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Antonia Hernández: Leading the California Community Foundation to Strengthen LA Communities

Posted by Willow Russell

Antonia-HernandezNationally regarded for a career spanning four decades in social justice, expertise in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, and a lifelong devotion to underserved communities in Los Angeles County and beyond, Antonia Hernández joined the California Community Foundation as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2004.

Established in 1915, the California Community Foundation is one of the largest and most active philanthropic organizations in Southern California, with assets of more than $1.5 billion and a mission to lead positive systemic change that strengthens Los Angeles communities. In partnership with its more than 1,600 individual, family and corporate donors, the foundation supports nonprofit organizations and public institutions with funds for health and human services, affordable housing, early childhood education, community arts and culture and other areas of need.

Prior to her position at the California Community Foundation, Hernández was president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a national nonprofit litigation and advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of the nation’s Latinos through the legal system, community education, and research and policy initiatives.

An expert in philanthropy, civil rights and immigration issues, Hernández began her legal career as a staff attorney with the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice and worked as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary before joining MALDEF in 1981 as regional counsel in Washington, D.C.

Hernández is a member of the boards of directors of the national American Automobile Association, the Automobile Club of Southern California, Council of Foundations, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Council on Foundations, Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Association, Grameen America and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. She currently serves on advisory boards and committees including the Commission on Presidential Debates, the JFK Library Foundation Profile in Courage Award Committee and UCLA Board of Advisors among others. She is a frequent public speaker and has been awarded a number of honorary degrees and awards.

Hernández is a member of the State Bar of California, District of Columbia Bar, American Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles and a fellow of the American Law Institute.

Hernández earned her B.A. in History at UCLA in 1970 and J.D. at the UCLA School of Law in 1974.

SVP thanks Antonia Hernández and the California Community Foundation for the vital work they do and for their generous support of the SVP Global Conference!