Luz Vega-Marquis is president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation, where she oversees the foundation’s $600 million endowment and $30 million grantmaking budget. Before joining Marguerite Casey Foundation in 2001, Ms. Vega-Marquis served as executive director of the Community Technology Foundation of California (CTFC), where she was instrumental in developing the strategic framework of CTFC’s grants program as well as energizing the CTFC vision of bringing information technology to underserved communities throughout California. Her nonprofit career also includes four years as vice president and chief operating officer at the National Economic Development and Law Center, an organization committed to providing technical, law and business expertise to low-income communities nationwide, and 17 years at The James Irvine Foundation, where she served as director of the grants programs and senior program officer in charge of the northern California office.
As president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation, Ms. Vega-Marquis has positioned the foundation as a leader in movement building by shaping its grantmaking strategies to support a nationwide movement of low-income families. The foundation provides long-term general-support grants to organizations engaged in activism, advocacy and issue education in the 14 states with the highest concentration of family poverty in the United States. In 2009, foundation-supported grantees educated more than 1.5 million families about the policy issues that most affect their lives; mobilized almost three-quarters of a million people to participate in public actions, events and meetings; led more than 300 policy campaigns, with wins in areas such as education, juvenile justice, housing and immigration reform; and developed more than 27,000 core leaders in communities across the country.
In 2008, the foundation in partnership with its grantees launched Equal Voice for America’s Families. The yearlong campaign brought together more than 30,000 families and approximately 250 community organizations to lay the foundation for a multi-issue national family platform that addressed the needs of families across the country. Equal Voice is now a series of networks across the country working to effect policy change that will ensure the economic well-being of families.
Ms. Vega-Marquis focuses much of her efforts on changing public perception of and attitudes toward poor families. In 2010, the foundation released Raising Hope: The Equal Voice Story, a documentary that chronicles the lives of low-income working families and their participation in the Equal Voice campaign. The documentary was shown on PBS stations across the country. In 2010, Marguerite Casey also launched the Equal Voice online newspaper, dedicated to covering the stories of low-income families and the impact of policies and attitudes on their lives.
Ms. Vega-Marquis is the founder of Hispanics in Philanthropy and has served on numerous boards, including those of The California Wellness Foundation, Council on Foundations, Katalysis Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers and the Women’s Foundation of California. She currently serves on the board of directors of Independent Sector and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Ms. Vega-Marquis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in modern languages from the University of San Francisco and earned a Master of Arts degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University.