Kay Fernandez Smith

Assistant Vice President of Programs

Kay Fernandez Smith is an established leader with extensive cross-sector experience working in community based organizations, public agencies, and philanthropy to advance racial and economic equity through advocacy, public policy, and strategy. As the Assistant Vice President of Programs at The San Francisco Foundation, she leads the day-to-day management of the Foundation’s racial and economic equity strategy, develops teams, and strengthens the department’s overall operations and culture by promoting collaboration, and partnership within the Program Department, and across the Foundation. Kay is responsible for the integrated implementation of the regional equity strategy to reach population-level impacts, and she manages the Foundation’s first strategic learning and evaluation unit. Kay also oversees the Multicultural Fellowship Program, and her grantmaking portfolio includes responsive grants and restricted trusts.

Prior to the Foundation, Kay was Director of Community Benefits and Social Responsibility at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she developed the country’s first community benefits and environmental justice program administered by a large public utility. She hired and managed high-performing teams to develop strategies, implement programs, and make community investments to improve the lives of low-income communities and people of color throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area region. She also worked as Deputy Director at PolicyLink, where she launched the Promise Neighborhoods Institute, a national intermediary focused on supporting antipoverty programs modeled focused on the academic and life success of children.

Kay holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Bachelor in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley. She was a Fulbright Hayes Scholar to the Philippines, and Alumnae of the Greenlining Fellowship and John Gardner Public Service Fellowship. She serves as Board Chair of Forward Together.  Kay lives in Oakland, California with her husband, Allen, and children, Malcolm and Malaya.