CRISTINA JIMÉNEZ, Chair
A Hazen Trustee since 2016, Cristina Jiménez is co-founder and Director of United We Dream (UWD). The largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country. Originally from Ecuador, Cristina came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 13, attending high school and college as an undocumented student. She was part of UWD’s campaign team that led to the historic victory of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 that protects over one million young immigrants from deportation and the recent administrative program (DAPA) that protects up to 5 million people from deportation.
Cristina is one of Forbes’s 2014 “30 under 30 in Law and Policy;” was named one of “40 under 40 Young Leaders Who are Solving Problems of Today and Tomorrow” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy; and one of “50 Fearless Women” by Cosmopolitan. She has more than 10 years of experience organizing and advocating for immigrant communities at the local and national levels. She co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the Dream Mentorship Program at Queens College, was an immigration policy analyst for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at Make the Road New York. Cristina holds a Masters degree in Public Administration & Public Policy from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Queens College, CUNY.
ALBERTO RETANA, Vice Chair
Alberto Retana is the President and CEO of Community Coalition, a mass based nonprofit organization in South Los Angeles that empowers residents to transform their communities, improve education, and reimagine public safety.
Community Coalition has broken new ground under Alberto’s guidance. The organization recently published the People First Platform, a policy agenda informed by over 4200 adults and youth, to equitably move resources to highest need communities, re-imagine our criminal justice system, and transform the built environment in South LA. He also built Community Coalition’s cultural arm, including: PowerFest—South LA’s premier political concert; People Power Convention—an annual convening engaging residents through plenary sessions; and Re-Imagine Justice—a living art exhibit marking the 25th anniversary of the 1992 LA Uprising. In 2018, Community Coalition was selected by the City of LA to organize the embRACE LA inaugural dinner series, and mobilized over 1200 Angelinos to discuss race and equity.Alberto’s leadership has been recognized by Los Angeles Business Journal’s as one of LA’s 500 Most Influential People, and ACLU’s Educational Equity Award. He is currently on Advancement Project California’s Board of Directors. Alberto also completed Rockwood’s “Leading from the Inside Out” fellowship in 2017 and the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity in 2018.
LORI BEZAHLER, Secretary
As President of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Lori Bezahler leads a national grant making program supporting organizing and leadership by young people and communities of color to dismantle structural inequity based on race and class. During 2013, Ms. Bezahler was also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion and she currently chairs the board of Race Forward. Her writing and commentary have appeared in The Nation, TIME Magazine, the Washington Post, Foundation Review, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Journal of Responsive Philanthropy, and on numerous blogs and other media outlets. With over 20 years’ experience as a leader in the not for profit sector, she has served on several boards including Grantmakers for Education, the National Center on Schools and Communities at Fordham University, Philanthropy New York, and the Center for Community Alternatives, and has taught as an adjunct assistant professor at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.
STEVE FAHRER, Treasurer
Steve Fahrer is a founding principal of Veris Wealth Partners. He has been providing sustainable investment advisory and wealth management services since 1994. Steve specializes in financial consulting, portfolio management and community impact investing across all asset classes. Prior to Veris, he co-founded the New York office of Progressive Asset Management, the first full-service broker/dealer to focus on socially responsible investing.
Mara Casey Tieken is an assistant professor of education at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Her research focuses on racial and educational equity in rural schools and communities. Her book Why rural schools matter (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) is an ethnographic study of two rural southern communities; it examines how rural schools define and sustain their surrounding communities. Mara is currently working on a multi-year project, supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation, that explores the college aspirations, transitions, and persistence of rural, first-generation students. Before receiving her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Mara taught third grade at a public elementary school in rural Tennessee.
A Hazen Trustee since 2016, Rashad Robinson is the Executive Director of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. As a force driven by over one million members, Color Of Change moves decision makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people, and all people. Rashad has developed winning strategies to change the rules of many fields affecting Black people’s lives: employment and the economy, voting and politics, news and entertainment, criminal justice. He has appeared in hundreds of media outlets including ABC, CNN, MSNBC, BET, NPR, The New York Times and Huffington Post. He was a 2015 EBONY Magazine “Power 100” honoree, and on “The Root 100” for the last six years. Fast Company named Color Of Change the 6th Most Innovative Company in the world (2015), and the Stanford Social Innovation Review profiled its strategies for “pursuing the fight for racial justice at Internet speed” in both online and offline venues.
Lorella Praeli is a freedom fighter, movement builder, and adaptive athlete.
She is the President of Community Change Action and Vice President of Community Change. Lorella is passionate about building collective power to win transformative policy change at all levels of government, so that people can thrive. Most recently, she was the ACLU’s Deputy National Political Director, where she fought to defend and expand the rights of immigrants and refugees. Prior to joining the ACLU, Lorella mobilized the Latinx vote as Hillary Clinton’s National Latino Vote Director.
Lorella moved from Peru to Connecticut with her family at the age of ten. Her life was transformed after coming out as “undocumented and unafraid” and organizing undocumented students to step into their power in Connecticut. She then served as United We Dream’s Director of Advocacy and Policy, where she led the campaign to implement DACA and was part of the team that persuaded the Obama administration to protect four million undocumented Americans through DAPA.
Lorella is a proud Latina who believes that we will win.
A legal professional, transformative justice strategist and daughter of the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Nubia Lumumba is executive director of the People’s Advocacy Institute, co-coordinator of the Electoral Justice Project and co-manager of the Committee to Elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba for Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. She works at the intersections of criminal justice and electoral justice defending the human rights of those behind prison walls, engaging communities in community-led governance efforts, People’s Assemblies, alternatives to incarceration initiatives, and an intentional grassroots process for cultivating ideas and developing solutions to crime, punitive legal systems and social injustice facing far too many communities. Her work is centered on the belief that community agency is what architects robust systems change and is what is needed to build new institutional power that paves the way for a more just system rooted in restoration, resilience and community-led governance.
Hashim Benford is a father, spouse, and revolutionary with over a decade of experience in organizing and activism. Prior to joining the staff of FCYO, he served for nearly four years as the Executive Director of Power U Center for Social Change, a grassroots organization that develops the leadership of Black and Latino youth and Black women as part of the struggle to liberate all oppressed people. Hashim got his initiation into organizing in 2008 at the Miami Workers Center, where he started as a tenant organizer fighting back against slumlords. Hashim is a graduate of Florida International University, having earned his BA in Sociology & Anthropology and an undergraduate certificate in Women’s Studies. He is a dedicated freedom fighter committed to a movement for economic, racial, and gender liberation that transforms society and promotes the healing of our individual and collective traumas.
Sanjiv Rao is director of the foundation’s Civic Engagement and Government program, which seeks to strengthen representation, participation, and leadership in US democracy so that communities have the capacities to shape their futures, animated by principles of dignity, inclusion, and fairness. Sanjiv joined the foundation in 2012 as a program officer, working on what was then the foundation’s education portfolio. Over time, his grant making evolved to focus on youth organizing, civic engagement, and leadership development. In his current role, Sanjiv builds on his past work within and outside the foundation by emphasizing ideas that are particularly relevant to Civic Engagement and Government: stitching together civil society organizations more effectively with public systems, supporting community-led solutions to systems change, and advancing agendas that center people and their lived experience in shaping inclusive civic spaces and responsive public institutions. Before joining the foundation, Sanjiv served as executive director of the New York State Network for Youth Success, where he led policy efforts to integrate youth development more effectively with the public systems that touch the lives of young people, particularly those from communities of concentrated poverty. Sanjiv began his career as an elementary school teacher in California, Texas, and Mexico. He has also held positions at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and as a member of the research team studying the Ford-funded Leadership for a Changing World program at New York University. Sanjiv has a PhD in public administration from New York University, a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles.