Elevating Hope: Miguel A. Santana’s Message to CCF

October 15, 2023

On my first day as President and CEO of the California Community Foundation (CCF) I reflect on the difficult times we are in as our world confronts complex and somber challenges. Indeed, we live in a time when our collective resilience and humanity are being tested.

The conflicts in the Middle East and Europe have brought the trauma of war to Los Angeles as Angelenos mourn the loss of friends and loved ones. We stand with them during this time of unspeakable pain and grief.

The unsettling political events in our nation’s capital bring to question the ability of our elected leaders to address our society’s most pressing problems, let alone their ability to govern.

Back at home, the open wound left behind following revelations about members of the Los Angeles City Council a year ago remains unhealed, at a time that city leaders confront a seemingly unsurmountable housing and homelessness crisis.

Still, as I step into my new role as President and CEO of CCF, I am filled with a strong sense of optimism. It is a profound honor to lead this remarkable team and partner with our donors to lead CCF at a time when the work being done in Los Angeles offers hope even amid these tumultuous times.

Over the last several months, hundreds of refugees have been abandoned at our city’s doorstep. In contrast to exploiting this issue for political gain, our city and county have exhibited exceptional compassion in welcoming these refugees, especially the most vulnerable. CCF, in collaboration with our immigrant justice partners, has been a steadfast supporter of this work, providing essential funding and resources to those in need. As a son of immigrants, I am committed to upholding the legacy of empathy and inclusion that has defined CCF and our region.

The homelessness crisis is at a critical juncture for Los Angeles, but with the recent reset and partnership between Mayor Karen Bass and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors there is now hope. The ability for the city and county to reach consensus and come together with renewed urgency to address the battle against homelessness is the first step in addressing this crisis. The declarations of emergency and initiatives that followed to expedite and build more housing and to move people inside with urgency and compassion, exemplify a more forward-thinking approach. I have worked on the issue of homelessness for over 30 years and despite the enormity of the problem we confront today, I remain hopeful that collectively, we can gain control of this crisis.

The City Council scandal last year created deep wounds and exposed a very ugly side to politics and power in our city. Thoughtful analysis and advocacy from our partners indicate that our community has not given up on establishing a local government that truly represents all the people of Los Angeles and is responsive to the unique needs of every neighborhood. I joined other civic leaders to denounce this abuse of power and insist that we do better. CCF is committed to unapologetically fight for equity, justice, and for a Los Angeles region where everyone’s voice matters and is heard.

Together, we will not just adapt to change, we will be the agents of change. Together, we will harness the collective spirit of Los Angeles to seek transformative solutions to address the challenges we face. Together, we will shape a brighter future for all Angelenos.

I am deeply appreciative to be on this journey with all of you and look forward to our future partnership and engagement.

Miguel A. Santana
President and CEO, California Community Foundation

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