Keynote Speakers

Vu LeVu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at

Tamika ButlerTamika Butler serves as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit organization that addresses social and racial equity, and wellness, by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across greater Los Angeles. Tamika has a diverse background in law, community organizing, communications, and nonprofit leadership. Recently, she was the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Prior to leading LACBC, Tamika was the Director of Social Change Strategies at Liberty Hill Foundation, and worked at Young Invincibles as the California Director. She transitioned to policy work after litigating for three years as a public interest employment lawyer at Legal Aid at Work (previously Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center).

Speakers and Panelists

Natalia AbramsNatalia Abrams, Executive Director, Student Debt Crisis (SDC).
Natalia Abrams is the Executive Director of Student Debt Crisis (SDC) where she advocates for student loan debt reform, and the creation of lending solutions for all borrowers and students pursuing affordable and accessible higher education. Through her work with SDC Abrams has appeared on CNBC, Fox News, NBC, “CBS Sunday Morning,” and her writing has appeared in The Nation and The Huffington Post. Abrams has often been cited as a subject matter expert discussing the economic injustices facing students and borrowers.

Nancy BerlinNancy Berlin, Policy Director, CalNonprofits
Nancy Berlin is the Policy Director at the California Association of Nonprofits where she directs policy initiatives that protect and promote California’s nonprofits. Her work includes developing and implementing campaigns that encourage advocacy and civic engagement among CalNonprofits more than 10,000 organizational members. Nancy is the former director of California Partnership, was the project coordinator for the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness, and worked for more than 15 years at various nonprofits addressing homeless in the LA area, including Alexandria House, where she also served on the board for 20 years.

Liz BluesteinLiz Bluestein, Vice President, Public Counsel
Liz Bluestein is the Chief Operating Officer, Vice President and General Counsel at Public Counsel, responsible for supervising and coordinating the operational work of Public Counsel's various legal programs and administrative departments, and ensuring compliance with applicable corporate and legal requirements. Ms Bluestein is an advisor to the State Bar Business Law Section's Nonprofit and Unincorporated Associations Committee. She is also a past Chair of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She has taught a non-profit tax and transaction clinic as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles.

John DobardJohn Dobard, Associate Director of Political Voice, Advancement Project California
Dr. John Dobard is the Associate Director of Political Voice at the Advance Project California where he leads advocacy efforts to make governments more participatory and representative of the communities they serve. Previously, Dr. Dobard served as Advancement Project California’s Manager of Strategic Initiatives where he co-created the Political Voice program and worked with coalitions across the state to secure equitable electoral systems through the California Voting Rights Act. He also oversaw several key organization-wide initiatives, including an initiative to urge the Los Angeles Unified School District to adopt a student need index to guide allocation of Local Control Funding Formula dollars.

Christina DragonettiChristina Dragonetti, Nonprofit Student Debt Project Manager, CalNonprofits
Christina Dragonetti is the Membership and Marketing Manager at CalNonprofits where she is responsible for recruitment, retention, and engagement of CalNonprofits members. Christina also manages the Nonprofit Student Debt Project at CalNonprofits where she helps educate nonprofits and their staff about the Public Service Loan Foregiveness program through webinars, a toolkit, and speaking engagements. Christina serves on the board of the League of Women Voters of California.

Efrain EscobedoEfrain Escobedo, Vice President, Education & Immigration, California Community Foundation
Efrain Escobedo is Vice President, Education & Immigration Programs at California Community Foundation. Escobedo has had an extensive career, dedicated to increasing civic engagement and ensuring public policies and institutions not just serve but also empower our communities. He has worked nationally and locally on efforts to increase citizenship, voter participation and the Census and is recognized nationally and locally as an active leader and expert in Latino civic engagement and elections policy.

Jennifer FearingJennifer Fearing, CalNonprofits Sacramento Advocate
Jennifer Fearing is the President of Fearless Advocacy, Inc. - a Sacramento-based advocacy firm specializing in advancing the policy agendas of mission-based and cause-oriented organizations. In 2017, Jennifer was named by Capitol Weekly as the 93rd most powerful person in the California capitol community. She has helped pursue nearly one hundred positive state and local legislative and regulatory outcomes and has led - with creativity and tenacity - many high-profile successes. She also helped with the formation of a new Assembly select committee on the nonprofit sector.

Marian KaanonMarian Kaanon, CEO, Stainislaus Community Foundation
Marian Kaanon is the President & CEO of the Stanislaus Community Foundation. During Marian’s tenure, the foundation has nearly tripled its charitable assets under management and now supports two large-scale initiatives to boost the ‘cradle to career’ education pipeline: Stanislaus READS! and Stanislaus Futures. In 2006, Marian was named by The Modesto Bee as one of ’20 Under 40’ young civic leaders to watch, and in 2015 she was named an Outstanding Woman for Stanislaus County.

Ditas KatagueDitas Katague, Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020
Ditas Katague is the Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020 for the State of California. She served as the Director of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Census 2010 project. In 2000, as Chief Deputy Campaign Director for the Governor’s Census 2000 California Complete Count campaign, she led a groundbreaking multi-lingual, multi-media outreach effort that resulted in a mail-in return rate that outpaced the entire nation. She is an expert in multi-ethnic outreach and civic engagement.

Tania IbanezTania Ibañez, Senior Assistant Attorney General in charge of Charities
As the Section head, she leads a team of lawyers and auditors in Los Angeles and San Francisco who investigate and bring appropriate legal actions against charitable fundraisers, charitable trusts, and charitable organizations to protect the public from fraudulent or misleading solicitations and to recover the loss of charitable assets. As Senior Assistant, Ms. Ibanez also oversees the publication of training and educational guides, including the recently released Attorney General's Guide for Charities.

Jan MasaokaJan Masaoka, CEO, CalNonprofits
Jan Masaoka is the Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Nonprofits, where she sets the strategic direction for CalNonprofits and its more than 10,000 members. She is a leading writer, thinker, and speaker on nonprofit organizations with particular emphasis on boards of directors, business planning, and the role of nonprofits in society. She has written several books, was named Nonprofit Executive of the Year by Nonprofit Times, and is an eight-time designee as one of the “Fifty Most Influential” people in the nonprofit sector nationwide.

Shane GoldsmithShane Murphy Goldsmith, President/CEO, Liberty Hill Foundation
Shane Murphy Goldsmith is the President and CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation. Shane currently sits on the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, and she is the co-chair of the California Executive Alliance for Boys and Men of Color SoCal Region. Shane is a Durfee Foundation Stanton Fellow focusing on youth justice issues, particularly on ending youth incarceration as we know it in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Southern California Grantmakers Board of Directors and sits on both the Advisory Committee for the Black Equity Initiative of the JIB Fund and the board of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH).

Perla NiPerla Ni, CEO, GreatNonprofits
Perla Ni is the CEO and founder of Ni has executive experience in corporate, academic, and nonprofit sectors. She was the founder and former publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, where she launched the successful website and blog. A frequent speaker on nonprofits and philanthropy, Ni continues to write for Stanford Social Innovation Review. In 2010, she was named a "Top Philanthropy Game Changer" by the Huffington Post.

Gene TakagiGene Takagi, NEO Law Group and author, Nonprofit Law Blog
Gene Takagi is the managing attorney of NEO Law Group and contributing publisher of the Nonprofit Law Blog. At NEO, Gene has represented over 600 nonprofit organizations on corporate, tax, and charitable trust law matters. He has been published by The New York Times, The Nonprofit Quarterly, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and more. Gene is a recipient of multiple awards for his work, including Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer (American Bar Association, 2016), Outstanding Barrister of the Year (Bar Association of San Francisco) and Northern California Super Lawyer (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).


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