President and C.E.O. Fred Ali to Step Down from the Weingart Foundation

Miguel A. Santana Named as New C.E.O.

Announcement      Chair’s Message      President’s Message

Message from Fred Ali, President & C.E.O.

I chose to dedicate my life to work in service of others. It began with my first job out of college as a volunteer teacher in a small village in Western Alaska, and led many years later to the opportunity to lead the incredible work of the Weingart Foundation. I feel truly blessed.

We live in a world that is neither equitable nor just. Naming that, and having the privilege to do something about it, is both empowering and humbling. I have always tried to approach this work with humility and respect.

My work has come with its ups and downs. Depending on the day and circumstances, happy, fulfilling memories compete with anguish and regret. Some of the homeless kids I worked with miraculously made it off the streets, while others tragically never did. I remember apologizing a couple years back to a group of undergraduates for being part of a generation that promised much, but in the end failed to make the kind of change that had been promised. But lately, I stand in awe of the young organizers and advocates that are building movements, changing policies, and giving us all hope.

“We live in a world that is neither equitable nor just. Naming that, and having the privilege to do something about it, is both empowering and humbling.”

While all of this continues to fuel me, I have decided that the time has come for me to step aside and make room for others to lead. After 21 years at the helm of this great organization, I will be leaving the position of President in January 2021. And I am so pleased that as a result of the great planning the Board and staff did in preparation for the inevitable transition, you found a truly inspiring leader in Miguel A. Santana. He is deeply committed to our mission of equity and justice, smart enough to maintain what’s working, and talented enough to bring new ideas and perspectives. I have no doubt that Miguel will take the Foundation to new heights.

I want to spend the rest of my life continuing to follow the exhortation of the late John Lewis—you can never give up! And as my dear friend and forever mentor, John Mack taught me, life is a marathon, and not a sprint. I feel both the need and obligation to continue to speak up and speak out.

Our most recent crisis has put deep-rooted structural racism on full display, creating shameful disparate impact, and putting everyone at great risk. Unencumbered by the day-to-day requirements of my current position, I plan to stay involved and continue to battle for the change we desperately need.

How do I begin to thank the Board members and staff of the Weingart Foundation? Your support and commitment to our work has been unwavering. I will be forever grateful, and I promise you will always be in my prayers of thanksgiving. Together for justice, we have transformed an institution and touched many lives.

I also want to acknowledge my colleagues in philanthropy. You have been a great source of inspiration and support as we have worked together to advance equity and justice.

But in the end, it comes down to our nonprofit partners and community leaders, who we rely upon to do the tough work on the front lines. You have all taught me so much, and I have tried my best to support your work and follow your lead. It has been an honor and blessing to serve you.

Fred Ali
President & C.E.O.

Announcement      Chair’s Message      President’s Message