Racial Equity Forum: Philanthropy and Government - LA

Council on Foundations and National League of Cities will convene three conversations across the United States on racial equity. With support from the Lumina Foundation, philanthropic and government leaders will come together to raise awareness about the social impact of structural racism while highlighting current efforts to dissolve and resolve racial conflict and disparity. Elected and appointed city, county, and state officials will join philanthropists in a panel discussion to identify how philanthropy and government can take actions that confront and dismantle structural racism.


  • 9:00 - 9:30 a.m. — Networking Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. — Racial Equity Forum
  • 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. — Q&A


Lauren Padilla-ValverdeLauren Padilla-Valverde
Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment

Ms. Padilla-Valverde, a physician assistant and health educator practioning family medicine, women’s health and homeless health for 25 years, is Senior Program Manager overseeing the strategic grantmaking in Salinas as part of the 10-year Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative. Lauren has supported the development of leadership at the grassroots and systems level to address structural root causes of health inequities through a healing informed, racial justice lens. Her grantmaking strategy has focused on the application of a racial justice lens through an investment in the leadership of those most impacted by systemic inequities. This racial justice vision has now expanded regionally and in early 2018, East Salinas BHC launched Towards a Racially Equitable Monterey County, an ecosystem of stakeholders in government, philanthropy, business and resident leaders working to internalize and deepen racially equity as a core value to realize systems transformation. Her vision for racially equitable system change in government, education, and philanthropy are informing the field of philanthropy. Prior to TCE, Padilla-Valverde was professor, director and chair of the Joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Master of Public Health Program at Touro University-California. There, she oversaw the development of an innovated program that graduates health care providers in both medicine and public health with a focus on increasing health professionals of color who are from disinvested communities in California. The program is a national model in PA education and continues to graduate a high number of students of color who continue to work California’s health professional shortage areas to this day.


Crystal CrawfordCrystal Crawford, JD
Program Director, The California Wellness Foundation

Crystal D. Crawford is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation where she currently manages grantmaking related to diversity in the health professions; women of color at risk for, or living with, HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections; and employment for women who have been incarcerated. Her responsibilities include reviewing letters of interest, requesting and evaluating grant proposals, conducting site visits, making funding recommendations and monitoring active grants. Prior to joining Cal Wellness in August 2012, Crawford was CEO of the California Black Women’s Health Project (CABWHP), the only statewide organization solely devoted to improving the health of California’s black women and girls through policy, advocacy, education and outreach. Prior to her role as CEO, she was CABWHP’s director of public policy. Before working in the nonprofit, public interest sector, Crawford was a litigation associate with nationally renowned corporate law firms in Los Angeles, Boston and New York, as well as a public school teacher.


Karen Freeman-WilsonMayor Karen Freeman-Wilson
Mayor of Gary, Indiana

Karen Freeman-Wilson has been the Mayor of her hometown of Gary, Indiana since January 2012 becoming the first female to lead the city of Gary and the first African-American female Mayor in the state of Indiana. Inheriting a city with decades of decline, she has taken a multi-faceted approach toward an overall renaissance in the city.  In addition to focusing on traditional steel; logistics and manufacturing to drive job creation and economic development, the success of arts and cultural projects in the city have contributed to enhance the quality of place in Gary. 

Mayor Freeman-Wilson is the First Vice President of the National League of Cities, serves on the NLC Board Executive Committee, Co-Chair of the Presidential Task Force and the REAL (Race  Equity and Leadership) Council.  She previously chaired NLC’s Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee and served as second Vice President of the NLC Leadership and Board of Directors in 2016.  Mayor Freeman-Wilson is also Chairperson of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Mayors/Police Chiefs Working Group on Police Community Relations.  Freeman-Wilson is a member of the USCM Advisory Board and chaired the committee that authored the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ publication on building police and community trust.


Mayor Betsy HodgesMayor Betsy Hodges
Former Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Betsy Hodges was the 47th mayor of Minneapolis. In her role as mayor, she focused on three clear goals: running the city well, growing a great city and increasing equity. Her priorities were ensuring the City works well for everyone and that all people can contribute to – and benefit from – the growth and prosperity of Minneapolis.

Some of Mayor Hodges' key initiatives included: her Cradle to K Cabinet, creating a Zero Waste Minneapolis, improving police-community relations, and helping small businesses thrive.

A speaker, writer, and consultant, Mayor Hodges currently serves as a Senior Advisor for Cities United, a consultant to organizations working with cities to improve equitable outcomes for people of color. Mayor Hodges recently served as a Residential Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.  


This event is made possible thanks to our co-host, National League of Cities, and our sponsor, Lumina Foundation.

National League of Cities LogoLumina Foundation Logo