TCE Announces New Program Director Team That Will Lead Upcoming 10- Year Plan

LOS ANGELES – The state’s largest health foundation today announced the new program management team that will lead the foundation work on the “Beyond 2020 Plan,” a 10-year plan which commences April 1, 2021. The upcoming plan will emphasize the support of power building as a strategy to achieve racial equity in health in California. Today’s announcement is the first phase of the foundation’s staff transition process, where additional program staff will move into new roles.

“These individuals were selected based not only on their depth of knowledge, experience and past leadership on strategy development and implementation for The Endowment’s past work, but also for their unwavering commitment to racial equity in health,” said Robert K. Ross, MD, president and CEO, The California Endowment.

The new program director team members are as follows:

Raymond A Colmenar, Managing Director: Inclusive Development and North Region

In his new position, Raymond Colmenar will be responsible for shaping and overseeing The Endowment’s statewide strategy for promoting Inclusive Community Development; and leading and supporting The Endowment’s regional team in the Bay Area and Northern California.  Previously, Mr. Colmenar served as a Director for Healthy California, the foundation’s statewide team on policy.  Prior to joining The Endowment, Ray was an associate director at PolicyLink, a leading national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity.  Ray has also served as senior research associate with The Rockefeller Foundation, executive director for the South of Market Problem Solving Council, and as a policy analyst for the San Francisco Department of Human Services.  He received a bachelor’s degree in Management Science from the University of California, San Diego; and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.  A resident of Albany, California, Colmenar lives with his wife Fatima Angeles, daughter Isabela and son Alessandro.

Steve Eldred, Managing Director: Health Systems, Southern Region

Steve Eldred will lead the foundation’s Southern California regional team and will be responsible for managing statewide strategy for Health Systems.  He has 19 years of experience with The Endowment in the Communities First, Health Disparities, and Building Healthy Communities programs.  Steve is based in The Endowment’s San Diego office. Steve has served on the Board of San Diego Grantmakers for the past eight years, and in leadership roles in a number of philanthropic collaborations, including the Binational Immigration Workgroup, Social Equity Collaborative Fund, San Diego Neighborhood Funders, Orange County Health Funders Partnership, and San Diego Grantmakers’ Coming Home To Stay prison reentry task force. Prior to joining The Endowment, Steve served as Health Planning and Program Specialist for the San Diego County Department of Health Service’s Office of AIDS Coordination; as Senior Planner for the Hawaii Governor’s Committee on AIDS and Hawaii Department of Health Services; and as a Program Director for the Quileute Indian Nation.  Steve is a San Diego native and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Tamu Jones, Managing Director: Justice Reinvestment and Los Angeles Region

In her new role, Tamu Jones will be responsible for managing The Endowment’s statewide justice reinvestment strategy.  She will also lead a team of program staff who will develop grantmaking strategies for the greater Los Angeles region. Since joining The California Endowment in 2011, Tamu has promoted health equity by directing grant-making portfolios to support grassroots power building, policy advocacy and systems change at the local, regional and statewide level. In her previous role as Senior Program Manager with the statewide justice team, she helped to design and implement grant-making strategies to advance a community-defined vision of healing, justice and safety that is focused on redirecting resources from punishment to prevention. Embedded in this approach is a recognition that repairing the racialized harm of criminalization and mass incarceration is necessary to create the conditions that ensure all Californians can thrive. For more than six years, Tamu also oversaw the grantmaking strategy for the South Los Angeles site of The Endowment’s 10-year place-based initiative, Building Healthy Communities.  Prior to joining The California Endowment, Tamu was a program officer at the California Community Foundation where she directed and managed the foundation’s health portfolio.  Before entering the field of philanthropy, she worked for eight years in public health with the City of Pasadena Public Health Department and Contra Costa County Health Services Department where she coordinated and managed health improvement initiatives and policy development projects which relied on strategic collaborations with community to address issues such as violence prevention, substance use prevention and access to care. Tamu received her B.A. in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Public Health and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University.

Judi Larsen, Managing Director: CEO Office

In her new role, Judi Larsen will be responsible for overseeing the grant making and strategy implementation for the CEO office which includes – CEO Reserve, Board Grants, Disaster Response, Program Related Investment (PRI) that supports vital community infrastructure grants, and the President’s Youth Council.  She has worked for The California Endowment at the local level in San Diego, Imperial, and Orange counties to ensure kids of color and low-income kids are supported and successful in schools. Her recent work includes the implementation of the PRI strategy, the Endowment’s statewide strategy and the Spread and Scale strategy (in Kern, Sacramento, San Diego and Monterey) with a focus on a health and racial equity framework. Judi has worked on community health projects for the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and Community Pediatrics in partnership with a range of community-based organizations and worked to develop coalitions to tackle health disparities with a broad range of stakeholders. She has worked on a range of school-based health projects, including advancing youth and parent participation in school decision making and elevating the Local Control Funding Formula work as an element of The Endowment’s school work, advancing health and wellness policy and environmental strategies such as better nutrition in schools. She is committed to the role and leadership of community residents to advance and advocate for solutions to improve their community towards health and racial justice. She is an alumnus of San José State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and completed her Master of Public Health in Health Promotion at San Diego State University.  She has completed two certificate programs in Health Executive Leadership at University of California, San Diego and Nonprofit Management and Leadership at the University of San Diego.

Lauren Padilla-Valverde, Director, Racial Equity Practice & Culture

In her new role, Lauren will oversee organization wide development of an anti-racist practice to more fully operationalize the foundation’s core values and be in deeper service to the people of California.  Since 2009, Lauren has served as senior program manager for the Salinas Valley and Monterey County, overseeing the grantmaking strategy as part of the foundation’s Building Healthy Communities initiative. Her grantmaking has centered the application of a healing informed, racial justice lens through an investment in the leadership of those most impacted by inequities. With her leadership, the approach expanded regionally and in 2018 East Salinas BHC launched Toward a Racially Equitable Monterey County, an ecosystem of stakeholders in government, philanthropic and resident leadership working to deepen racially equity practices central to advancing systems transformation. Before entering the field of philanthropy, Lauren practiced family medicine and homeless health for 10 years and served as director of the Joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Master of Public Health Program at Touro University-California.   Prior to Touro, Lauren served as senior health sciences analyst for UC Office of the President.  Lauren is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, Stanford University and Pace University.  She grew up in rural Monterey County, California and is the proud daughter of Guatemalan immigrants who came the US in 1969 and who worked in the first winery ranches of the region.  She lives in West Sacramento with her husband Jeremy and is a proud parent of Stella Magdalena.

Castle Redmond, J.D., Managing Director: Schools and Central Region

In his new role, Castle Redmond is responsible for developing policy and funding strategies to transform California’s public-school system, while dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, and regional strategies for improving health outcomes for residents of the Central Valley and Central Coast of California. Prior to being named Managing Director, Castle led The Endowment’s Sons & Brothers Campaign, a statewide policy and funding strategy to improve health outcomes for boys and young men of color in California and co-led The Endowment’s Advancing Racial Equity initiative, a foundation-wide, anti-racism framework development process. Castle came to The Endowment in 2011 after nine years working as a program manager and teacher with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). While with OUSD, Castle oversaw the City of Oakland’s Juvenile Justice Center Wraparound Strategy and collaborated with Alameda County Probation on reforms to the juvenile justice system. Castle also participated in OUSD’s first restorative justice pilot program at Cole Middle School in West Oakland. An Oakland resident, Castle earned his B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and his law degree from Georgetown University.

Dr. Sandra Witt, Managing Director: Power Infrastructure Statewide

In her new role, Dr. Sandra Witt will lead the new team responsible for working collaboratively with community and philanthropic partners to grow a statewide power-building infrastructure for transformative change that advances racial and health justice.   Dr. Sandra Witt has been with The Endowment for nearly 10 years serving as Director, Healthy Communities, North, for the 10-year Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Initiative. In that capacity, she was responsible for advancing the vision, strategic direction, and supporting colleagues in meeting the goals and outcomes of the place- based BHC efforts in Northern California. She has served as the co-lead and founder of the internal staff Equity and Inclusion workgroup.  Currently, she also supports the Advancing Racial Equity internal planning efforts and is co-lead of the internal reorganization process underway to support the implementation of The Endowment’s upcoming Beyond 2020 10-year plan.   Before coming to TCE, Sandra was employed by The Alameda County Public Health Department for over 14 years where she served first as an Epidemiologist – Community Researcher, then as Director, Community Assessment, Planning, Education and Evaluation Unit, and subsequently as Deputy Director, Planning, Policy and Health Equity. Sandra previously worked for the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada on international public health initiatives in Latin America, Africa and Asia.  Sandra holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University in Sociology, MA in Latin American Studies (Anthropology) from the University of Florida and MPH and Doctorate in Public Health degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Much of her academic research has been in Ecuador, the birthplace of her parents. Sandra has two children and lives with her husband in the East Bay.

About The California Endowment

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention.


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