Advancement Project Closing the Opportunity Gap


John Kim

Executive Director

John Kim currently serves as Executive Director of Advancement Project’s California office. John works closely with the Founding Co-Directors on the development of new policy research/advocacy initiatives, partnership building, and strategic organizational development efforts.

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Molly Munger

Founding Co-Director

Molly Munger is a co-founder and director of the Advancement Project, a public policy change organization rooted in the civil rights movement. Founded in 1999, Advancement Project engineers large-scale systems change to remedy inequality, expand opportunity and open paths to upward mobility. Molly brings an extensive background of legal expertise to the Advancement Project, including

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Stephen R. English

Secretary & Treasurer; Founding Co-Director, Advancement Project

Before co-founding Advancement Project, a public policy change organization rooted in the civil rights movement, Steve English was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for twelve years, helping manage a 20-lawyer litigation department. Together with Co-Directors Connie Rice and Molly Munger, Steve launched a coalition lawsuit, Godinez v. Davis,

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Constance L. Rice

Founding Co-Director

In her legal work, Connie has led multi-racial coalitions of lawyers and clients to win more than $10 billion in damages and policy changes, through traditional class action civil rights cases redressing police misconduct, race and sex discrimination and unfair public policy in transportation, probation and public housing.

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Ellesse Flores

Legislative Assistant

Ellesse Flores will further the legislative goals of Advancement Project California by providing additional support for the Sacramento Governmental Relations office as Legislative Assistant. She will be responsible for conducting research and analysis, scheduling and other office functions, and developing future Advancement Project conferences and events. She comes to Advancement Project with four years of

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Khydeeja Alam Javid

Director of Governmental Relations

Khydeeja Alam Javid leads the Governmental Relations work for the Advancement Project.   Spearheading the Sacramento office, Khydeeja works on state legislation and budget; she is in constant contact with the state legislature, state agencies and the Governor’s office.  Khydeeja has helped with winning back over $500 million for early care and education programs for

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Jennifer Arceneaux

Grants Manager

As Grant Writer, Jennifer Arceneaux proactively researches traditional and innovative funding opportunities to support and grow Advancement Project’s $14 million budget. Her expertise in grant writing benefits from the five years prior she spent reviewing proposals as Program Officer in Education & Youth Development at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she managed a

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Asad Baig

Budget Analyst

Asad Baig serves as a Budget Analyst for Advancement Project. He monitors Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, and various school district budgets, and provides community-based organizations with the information they need to operate effective campaigns. Asad works with policymakers and advocates to ensure budgets are developed in accordance with community needs, and funding for public and

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Carmen Davis

Administrative Associate

Born and raised in Los Angeles California, Carmen has an AA degree in Business Administration and Fashion Designing. She has worked as an administrative assistant in a variety of administrative offices in the field of Operations, Production, Telecommunications, and has 17 years with Los Angeles County working in the Departments of Public Social Services, Hall

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John Dobard

Manager of Political Voice

John Dobard is Manager of Political Voice at Advancement Project California. He leads efforts to eliminate racial and economic disparities in political participation and government responsiveness through policy advocacy, actionable research, and facilitating data-based collaborative action among community organizers, government officials, and researchers. Previously, John served as Advancement Project California’s Manager of Strategic Initiatives. In

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Kim Engie

Data and Research Analyst
Staffmember Kim Engie

Kim Engie currently works as a Data and Research Analyst at Advancement Project. She is passionate about social justice and works to help understand and illuminate societal trends through research and data visualization. Her work includes contributing to campaigns for criminal justice reform and understanding political participation among communities of color in California. She has

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Leila Forouzan

Data & Research Analyst

Leila Forouzan earned her M.P.A. in Public Policy from Baruch College, City University of New York and B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. As a graduate student, Leila served as a GIS research assistant on demographic and climate change studies. Prior to joining the Advancement Project, Leila was part of the Census

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Rob Graham

GIS/Web Programmer

Rob Graham is a GIS/Web programmer who develops the geospatial web to empower communities and advocate for social justice.  He builds innovative tools to analyze and impact policy and is committed to geographic information systems (GIS) as a framework to improve social conditions and promote equity.  Rob programs our flagship online mapping application,, and

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Janice Johannsen

Development Associate
Staffmember Janice Johannsen

Janice Johannsen currently serves as Development Associate at Advancement Project. She is responsible for supporting a variety of development and communications activities, including donor prospect research, proposal writing and reporting; special events, direct mail appeals, donor database management, and donor communications. Janice recently moved back to Los Angeles after living in Savannah, Georgia for three

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Wendelyn Killian

Managing Director of Organizational and Leadership Development

Wendelyn Killian is the organization’s Managing Director of Organizational and Leadership Development and works closely with the Executive Team to ensure the organization runs smoothly and fulfills its mission. Ms.Killian has worked at the private law firms of Troop Steuber Pasich Reddick & Tobey, LLP and Katten Muchin Zavis, as well as Community Coalition, a nonprofit organization

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Jamila Loud

Manager of Strategic Initiatives

In her role as Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Jamila Loud supports the strategic development of cross-cutting initiatives through research, analysis, and advocacy. Prior to Advancement Project, Jamila worked as an Applied Research Analyst for NeighborWorks America focusing on quantitative data analysis of national affordable housing strategies, foreclosure mitigation, and community development initiatives. Jamila also participated

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Yvonne Liu

Data and Research Analyst

Yvonne Yen Liu is a Data and Research Analyst at Advancement Project California. She has over a decade of experience supporting racial justice and social impact organizations with quantitative and qualitative research. She did her undergraduate studies in anthropology at Columbia University, and pursued a PhD in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center.  A native

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Jacky Guerrero

Budget Analyst

Jacky serves as a Budget Analyst for Advancement Project where she works in partnership with community-based organizations to support advocacy campaigns by monitoring various school district and city budgets with a particular focus in the Central Valley. As a former Bohnett Fellow working in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, she was part of the launch

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Jorge Jimenez

Director of Human Resources, Finance & Administration

Jorge Jimenez serves as the Director of Human Resources, Finance, and Administration for APCA. In this role as a human resource leader, Jorge is responsible for overseeing employee relations, leadership and employee development, training, compensation, benefits and workers’ compensation. He also works closely with the Advancement Project’s CFO to ensure that the California office has

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Megan McClaire

Director of Health Equity

Megan McClaire currently serves as the Director of Health Equity. In this capacity, she leads efforts that use community-driven and data-informed approaches to address health inequities impacting California residents. Megan is a Chicago native and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received both her B.S. in Health Planning and Administration and

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Darlene Neal

Policy & Research Analyst

Darlene Neal serves as Policy & Research Analyst within the Educational Equity Department at Advancement Project. In that role, she is responsible for supporting foster youth in academic advancement through work with Los Angeles Unified School District and identifying opportunities around their Local Control Funding Formula and Accountability Plan, building and mobilizing a broad coalition

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Jonathan Nomachi

Senior Policy Analyst

Jonathan Nomachi received his undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and his Master’s in Public Policy at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. Jonathan spent the last eight years at Community Health Councils (a health advocacy organization in South Los Angeles) serving most recently as the Research/Data Manager where he coordinated

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Karla Pleitéz Howell

Director of Educational Equity

Karla Pleitéz Howell is a public interest lawyer with experience in direct client services, systems change, and advocacy. She is currently the Director of the Advancement Project’s Education team and is responsible for managing operations. In addition, Karla works with key stakeholders to identify education priorities to assure equity in California’s education system. Prior to

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Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate

Executive Assistant

Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate currently serves as the Executive Assistant for the Educational Equity Department at Advancement Project. In this role, Alejandra provides technical and specialized executive level support and oversight on various projects for the Managing Director of Policy and Advocacy, as well as the Associate Director of Educational Equity. Prior to joining Advancement Project, Alejandra

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Vickie Ramos Harris

Associate Director of Education Policy

Vickie Ramos Harris serves as Associate Director of Education Policy for Advancement Project. She is responsible for leading early childhood policy and advocacy in Los Angeles and across California as well as fostering opportunities to increase education equity in the public education system, including supporting the diverse needs of our English Learners and communities of

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Jessenia Reyes

Policy & Research Analyst

Jessenia Reyes currently serves as an Policy & Research Analyst at Advancement Project California where she will help lead the organization’s first effort in community mobilization for parents with children ages 0-8 in Southeast LA. She is a first generation student who was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley where she attended local

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Chris Ringewald

Associate Director of Research

Chris Ringewald, Associate Director of Research, oversees research efforts, builds organizational research capacity, and forges partnerships with researchers sharing Advancement Project’s goals. His research contributions have included community safety scorecards that prevent, intervene in, and reduce violence; early care and education analyses that increase access; community health needs assessments for hospitals and medical service area

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Carolyn Rogers

Executive Assistant to John Kim

In her role as Executive Assistant, Carolyn provides executive-level assistance to the Executive Director and Associate Director at Advancement Project.  Her 20 year history of providing high-quality administrative support to executives in the social science and corporate sectors contributes to her extensive knowledge of business and operational procedures and guidance.  Prior to joining Advancement Project,

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Michael Russo

Associate Director of Equity in Public Funds

As the Associate Director of Equity in Public Funds, Mike Russo works to provide community-based organizations with the data, training, and tools they need to be effective advocates for local budgets that reflect the needs of low-income communities and communities of color. Prior to joining Advancement Project, Mike served as the director of the federal

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Ernesto Saldana

Associate Director of Programs, Educational Equity

Ernesto has over 20 years of experience in non-profit leadership. He serves as the Associate Director of Programs for Educational Equity where his primary responsibilities are to oversee the organization’s first effort in leadership and advocacy in community mobilization and advocacy for parents with children ages 0-8 and also supporting the team’s education policy advocacy.

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Amy Sausser

Director of Development

Amy Sausser serves as the Director of Development, overseeing institutional and individual fundraising for Advancement Project California. Amy believes that raising funds for social, economic, and racial justice organizations is a critical part of achieving long-lasting, sustainable, change for the communities that need it most. Amy has worked with nonprofits and social change organizations since

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Katie Smith

Director of Communications

With 18 years of communications and marketing experience focused on impact and sustainability, Smith has earned a reputation as a change agent with a mind for innovation and an effective process to drive results. Specializing in strategic communications, message development and campaign management, Katie oversees the Communications Department, which focuses on multifaceted programmatic and organizational

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Adam M. Lara

Policy and Research Analyst

Adam M Lara serves a Policy and Research Analyst within the Educational Equity Department at Advancement Project. He is responsible for helping lead the organization’s community mobilization and advocacy effort with parents in Southeast Los Angeles, help design and implement a train-the-trainer family engagement curriculum, and support the team’s early childcare education policy advocacy. Prior

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