Alex M. Johnson is a new program director at the California Wellness Foundation (CWF). In this position, he will be focused on overseeing grantmaking with the purpose of violence prevention and safety. Fittingly, Johnson arrives at CWF from Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ), an L.A.-based nonprofit that works to create safer neighborhoods and a more equitable justice system. As the managing director there, he led efforts to end over-incarceration and overhauled the organization’s safety program priorities to better focus on prevention and public health. Prior to his time at CSJ, Johnson served as executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-California where he led advocacy, programming, organization and policy initiatives across the state aimed at increasing access to healthcare for low income families, promoting educational equity, combatting child poverty and reforming the juvenile justice system.
Johnson’s educational background is in law. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College before going to American University’s Washington College of Law to earn his J.D., after which he passed the bar to become a lawyer. The same year he graduated he became Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, an amazing feat for anyone that early in their career. After a few years, he would go on to become a lead attorney at New York City’s Department of Education in its Office of General Counsel. It was after this job that he would accept a position in California and move across the country to serve as Assistant Senior Deputy for Public Safety and Education in the Office of the Los Angeles County Supervisor for nearly four years before his acceptance of the leadership position at the Children’s Defense Fund. “For the past 18 years, Alex has been working one way or another to advance equity for underrepresented groups,” stated Fatima Angeles, Vice President of Programs in a press release from CWF about the hiring. “He has a passion for justice, and he will continue to be a force for good in this new role. We are fortunate to have him on our team.” Alex M. Johnson assumed the responsibilities of program director at CWF on June 4, 2018.