The Marguerite Casey Foundation recently announced Dr. Carmen Rojas, Ph.D. as its next president and CEO.
Rojas joins the foundation from The Workers Lab, a nonprofit she founded in 2014 with a mission to increase worker power across the nation. Before venturing on her own with The Workers Lab, Rojas worked as associate director of program strategies at Living Cities, where she oversaw grantmaking and research initiatives aimed at expanding opportunity to low-income communities in cities across the nation.
Having spent the vast majority of her life and career in California, Rojas earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz before beginning work on a doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.
Concurrently, she worked for the now-dissolved San Francisco Redevelopment Agency as part of a team assessing the reasons for and the socioeconomic impacts of the disappearing black population of the city. She also became a Fulbright Scholar, earning a Human Rights and Department of Housing and Urban Development Fellowship.
Before the completion of her doctorate, Rojas would take a job as director of strategic grantmaking at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation (currently the Kapor Center). Her grantmaking portfolio was focused on civic engagement and green space access for disadvantaged urban families. This role also saw Rojas using the reach of the foundation and its cross-sector partners to help spur broader social movements among low-income communities of color in the areas of racial and climate justice.
After earning her Ph.D. in city and regional planning and ending a three-year stint at the Kapor Center, Rojas then worked as a faculty member at UC Berkeley, fittingly, in its Department of City and Regional Planning. It was after this year in higher education that she moved on to Living Cities.
Already a member of the Marguerite Casey Foundation board, Rojas has a head start as she is familiar with the organization’s goals and operations. She also sits on the boards of the General Service Foundation, Neighborhood Funders Group and the Workers Benefit Fund.
Dr. Carmen Rojas, Ph.D. begins work leading the Marguerite Casey Foundation in 2020. She succeeds founding president and CEO, Luz Vega-Marquis, who has led the organization for 18 years.