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Member Highlight: Jerry Gonzalez


At this year's Annual Meeting, the Breakfast with Champions of Southern Philanthropy will, for the third year in a row, put SECF members on the main stage for a rich conversation about leadership within the field and the region.

This year, however, comes with one change: All the champions on stage are trustees. One of them, Jerry Gonzalez, a trustee at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, says attendees will benefit from the perspective he and other champions will bring to the plenary session.

"Trustees provide great perspective and leadership for many foundations and have a great responsibility for carrying forward the mission and vision of the foundations to which they serve," he said. "Being asked to share my thoughts is really an honor and a humbling experience."

The wide-ranging session will once again be moderated by Mark Constantine, president and CEO of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. Gonzalez said he hopes he and the other trustees will have the chance to talk about an issue important to his own work: equity and its connection to policy.

Away from the Mary Reynolds Babcock boardroom, Gonzalez is executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO). GALEO's mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia.

"I would hope we can spend some time speaking about the need to move from diversity towards a conversation on equity and why that matters to philanthropy and policy now more than ever," he said.

Gonzalez said he also hopes the meeting will provide an opportunity for all attendees take a step back from the charged, polarized political environment and focus on finding ways to break away from the status quo.

"Given the environment in which we are in at this moment, I would hope attendees would hear of new perspectives and insight to move towards innovation or change in the way things are currently being done," he said. "These meetings should provide for opportunities for new learning that leads to change."

Gonzalez lives in Atlanta with his husband of over 22 years, Ray, an established and practicing pediatrician, and their dog, Jenny. He is a native of Laredo, Texas, and received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1995. He completed his Master of Public Administration degree at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University in 2005.

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