Community Action Marin's Chandra Alexandre wins 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards
Chandra Alexandre said leadership of the San Rafael-based nonprofit is a dream job.
Biography: Chandra Alexandre, the chief executive officer of Community Action Marin, is a seasoned nonprofit executive and fund development professional with 20 years of experience supporting organizations to social justice outcomes. Her work has helped strengthen regional affordable housing and early childhood education initiatives, expand education reform strategies nationally, and resource grassroots-led movement building for global women’s rights.
While at the Bay Area Council, she was commended by the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women for her work leading outreach, community engagement, and fundraising to support the 2011 APEC Women & The Economy Summit hosted by Secretary Hillary Clinton. Prior to her nonprofit roles, Chandra worked in financial services and for the U.S. Department of State.
She has taught both full-time and part-time students in the University of San Francisco’s Master’s in Nonprofit Administration program focused on philanthropy and is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, serving her local chapter as president and as a mentor nationally in the Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Development Program. Chandra is a member of the Strive Together Leadership Program focused on equity efforts in Marin County. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), graduated from Columbia with a dual degree in psychology and philosophy, and holds both an MBA and a Ph.D.
Chandra’s commitment to equity serves her well at Community Action Marin, where board and staff are standing with low-income families and individuals struggling to find opportunity and fulfill their dreams in challenging times. Her vision is to help propel local efforts to eradicate disparities forward while promoting self-sufficiency for all in a county that has the largest inequities between racial groups in California. Doing this will require a healing-centered approach that brings awareness of community trauma to the fore. Under her leadership, Community Action Marin will continue to provide the high-quality services necessary to meet community needs while also fostering and advocating for a thriving Marin County.
Education: BA, MBA, Ph.D.
Staff: 300-plus employees, 67% Latinx
Tell us your story and that of your organization: I’m originally from NYC and have lived in the Bay Area since 1995. I came here for grad school and never left.
Being CEO of Community Action Marin is my dream job. The people, mission, and potential of this agency to make it possible for people to achieve well-being and break down the barriers that get in the way of fair and lasting change in service to better outcomes for all inspires me daily.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
We launched a bold new brand that takes a powerful legacy of more than 50 years of commitment to people of low-income in Marin County and points us as a unified agency to our vision of equal opportunity for all of us to live our lives with dignity and respect.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Becoming CEO of Community Action Marin!
What is your biggest challenge today?
Working for equity with others committed to transforming systems, structures, and mindsets takes passion and time. I’m grateful for the wonderful partners across the county who are in this work because we know we’re stronger and more capable of making a difference together.
What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?
I’m most proud of our shared commitment to community. In the face of real fear around government and public charge, our solidarity with employees, neighbors, partners, and community is an imperative.
Words that best describe you: Curious, hard-working, fast.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
I think the world of nonprofits will continue to be deeply informed by the communities we serve. As those communities become more diverse and economic and other inequities grow, we must motivate the sector broadly to respond, and so our role as champions and advocates of change will increase.
Tell us about your community involvement: I’m president of the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals--Golden Gate Chapter (Marin, SF, San Mateo), and on the board of directors of the Oakland-based The Plant Exchange. I also regularly serve as a mentor to early career nonprofit professionals through local and national networks.
What advice would you give to a young person today?
Stay the course in following your heart’s work.
Current reading: “Lead from the Outside,” by Stacey Abrams.
Most want to meet: Vin Diesel or Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Stress relievers: Meditation
Favorite hobbies: Painting/coloring and reading