LA County Arts Commission’s Arts Education Collective Funders Council, and Home For Good Funders Collaborative. She earned her degree from The University of Rochester and lives on the westside with her husband and son.
Christina Altmayer previously served as the Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County where she successfully led the organization through a comprehensive strategic planning and implementation process and oversaw a program funding portfolio of $35 million. In this capacity, Altmayer has helped lead several high impact efforts, including initiatives related to developmental screening and early intervention, kindergarten readiness, and oral health. Prior to this role, Altmayer was the President of Altmayer Consulting, Inc. and specialized in management consulting to public and nonprofit agencies.
In her consulting practice she served as Project Director for the Pediatric Health Services (PHS) Program for the Orange County Children and Families Commission for 12 years. She also worked with numerous Children and Families Commissions throughout California, including First 5 LA, as well as the County of Los Angeles, on long-term financial planning, strategy development, program design and implementation, and evaluation. Altmayer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics, and later, a Master of Arts in Public Administration from St. John’s University in New York.
Wendy has played an integral role in the life of the Parsons Foundation. After working at increasing levels of responsibility, she became Executive Director in 2001 and President and CEO in 2008. The Parsons Foundation is a $400 million endowment that is a quiet leader in Southern California philanthropy, supporting cornerstone and emerging nonprofits in Los Angeles County. Prior to joining Parsons, she was a founding staff member of the children’s nonprofit Crystal Stairs and was Executive Director of the Los Angeles Child Care and Development Council. She is on the board of Southern California Grantmakers, a regional association of more than 300 foundations, corporations and government grantmakers that is a leadership hub for members. She is also a senior fellow at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA, and has served on the board of the Broad Stage, is a member of the Coalition on Jobs and the Economy, and is a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on Children and Families and the State commission on volunteers, Volunteer California. Wendy is a frequent speaker and panelist at local and national meetings for philanthropy. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and has a master’s in urban planning from UCLA.
Cynthia Harding is the Chief Strategist for Interdepartmental Initiatives for the Los Angeles County Department of Human Resources (DHR). In this role she facilitates and implements transformational initiatives of importance to the Board of Supervisors, Chief Executive Office and DHR. She provides executive level consulting services to other County Departments in order to transform service delivery, build new services or staffing models, provide oversight on executive projects or develop new entrepreneurial services. Prior coming to DHR, she worked in the Department of Public Health for 35 years in a variety of different public health programs including serving as the Chief Deputy Director, Interim Director, and running Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, Tobacco Control, and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs.
Ms. Harding is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and taught as a visiting professor at the National School of Public Health in Brazil. Ms. Harding has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Community Health from Brown University, a Masters of Public Health from UCLA, and a Certificate of Management from USC’s Center of Excellence in Health Care Management.
In addition to her work for the County, Ms. Harding is a musician, playing a number of different instruments from Latin America. She performs Latin American folk jazz with her husband in the Ciro Hurtado Band, and with her sister in Conjunto Jardin (pronounced con-HUN-toe har-DEEN), a group that performs the music of Veracruz, Mexico.
Jeff Sunshine joined The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Packard Foundation in 2007. He is a program officer and manager in the Children, Families, and Communities Program. He is responsible for grantmaking in early learning, and oversees the Starting Smart and Strong Initiative, a ten-year place-based initiative designed to ensure that California’s children arrive at Kindergarten healthy and ready to learn.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Jeff was director of programs at Community Foundation Silicon Valley overseeing its domestic and global grantmaking activities and initiatives. He also served as the executive director of the Volunteer Center of Alameda County and as director of volunteer programs for the Archdiocese of the City and County of San Francisco.
Jeff is trained as a special education teacher and as a mental health clinician. He practiced as a family therapist for fifteen years both in Boston and in the Bay Area. Jeff holds a B.S. in education from SUNY at Buffalo, an Ed.M. in counseling psychology from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in human and organization development and public policy from The Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara.
Parker is a senior executive and strategist with a proven track record of scaling start up efforts and managing organizational change and growth. Blackman has worked in the early childhood health and education space for over a decade. While serving as Chief Operating Officer and West Coast Managing Director at Fenton, the largest public interest communications firm in the nation, Blackman helped the LA Partnership establish its original vision, mission, and goals, and created the strategy for LA’s first ever Baby Futures Summit.
Blackman has worked with many non profits and foundations in the early childhood development field, including the Atlas Family Foundation, First 5 LA, Playworks, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
A Stanford University graduate, Parker has been published in numerous publications including The Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, TomPaine.com and Alternet. He has served on multiple boards of directors and currently serves as Board Chair of Envision Education, a charter school organization working to transform the lives of students – especially those who will be the first in their family to attend college – by preparing them for success in college, in careers, and in life
Kaci is the newest member of the LA Partnership, having joined the team in 2015 as Senior Director. Kaci comes to the Partnership as a former nonprofit executive with more than 15 years of experience advancing social justice, education and civic outcomes in underserved communities across California, the United States and in more than 70 developing democracies across the world.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Kaci was Vice President of Families In Schools for three years and served as the organization’s Director of Community Engagement & Advocacy from 2010-2011. Before Families In Schools, she worked at the Center for Civic Education for seven years, holding both national and international senior level positions. There, she co-designed the organization’s flagship professional development programs for a network of over 1,000 educators, civil society leaders, parents, volunteers and public officials both at home and abroad.
Her experience includes managing multi-million dollar grant-making and community capacity building portfolios for government and private philanthropy; coalition-building; program design and strategic planning.
In August 2014, she co-founded and launched B.L.A.C.C. (Building Leaders and Cultivating Change), a giving circle supporting nonprofit organizations on the frontlines of social justice in the African- American community.
Kaci is a certified mediator, a graduate of Pepperdine University and holds an MBA in Organizational Management & Leadership from the University of LaVerne.
Steven Cahn specializes in crafting communications and public affairs strategies that leverage the strengths and resources of California Strategies’ clients. His expertise includes persuasive writing, coalition building, opinion and speech writing, social media, and grant writing, along with a specialized expertise in media relations and crisis communications.
Cahn spent more than a decade as a reporter, editor and columnist in California and Washington, D.C. His career as a journalist gave Cahn a deep understanding of politics and all levels of government, as he covered topical matters including growth-control measures, development and environmental reviews, transportation and housing, and federal and state grant programs. He also served as editor of three award-winning community newspapers owned by The Los Angeles Times, and covered the Missouri congressional delegation for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the federal departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services for a group of trade publications. Prior to joining California Strategies, he established his own media and public relations consulting practice in Orange County, where he provided grant writing, corporate communication and media relations services for his clients.
Cahn holds a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame, a master’s degree in English from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. A native of Los Angeles, Cahn and his wife live in Mar Vista.
Working at the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment since 2007, Mary brings over three decades of project management experience at non-profits, entertainment/web companies, and educational media publishers. Formerly a Senior Producer with the Walt Disney Company and Philips Media, Mary has a strong background in business operations, project and event planning, financial management, and product development.
Prior to settling in Los Angeles, Mary worked in Washington, DC for an international trade association, managing the launch of Tech 2000, the world’s first interactive multimedia gallery and later at Philips Media. As a Senior Project Manager in the Family and Home Entertainment division of Philips Media, Mary managed the production and publishing activities for over 50 educational software projects. At the Walt Disney Company, Mary was responsible for managing the Live Events team and producing live online shows, webcasts, and original children’s programming.
Mary earned her degree from the University of Vermont and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Dennis, and their daughter, Emily where she has been a founding parent and technology chair of a charter middle school and a member of the parent advisory board of an LAUSD high school.
When Richard Atlas retired in 1994 as a general partner at Goldman Sachs and Co., he knew he wanted to focus his philanthropy on building human capital at the bottom rung of society. That’s where his own grandparents began, as immigrants from Eastern Europe with no money and little education. His wife Lezlie’s work in child development anchored his commitment to invest in the future of children age birth to three years old.
Rich also wanted to inform and educate funders who didn’t have exposure or experience in supporting early child development to understand the long-term benefits of investing in the early years of life. So he and Janis Minton, executive director of the Atlas Family Foundation, began hosting informal gatherings, inviting other leaders in philanthropy to hear from early childhood experts about the long term health, education and economic gains from investing in the early years.
These meetings, usually over breakfast or lunch, coincided with Rich’s exposure to the importance of public policy. He realized that even if all of LA County’s leading foundations decided to fund early child development, it wouldn’t be sufficient to scale and sustain the support necessary for LA County’s large and diverse population of vulnerable children.
So Rich and Janis met with Cynthia Harding, a long time leader and early childhood proponent at LA County’s Department of Public Health. In Cynthia (who goes by Cindy) Rich and Janis had found a kindred spirit and a theme emerged: Despite being two sides of the same coin, private and public sector funders of early childhood development rarely, if ever, talked to one other. But to unleash the full potential of their impact, they first had to be at the same table.
Together, Richard, Janis and Cindy began gathering a growing group of private and public funders to discuss the biggest challenges facing families in the county’s poorest communities and how they could work together to forge large-scale change.
Funders of wide-ranging social issues began seeing the upstream value of investing in the health, education and development of infants and toddlers.
By 2007, the group had developed the trust and interest to build a more formal partnership. With multiple foundations providing seed funding, an executive director was hired and the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment was born.
In 2011, First 5 LA provided a matching grant of $1 million to create The Baby Futures Fund, a shared fund designed to enhance the collective impact of the Partnership. The incentive paid off: the Partnership met the matching grant more than 6 months ahead of schedule, and the Fund has now made more than $1 million in grants to help scale and sustain investments in the most vulnerable children birth to age five in LA County.
Today the LA Partnership has more than 30 members, from local foundations and First 5 LA, to the LA Area Chamber of Commerce and multiple county agencies supporting families throughout the county.