The Rosenberg Foundation today announced the election of Benjamin Todd Jealous, President of People For the American Way, as the new Chair of the Board of Directors. Lateefah Simon, President of the Akonadi Foundation and member of the BART Board of Directors, was elected as the Board’s Vice Chair and Secretary. Phyllis Cook was elected Second Vice Chair and Bob Friedman was elected Board Treasurer.
“We are excited to have this incredibly strong leadership team, including two nationally recognized civil rights and racial justice leaders at the helm of our Board of Directors,” said Tim Silard, President of the Rosenberg Foundation. ”These visionary leaders bring decades of experience fighting for a more just and equitable California and world. Especially in this moment, their expertise and leadership is invaluable to shaping a transformative racial justice agenda for philanthropy that moves and responds in deep partnership with communities most impacted by injustice.”
Ben is a seasoned nonprofit executive with years of experience as a coalition builder and campaigner for social justice. Previously President of the Rosenberg Foundation, in 2008, he was chosen as the youngest-ever President and CEO of the national NAACP. During his tenure, he doubled the organization’s budget, grew its online activist base by hundreds of thousands, and increased its donors. Ben also positioned the NAACP at the forefront of critical social justice issues, such as the Trayvon Martin case, the fight against voter ID laws, and major protests over the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies. In 2013, the Baltimore Sun named him Marylander of the Year for his work on marriage equality, abolishing the death penalty, and passing the DREAM Act. Ben was the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland, and recently served as a partner at Kapor Capital. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford University.
Lateefah has been the President of Akonadi Foundation since 2016. That same year, she was elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors and served as President. She was elected to a second term in November 2020. Since 2015, Lateefah also has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the California State University, the nation’s largest public university system, and state officials often turn to her for strategic advice on policy matters related to racial justice. Lateefah previously served as Program Director at the Rosenberg Foundation. She previously held the position of Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and spearheaded San Francisco’s first reentry anti-recidivism youth services division under the then-District Attorney Kamala Harris leadership. Before serving in this role, Lateefah became—at the age of 19—the Executive Director of the Center for Young Women’s Development (now named the Young Women’s Freedom Center), a position she held for 11 years. She is the youngest woman to receive the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award for her leadership at the Young Women’s Freedom Center.
About the Rosenberg Foundation: The Rosenberg Foundation is an independent, grantmaking foundation committed to ensuring that every person in California has an equal opportunity to participate fully in the state’s economic, social, and political life. Created in 1935 through the bequest of California business leader Max L. Rosenberg, the Foundation has provided more than 3,000 grants totaling more than $85 million to regional, statewide and national organizations advocating for social and economic justice throughout California. For more information please visit www.rosenbergfound.org.