OUR board chair

Leadership transitions are never easy, and successful transitions are indicators of organizational prosperity. In 2023, the California Community Foundation (CCF) is experiencing two significant transitions, but our success is assured because of the tremendous dedication of the CCF staff, whose commitment to Los Angeles County is unmatched anywhere, and because of a similar devotion to the success of our region regularly shown by CCF donors, grantees and other critical partners. The animating energy of Los Angeles imbues everything that this great organization does.

The first transition arrived, unwelcome, in May when the chair of the Board of Directors, the Honorable Gloria Molina, passed away at the age of 74. Already an iconic force in LA from her long service on the County Board of Supervisors, Gloria brought her characteristic unbreakable commitment to community and tenacious advocacy of smart policy to the Board; it was no surprise that she rose quickly to board leadership. We will all miss Gloria’s personal kindness and warmth, demonstrated by her many thoughtful words and gestures. There is no denying that this transition has been difficult. In recognition of Gloria’s contributions, the CCF Board has named the boardroom in our new permanent home in her honor.

Of course, the other transition, to occur formally in the fall of 2023, is in the office of the president of CCF. After 19 years of devoted leadership, Antonia Hernández will be leaving CCF for a very well-earned retirement. While it is difficult­—indeed nearly impossible—to see Antonia depart CCF, this transition will be a success for two reasons. First, Antonia’s success, and evident joy in the job, attracted an extraordinarily well-qualified pool of interested potential successors. After a thorough search and selection process, the board has appointed a successor with unmatched potential, Miguel A. Santana,
who has long had close ties to both Gloria and Antonia.

The second guarantor of a successful transition lies in CCF’s current position of strength and stability. Antonia leaves CCF in an enviable financial condition, with a growing pool of donors, a fully paid new home in downtown Los Angeles and a staff that would be the envy of any foundation in the world. Antonia has also ensured that CCF will forever be an activist foundation, using policy advocacy and convening leverage to tackle the most difficult social problems facing any urban community. She has changed this foundation’s DNA, with enduring future payoffs for the community to which we are all committed.

Antonia’s great success came through her ability to forge partnerships with a diverse set of donors, board members, staff, and organizational partners. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I proudly salute and thank Antonia and her supportive family, as well as all of her numerous colleagues in the work

Thomas A. Saenz
President & General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund