Elena Chávez Quezada
Vice President of Programs
Why do you do what you do?
I’m a third-generation Mexican American from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m here because of my parents and the generations before them who sacrificed everything so that their descendants could live happy and fulfilling lives — regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, etc. I want to pay it forward and ensure that future generations can reach their full potential. I believe this is a moral imperative, and it also happens to be good for the country and for the economy!
What drew you to the foundation?
I was drawn to the foundation’s bold and unwavering commitment to racial and economic equity. It has embraced this messy and important journey in a very public way. While many philanthropic players maintain a risk-averse approach to grantmaking and tough social issues (despite the fact that sector generally has the least to lose!), I appreciate how the foundation puts itself out there and is willing to tackle some of the most uncomfortable realities of our time.
How would you describe your role?
My primary responsibility is to ensure that the Program Division advances the equity agenda through internal collaboration, centering grantees, and engaging key community partners.
Are you involved in any volunteer activities?
I’m the founding partner and advisor for the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative, I’m on the leadership council for Immigrants Rising, I’m the board co-chair for the Asset Funders Network, I’m the head of investments for the Chavez Family Foundation, and I’m a member and mayoral appointee of the San Francisco Citizen’s Committee on Community Development.