Funders Briefing On Affirmative Action

As we continue to learn more about the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action, there are many unanswered questions regarding the broad reach of this decision on higher education and other sectors. Join us to hear from education leaders who are learning and responding to this decision. They will provide a deep dive into what the decision means, discuss how higher education and other institutions can respond, and share opportunities for philanthropy to support key advocacy efforts.

2023 Quarterly Programming Dates:

About the Education Funders Group

The Education Funders Group brings philanthropic funders together quarterly to learn about issues, trends, and needs in the field of education to inform individual and collective grantmaking. Over the years, the group has explored a variety of topics, including early childhood education, after-school programming, parent engagement, blended learning, linked learning, STEM, implementation of the common core, and college access/college success.


Christopher Edley
Co-Founder and President Emeritus, The Opportunity Institute

Christopher Edley, Jr. has spent 40 years influencing public policy and teaching law at Harvard and Berkeley. He is the Honorable William H. Orrick, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law, after serving as dean from 2004 through 2013. Before Berkeley, Edley was a professor at Harvard Law School for 23 years, where Professor Gary Orfield and he co-founded the Harvard Civil Rights Project. From July 2021 to June 2023, Edley served as Interim Dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Education. Edley co-chaired the congressionally chartered National Commission on Education Equity and Excellence (2011-13). He served in various White House policy and budget positions in the Carter and Clinton Administrations.. Edley also held senior positions in five presidential campaigns: policy director for Michael Dukakis (1988); and senior policy adviser for Al Gore (2000), Howard Dean (2004), Barack Obama (2008), and Hillary Clinton (2016). In 1993, he was a senior economic adviser in the Clinton Presidential Transition, responsible for housing and regulation of financial institutions. In 2008, he was a board member for the Obama presidential transition, with general responsibility for healthcare, education, and immigration. Edley is a fellow or member of: the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; the National Academy of Public Administration; the Council on Foreign Relations; the American Law Institute; the advisory board of the Hamilton Project, Brookings Institution; and the board of Inequality Media. He is a National Associate of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academies of Science; he recently chaired NRC committees to evaluate NAEP performance standards, and another to design a national system of education equity indicators. Edley is a graduate of Swarthmore College (mathematics), Harvard Kennedy School (public policy), and Harvard Law School.

Francisco Rodriguez, Ph.D
Chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D., is the Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), the largest community college district in the nation with nine, accredited colleges, over 230,000 student enrollments, and an annual budget of $5.8 billion serving nearly 900 square miles of Los Angeles County. Dr. Rodriguez has charted a course that includes well-prepared, diverse and innovative faculty, state-of-the-art facilities and instructional equipment, superbly trained and professional support staff, and enhanced business and community engagement. During his tenure, Chancellor Rodriguez led the efforts for a taxpayer-approved $3.3 billion local facilities bond in 2016 and the hiring of close to 600 full-time, tenure-track faculty. A noted scholar, practitioner and educator-activist, Dr. Rodriguez has 30-plus years of experience as an educator, faculty member, and administrator within California public higher education. Dr. Rodriguez currently is the UNITE LA Advisory Board Chair. Dr. Rodriguez graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a bachelor’s degree in Chicano studies and his master’s degree in community development. He received his Ph.D. in Education from Oregon State University.

Jessie Ryan
Executive Vice President, The Campaign for College Opportunity

Jessie Ryan grew up in the Central Valley and was raised by a struggling single mother. While life was often challenging, Jessie’s mother taught her that being economically disadvantaged did not mean a lifetime of disadvantage. She instilled the belief in Jessie that through education and civic participation individuals could vastly improve their quality of life. It was her mother’s strong sense of civic service and empathy for others that inspired Jessie to seek a college education, something her mother had always dreamed of doing, and devote much of her professional life to making it possible for others to follow their same college dream. As the Executive Vice President for the Campaign for College Opportunity, Jessie leads the organization’s advocacy and policy efforts to increase the number of California students accessing higher education, impact the rate that students succeed in reaching their educational goals, and close racial equity gaps. A proud product of California’s Community Colleges and California State University System, over the past decade, Jessie shepherded efforts to simplify the transfer pathway (SB1440 & AB 928) from community colleges to four-year universities. She has also successfully led efforts to expand enrollment funding for the CSU and UC as well as efforts to reform remedial education at community colleges (AB 705). Most passionate about educational opportunity, leadership development, and elevating California’s Central Valley, before joining the Campaign Jessie served as a Circuit Rider for the Great Valley Center’s Community-based Assistance Programs (CAPs) working to support activities and organizations that promote the economic, social, and environmental well-being of California’s Great Central Valley. Acting as a technical advisor on local issues throughout the 21-county region, Jessie provided extensive outreach and capacity building services to rural and underserved communities. In December 2017, Jessie was elected president of the Sacramento City Unified School District, Board of Education, where her “Safe Haven School District” policy was lifted-up by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson as a state and national model. From 2014-2020, as a board member, she was humbled to represent some of the poorest, most diverse neighborhoods in the state’s Capitol and dedicated herself to ensuring that all students would have a pathway out of poverty through public education. Jessie graduated from Emerge California, a political leadership training program designed to identify, educate, and inspire Democratic women who want to pursue a career in politics at the local and state level. Jessie was a graduate of the Women’s Policy Institute, a program offered by the Women’s Foundation of California and created to increase the number of women leaders in California who are actively involved in shaping and implementing policies that affect the health and well-being of women and girls. She was a fellow in the Institute for Developing Emerging Area Leaders (IDEAL) program, which is dedicated to engaging a diverse group of valley stakeholders in strengthening effective public policy decision-making. Jessie was also selected to represent the valley in the Pew Partnership’s LeadershipPlenty – a program that teaches participants civic skills such as taking action, managing conflict, building partnerships, and engaging diverse communities in creating long-term positive community change. In 2018, she was named the 2018 “Woman of Inspiration” by the Sacramento Kings. In 201,9 she was selected to participate in the Public Education Leadership Program (PELP) at Harvard.


Who May Attend

NCG, SCG, Catalyst members, and eligible non-members.


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