The Seattle-based Marguerite Casey Foundation has announced that founding president and CEO Luz Vega-Marquis will retire in 2020.
Since 2001, Vega-Marquis has led the foundation's efforts to support a national movement of low-income families advocating for a more just and equitable society. During her tenure, the foundation has been a leader in providing multiyear general operating support to nonprofits and in trusting nonprofit leaders to know how to allocate resources most effectively.
"Families have always been our priority," said Vega-Marquis. "We ask and listen, and then follow their lead. They know the change their communities require. We help them create it."
"Luz's legacy is the thousands of families across the country who have, with Marguerite Casey Foundation's support, created their own solutions for fighting poverty and building power," said foundation board chair Freeman A. Hrabowski.
Vega-Marquis, who founded Hispanics in Philanthropy in 1983, has long championed efforts to support people of color; more than 85 percent of the foundation's grantee organizations are led by people of color, while 60 percent of its staff and 82 percent of its board members are people of color. During her tenure, the foundation created the Patiño-Moore Legacy Award, which recognizes the collaborative efforts of African-American and Latinx communities to build movements; the Pat Schroeder Board Fellowship, which provides an opportunity for a community-based youth leader to serve on the foundation's board; and the Sargent Shriver Youth Warriors Against Poverty, which recognizes the vision, passion, and dedication of youth leaders working to improve their communities. Over the course of her career, Vega-Marquis has recruited and mentored hundreds of staff, board members, and leaders of color in philanthropy.
"Women of color have changed the landscape of this country, and Luz Vega-Marquis is no exception to that legacy," said Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and founder of the Black Futures Lab and Movement for Black Lives. "Luz has invested in families of color to the tune of $450 million, and by doing so, has changed our country for the better. She has modeled how philanthropy can be more accountable to communities of color. Her legacy is pushing us to dream bigger, act more boldly, and win big for families."