Lateefah Simon joined Akonadi Foundation as President in August 2016. As a nationally recognized advocate for civil rights and racial justice, she brings over 20 years of executive experience in advancing opportunities for communities of color and low-income communities in the Bay Area. Prior to joining Akonadi, which seeks to eliminate structural racism that leads to inequity in the United States, Lateefah served as Program Director for the San Francisco-based Rosenberg Foundation, a statewide grantmaker focusing on systemic barriers to full access to equity and opportunity for Californians. Lateefah managed the Foundation’s portfolio of grants supporting groundbreaking advocacy in criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, low-wage workers’ rights, and civic engagement. In 2016, Lateefah helped launch the $2 million Leading Edge Fund, created to seed, incubate, and implement bold ideas from the next generation of progressive movement leaders in California.
Lateefah has received numerous awards for her work, including the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Jefferson Award for extraordinary public service. She was named ‘Most Promising New Foundation President’ by Inside Philanthropy in 2017 and was one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40 in 2016. The California State Assembly named Lateefah Woman of the Year and she has also been recognized by the Ford Foundation, the National Organization for Women, Lifetime Television, and O Magazine. In 2016, Lateefah was elected to serve District 7 on the BART Board of Directors and was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California State University’s Board of Trustees. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Tipping Point Community.