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Justin Steele

Justin Steele

Justin Steele

SFF Trustee, and Director,, Americas
Why do you do what you do?

I grew up acutely aware of the opportunity divide that exists in this country. On my father’s side of the family, we’re only a few generations removed from slavery in the Carolinas. On my mother’s side of the family, we’re European immigrants who migrated to the western United States in search of land to farm and metals to mine. Despite both sides of my family being engaged in similar trades, the wealth and opportunity gap I witnessed across the divides of race and class in my own family raised deep questions for me growing up. On which side of these lines did I belong? I’ve always enjoyed puzzling my way through how things work, and while a curious mind took me to engineering and business school to get better at wrestling with complexity, my lived experience has drawn me to the social sector and the fight for justice in socially and economically excluded communities.

What drew you to serving on the board?

I have long admired the work of the San Francisco Foundation, particularly its commitment to racial equity and economic inclusion. In my role leading Google’s philanthropy in the U.S., I have had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of the staff and grantees of the foundation, and I have always come away impressed and moved by their work. My wife and I are also raising our three daughters in Oakland, and I want to ensure our family is both connected to the community here and doing our part to strengthen it.

How would you describe your role as a board member?

I’m excited to serve as a bridge between technology companies and SFF. I also aspire to share what I have learned working at the intersections of philanthropy, business, and nonprofit leadership.

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