James W. Head is a seasoned & entrepreneurial leader with executive-level managerial and legal experience in the fields of philanthropy and grantmaking; nonprofit management and technical assistance; community and economic development; public/private/philanthropic partnerships; and social justice and public interest law.
James served as President & Chief Executive Officer of the East Bay Community Foundation for nearly 7 years, an Oakland California based Community Foundation that partners with donors, social movements, and the community at large to eliminate structural barriers, advance racial equality, and transform political, social, and economic outcomes for all who call the East Bay home. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as Vice President of Programs for the San Francisco Foundation, where he spearheaded regional initiatives on race, equity, poverty, housing, economic development, and youth development.
Under James’ leadership at East Bay, the Foundation was one of the first Community Foundations in the country to establish a donor grants policy that prohibited donor grants to organizations identified as engaging in hate and/or discriminatory activities. Also, in 2019 East Bay was named “The Boldest Community Foundation in the United States” by Inside Philanthropy for its grantmaking focus on movement building and organizing.
As a social justice advocate and lawyer, James has devoted his life to supporting the power and voice of people of color, and in particular the building of relationships among and between people and Communities of color. In 2021 East Bay, in collaboration with the New Breath Foundation, was among the first foundations in the Bay Area to publicly call out the rising incidents of hate and violence towards AAPI Communities in a joint letter that was signed on by numerous other Bay Area foundations. We then worked together to immediately identify strategies and resources to support both the AAPI victims of violence, as well as funding for AAPI advocacy and policy organizations. Key to the collaborative message in the letter was the need for deeper dialogue and commitment between the African-American and AAPI Communities to work together to address hate and violence, and to support each other.
James is a nationally known speaker and resource in philanthropy and law, with special expertise in economic development, racial diversity/inclusion, and racial/gender equity.