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
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.
Kim Pattillo Brownson is Ballmer Group’s Director of Strategy and Policy in Los Angeles. Most recently, Kim served as Vice President for Policy and Strategy at First 5 LA, where she led their grantmaking in strategic partnerships on policy, advocacy, and communications with philanthropy, business, municipalities, and higher education. She also spearheaded relationships with local, state and federal policy makers to drive policy and system change. Prior to that, Kim was Managing Director at the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization engaged in policy and advocacy for communities most impacted by economic and racial injustice. She has also worked as an education attorney at the ACLU as well as in litigation attorney in the private sector; and as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group. Kim is an appointee of Governor Gavin Newsom to California’s Early Childhood Policy Council, as well as to the California State Board of Education. Kim earned her juris doctorate degree from Yale Law School and her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.
Sara Straubel is a Program Officer at The Ahmanson Foundation where she manages a portfolio of grant requests in the areas of arts and culture, education, healthcare, and human services. She serves as a Managing Funder for the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, a fund that invests in nonprofit organizations during moments of transformation. She also represents the Foundation on the Review Process Committee and Capacity Building and Learnings Committee for the LA Arts Recovery Fund, a fund for post-pandemic rebuilding in the arts. Additionally, she serves on the Advisory Committee of EPIP LA, a network of early- to mid-career professionals committed to a more equitable and inclusive philanthropic sector. Prior to The Ahmanson Foundation, Sara served as a Research Assistant at Project Zero, an education research center at Harvard University. Sara’s professional experience also includes several years in fundraising and strategic development for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization P.S. ARTS. Sara holds a B.A. from Ithaca College and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Policy, Planning, and Development at University of Southern California.
Kate Anderson is the Executive Director of the Center for Strategic Partnerships where she synergistically and strategically combines LA County government and local philanthropic foundations’ expertise and resources to improve child welfare. In addition, Anderson develops and strengthens new and existing partnerships to leverage federal, state, and private dollars to serve LA’s youth, families, and communities. Anderson advocated for better policies and systems while working with area nonprofits and as Director of Children Now, where she connected the organization’s policy work to the community. Anderson previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Jane Harman, trained as an attorney, and served as Counsel to the U.S. Congress, Government Reform Committee, in Washington, D.C.
Sonia Campos-Rivera, Senior Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs, leads Early Childcare Education (ECE) efforts with UNITE-LA and the business community. In her role, she is tasked with drafting, identifying and supporting policies that support a coordinated system.
Previously, Campos-Rivera served as an appointed member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, a policy-driven body tasked with developing strategic solutions to improve outcomes for California’s youngest learners and their families. Additionally, Campos-Rivera served in the statewide Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force, which was tasked with developing statewide recommendations to ending deep poverty in California by 50 percent.
Prior to joining UNITE-LA, Campos-Rivera served as a policy liaison for California Speaker Emeritus, Fabian Núñez, represented former State Senator Gilbert Cedillo and served as a legislative aid for Assemblymember Dave Jones. She is also a former Planning Commissioner for the City of South Gate, where she served more than six years and helped guide the city towards opportunities to expand early education facilities in the Southeast Los Angeles communities.
When Campos-Rivera is not working, you can find her tending to her garden or spending quality time with her family.
Carrie Dunbar Miller is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Poverty Alleviation Initiative. In this role, she developed a Board-adopted Countywide strategic framework for alleviating poverty; led the launch of the County’s $40.8 million guaranteed income program, Breathe, the largest and longest-running program in the country; and led several large-scale strategies for addressing poverty. Previously, she served as the Assistant Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection where she led a variety of initiatives in the areas of prevention, child safety, and data sharing. Prior to this, Miller served as the Manager for the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office’s Service Integration Branch (SIB), overseeing the Countywide Gang Strategy, Education Coordinating Council, Information Technology Infrastructure Development Unit, Research and Evaluation Unit, Contracting and Administrative Support Unit, Housing and Homeless Unit, and various initiatives integrating services for system-involved youth across departments. Before joining SIB, she served as the Director of the Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council, a collaborative body charged with raising the educational achievement of foster and probation youth. Miller received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Howard University.
September Jarrett is a program officer for the Education program of the Heising-Simons Foundation, focusing on policy and systems change in California. Prior to her work at the Foundation, September served as executive director of San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education, as well as program director at the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund. Early in her career, she helped develop the Child Care Facilities Fund of the Low Income Investment Fund, an award-winning public-private partnership designed to expand the supply of high-quality early care and education facilities.
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.
John A. Wagner is the Executive Vice President of First 5 LA’s Center for Child and Family Impact (CCFI). In this role, John is responsible for leading the CCFI’s systems change efforts to change policy and practice and build public will to prioritize and improve outcomes for young children in Los Angeles County.
John first joined the early childhood advocacy and public grantmaking organization as Chief Operating Officer in December 2012, building on his nearly two decades of experience in running a number of state departments in the health and human services arena. In August 2016, John was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President. Prior to joining First 5 LA, John served as Director of the California Department of Community Services and Development from 2011-2012, and Director of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) from 2007-2011. At CDSS, he oversaw a budget of over $20 billion and programs affecting California’s most vulnerable residents including foster children and youth; children and families receiving aid through the California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs); and children and adults in state-licensed community care facilities.
John has served as senior policymaker and advisor to both Republican and Democratic administrations in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and California. Prior to coming to California, he served as the Assistant Secretary for Children, Youth and Families for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where he coordinated policies and programs across many state agencies. Additionally, John served as the state’s Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, overseeing the state welfare agency from 2002 to 2007.
John earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.
Parker has spent more than 25 years working in philanthropy and non-profit cause-related work. His expertise spans a broad range of issues from early childhood development and education reform to social justice. Working with family foundations to some of the nation’s largest funders such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Parker has helped shape their strategic plans, giving priorities, and communications strategies. He enjoys working with philanthropists and nonprofits to help them take their nascent ideas or programs, develop an appropriate plan for growth, and nurture the model into a successful vehicle for positive social change. Over his career, Parker has served in a variety of capacities, from grassroots organizer and nonprofit executive to business leader and grantmaker. These experiences have made him comfortable with change, exploring new ideas and strategies, and bringing new programs, initiatives, and ventures to scale.
Kaci Patterson brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Always with an eye toward human and community development, Kaci works with philanthropic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and public entities to design, operationalize and manage strategic racial justice initiatives from concept to implementation.
Prior to consulting, Kaci held entry-to-executive-level roles within the nonprofit sector, leading capacity building, education advocacy, and social justice initiatives where she facilitated networks of organizations and served over 1,000 civil society leaders and public officials worldwide. In addition to managing multi-million-dollar grant-making portfolios in the United States and abroad, Kaci has created programs recognized as breakthrough contributions in her field: the School Boards and Community Engagement Initiative (2011), B.L.A.C.C. (Building Leaders and Cultivating Change), a grassroots social activism fund (2014), and the Black Equity Initiative/Black Equity Collective (2017/2021). She has received several community and philanthropic awards for her work and was selected into the 2019 inaugural class of The Aspen Institute Civil Society Fellowship.
She has served as the Chief Strategist of the Black Equity Initiative since its inception in 2017, a racial justice philanthropic initiative she designed, and now serves as the Founder and Chief Architect of the Black Equity Collective, which launched in 2021 under her leadership. Kaci also leads the philanthropic engagement efforts of the AAIMM Prevention Initiative in her role as Senior Director for the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment and as a Strategic Liaison for the Center for Strategic Partnerships.
Kaci sits on the board of Social Justice Partners—Los Angeles, Tides Advocacy, and is a state commissioner in the Department of Consumer Affairs. She is a certified mediator, a graduate of Pepperdine, and holds an MBA in Organizational Management & Leadership from the University of LaVerne.
Steve specializes in crafting communications and public affairs strategies that leverage the strengths and resources of his clients. His expertise includes persuasive writing, coalition building, opinion and speech writing, social media, and grant writing, along with specialized expertise in media relations and crisis communications. A Partner at public affairs firm California Strategies, Steve spent more than a decade as a reporter, editor, and columnist in California and Washington, D.C. His career as a journalist gave Steve 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, Steve and his wife live in Mar Vista.
Mary brings over three decades of program management experience at non-profits, funder collaboratives, technology, and media companies. Mary is currently the Program Manager for the LA Partnership, where she provides day-to-day program support to the collaborative. Mary has served a variety of local, state, and national nonprofit organizations, providing financial management, event planning, grant writing, technical assistance, and program management services. Prior to her work with the LA Partnership, Mary worked as a Senior Producer with the Walt Disney Company’s online team and before moving to Los Angeles, she spent her career in Washington, D.C. working as a project manager for an international trade association and as a producer for Philips Media Educational Software.
Araceli Sandoval-Gonzalez is a mission-driven consultant with expertise in public relations, policy analysis, government affairs, philanthropic fund management, and grant-writing. She has two decades of experience championing education and social justice issues at the local, state, and national levels. Her tenacity and keen ability to cultivate relationships have resulted in several local and state budgetary and policy wins for early care and education, transitional kindergarten, expanded TK, teacher professional development, and maternal mental health. Araceli began her career working for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, California Association for Bilingual Education, and Early Edge California.
Araceli currently serves on the LAUSD Facilities Bond Oversight Committee as an executive member is the Board Chairwoman for East Los Angeles Community Corp (ELACC), an affordable housing non-profit, and is also a board member for Latinas Lead California. She earned dual bachelor’s degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge.
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.