June 1, 2020

Marguerite Casey Foundation celebrates new President & CEO Dr. Carmen Rojas and legacy of longtime leader Luz Vega-Marquis

First-ever Latina to Latina transition in major philanthropy accompanied by Vice President hires

SEATTLE (June 1, 2020) — Today, Marguerite Casey Foundation celebrates the first-ever Latina to Latina leadership transition at a national foundation as Dr. Carmen Rojas assumes the role of President & CEO from retiring President & CEO Luz Vega-Marquis, who led the organization for nearly 20 years. The Foundation also welcomes two new accomplished Vice Presidents- Jonathan Jayes-Green, who will serve as VP of Programs, and Rhonda Carter, who will serve as VP of Culture and Operations.

Marguerite Casey Foundation’s work is focused on supporting leaders to nurture a national movement of low-income families. Under Luz’s leadership, Marguerite Casey Foundation has invested more than $450 million in organizations overwhelmingly led by Black, Indigenous, immigrants, and people of color. More than 85 percent of Marguerite Casey Foundation grantees are organizations led by people of color and 60 percent of the staff as well as 82 percent of the board are people of color.

Dr. Carmen Rojas takes over at the helm from Luz, becoming the youngest and only Latina President of a nationally endowed foundation in the United States. For more than 20 years, Dr. Rojas has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and nonprofits to improve the lives of working people across the United States. She founded The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that gives new ideas about increasing worker power a chance to succeed and flourish.

“I am so excited to begin this new role today and grateful to have worked alongside Luz Vega-Marquis during this transition,” says Dr. Rojas. “Under her leadership, Marguerite Casey Foundation has helped make a difference in the lives of so many. She is a trailblazer who has changed our country for the better, modeling how philanthropy can be more accountable to communities that have often been overlooked and underinvested in by philanthropy.“

Today, Marguerite Casey Foundation is also pleased to announce the hiring of Jonathan Jayes-Green, Vice President of Programs, and Rhonda Carter, Vice President of Culture and Operations.

“I am thrilled to begin my tenure as President and CEO with Jonathan Jayes-Green and Rhonda Carter joining our team as Vice Presidents at Marguerite Casey,” says Dr. Rojas. “Jonathan and Rhonda are both committed and talented leaders with track records of advancing racial justice.”

Jonathan Jayes-Green is an accomplished organizer and strategist, and the former National Latinx Outreach Director for the Elizabeth Warren for President Campaign, where they focused on connecting the movement and the campaign in service of building big, structural change for Latinx and immigrant communities. Jonathan is also the Co-Founder and former Founding Director of the UndocuBlack Network (UBN), a multigenerational network of Black undocumented immigrants organizing their own communities and building power. Jonathan has also served in the Office of the Governor of Maryland as the liaison to the Caribbean and Latinx communities. Prior to that, they worked on statewide campaigns and ballot measures like the Dream Act and marriage equality. Jonathan is the first and only undocumented leader to serve in an executive role in a national private foundation in the U.S.

Rhonda M. Carter served as Chief of Staff at Sound Transit, where she was as an advisor to the CEO, and oversaw the Office of the CEO, as well as cross-functional programs and initiatives focused on strategy, culture, equity and inclusion. Rhonda has over 15 years of experience in complex public sector environments, tackling issues at the intersection of policy, process, and people management. From 2009 to 2012, she was an aide in the Office of the White House Counsel, where she worked on judicial nominations, including that of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. From 2012 to 2015, Rhonda was the White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Energy, and from 2015 to 2016, she was Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Prior to her federal service, Rhonda worked as a program coordinator at the University of Washington in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, and as a special assistant for domestic policy at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C.

About Marguerite Casey Foundation

Marguerite Casey Foundation nurtures a national movement of low-income families advocating on their own behalf for change. We invest in grassroots activism that builds the power and voice of families living in poverty to create their own solutions for a more just and equitable society for all. Our grantmaking provides substantial multiyear general support in four regions—the South, Southwest, Midwest, and California—as well as nationally. For more information, please visit https://caseygrants.org. Connect with Marguerite Casey Foundation on Twitter and Facebook.

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