May 24, 2022

Julián Castro and Megan Ming Francis join Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors

Former U.S. Sec. of Housing & Urban Development and Freedom Scholar Bring Decades of Valuable Research and Experience Fighting for Justice

SEATTLE (May 24, 2022) — Today, Marguerite Casey Foundation (MCF) announced that  Julián Castro, former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the youngest mayor of San Antonio, and Dr. Megan Ming Francis, associate professor of Political Science at the University of Washington and former Marguerite Casey Foundation Freedom Scholar, will join the board of directors. Both Sec. Castro and Dr. Francis bring valuable research and experience to help fulfill the foundation’s mission of building power for communities that continue to be excluded from shaping how society works and from sharing in its rewards and freedoms.

“Former Secretary Castro offers tremendous experience and an insider perspective on what it takes to make sure our democracy works for all people of our nation, not just for corporations and billionaires,” said Dr. Carmen Rojas, MCF’s president and CEO. “Dr. Francis’ inspiring ideas on the role of racial violence in our country’s politics encourages us all to confront systemic racism and imagine how we can radically improve our society. We are excited to welcome both of these amazing leaders to our board as we continue to support organizations at the forefront of building a truly representative democracy and economy."

Castro served as HUD secretary from 2014 to 2017, after serving as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014, making him the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city at that time. In his historic run for president in 2020, Castro outlined a vision for the United States where the government serves and is accountable to the will of the people. Today, he continues to tackle important issues as a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and through his podcast Our America with Julián Castro

“I’m honored to join this group of leaders using the full force of philanthropy to support organizations fighting for a just democracy and a just society,” said Castro. “Together, we will work to make racial and economic justice for people the priority.”

Castro joins the board this month as Angela Diaz, MD, PhD, MPH completes her ten-year term, which includes serving on the board as vice-chair for the last year. Dr. Diaz also serves as director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the dean of Global Health, Social Justice, and Human Rights and Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor for Departments of Pediatrics, Global Health and Health Systems Design and Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  

Specializing in the study of American politics, with broad interests in criminal punishment, Black political activism, and racial justice philanthropy, Dr. Francis challenges American assumptions around the root causes of state-sanctioned violence against Black people and advocates for solutions. Her research and commentary has been featured in her award-winning book, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State and her popular TEDx talk. She is currently working on a second book that examines the role of the criminal punishment system in the rebuilding of southern political and economic power after the Civil War.

“As a Freedom Scholar award recipient in 2020, joining the MCF board just two years later is truly a full circle moment for me,” said Dr. Francis. “I look forward to supporting the next generation of leaders in academia shaping our nation and to continue working on initiatives focused on shifting the balance of power in society.”

Dr. Francis will start her tenure in January of 2023, as Melody Barnes, the current board chair, finishes her term. Barnes, the executive director of the Karsh Institute of Democracy at the University of Virginia, has served on the board since 2012, and as the board chair since May 2020, and will complete her term in December 2022.

Former Sec. Castro and Dr. Francis join existing board members Stacey Abrams, Chad Boettcher, Ellis Carr, Janeen Comenote, Marisa Franco, Ian Fuller, Dr. Rami Nashashibi, Rashad Robinson, Zeke Smith, and Dr. Jack Thomas.

Marguerite Casey Foundation’s board of directors will continue to take bold action and think creatively about the role foundations can play to advance a racially just democracy and economy.

About Marguerite Casey Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation supports leaders, scholars and initiatives focused on shifting the balance of power in society — building power for communities that continue to be excluded from shaping how society works and from sharing in its rewards and freedoms. Our board members, leadership, and staff are committed to building a just economy and fully realized democracy, and to providing unfettered support to the bold strategies and leadership that are required to bring about major change in our lifetime. 

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