Connie was appointed portfolio director at The James Irvine Foundation in February 2016 as part of its evolving focus. Prior to that shift, she was program director for the Foundation’s California Democracy program, which she led since January 2015 and served as senior program officer for 2012-2014.
As portfolio director, Connie leads the Foundation’s grantmaking initiatives in the areas of voter and civic engagement, elections policies and practices, and immigrant integration, along with emerging efforts to expanding the voice, access, and influence of low-income workers. She also oversees Irvine’s Pay for Success Initiative, a partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund exploring a new approach to funding social services that is anticipated to improve outcomes and ultimately reduce costs. Finally, Connie has overseen the Community Leadership Project, a partnership to serve low-income and diverse communities in three regions with funding from the Hewlett, Irvine, and Packard foundations.
Connie currently serves as a commissioner for the first-ever California Citizens Redistricting Commission. In 2011, the commission oversaw implementation of Propositions 11 and 20 resulting in Assembly, Senate, Congressional, and Board of Equalization districts to guide elections for ten years. She also was recently appointed to the national Funders Committee for Civic Participation.
Before joining Irvine, Connie served as senior director of programs for Urban Habitat, a nonprofit in Oakland, California. Connie directed Urban Habitat’s environmental justice advocacy and helped develop the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute model. Prior to Urban Habitat, Connie led the Regional Sustainability Initiative at Redefining Progress. She started her career at the United Way in Riverside, California, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, and as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development fellow.
Connie earned her master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in communications and Spanish from La Sierra University. She previously served on the boards of the California Planning Foundation, the American Planning Association’s California Chapter, and was a founding board member of AFAAD: Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora.