The Marguerite Casey Foundation (MCF) turned to its Board of Directors to find its next president and CEO. Board member Carmen Rojas, Ph.D., will succeed Luz Vega-Marquis as the next chief executive, effective June 1, 2020. She will join the Seattle, Wash.-based foundation from The Workers Lab, a nonprofit she founded in 2014.
Vega-Marquis announced in June that she would retire in 2020 after almost 20 years leading the foundation. At the time, Vega-Marquis said she would stay on through the end of 2020 to assist the next leader and the board of directors. She has been recognized three times in The NonProfit Times annual Power & Influence Top 50, most recently in 2018 as well as in 2011 and 2012.
MCF reported $36 million in total revenue, with total assets of $783 million, and total giving of almost $30 million, according to its 2017 tax form.
Prior to founding The Workers Lab, Rojas was acting director of collective impact at Living Cities. She focused on improving economic opportunity for low-income people by supporting projects in economic and workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building. From 2008 to 2011, Rojas was director of strategic grantmaking at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw Green Acres and Civic Engagement programs.
Rojas also taught in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. She holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from UC-Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007.
“Carmen exemplifies our mission to support grassroots activism that builds the power and voice of families to advocate for a more just and equitable society,” Freeman A. Hrabowski III, chair of the foundation’s Board of Directors said in a press release announcing the appointment.
Melody Barnes, board chair-elect and a member of the CEO Search Committee, described Rojas as an innovator with a track record of collaborating with workers, companies and philanthropists to improve the lives of low-wage employees. “Combined with her extensive knowledge of the foundation and roots in the Latinx community, Carmen is the ideal person to take the helm as the foundation turns to its next chapter,” she said in a news release.