Acting Director of Program Strategies
New York, NY
Carmen Rojas is currently the Associate Director of Program Strategies at Living Cities where she plays a pivotal role in driving the work of the Program Cluster operations while ensuring cluster activities are carried out in a manner consistent with Living Cities’ mission, strategic framework, and organizational values.
Prior to assuming the Associate Director position, Carmen was a faculty member in the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of cities in the US, local economic development, planning pedagogy, and race in the practice of planning.
From 2008 to 2011, Carmen was the Director of Strategic Programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the Foundation’s Green and Civic Engagement programs. Her charge involved engaging community groups while participating in broader movement-building efforts to build power in low-income communities and communities of color. Carmen also served as the Foundation’s liaison with philanthropic partners and participated in larger collaborative and funder-affinity groups. Finally, she conducted and produces research on funding strategies, issues, and models that highlight the Foundation’s work. Prior to her position as Director of Strategic Programs, Carmen served as the Foundation’s Green Access Program Officer, awarding over $600,000 in foundation grants to organizations working on issues ranging from green jobs to climate justice in communities of color throughout the Bay Area.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Carmen was the Coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Task Force on African American Out-Migration. As Coordinator, she developed qualitative and quantitative reports for a Task Force established by San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom to understand African American out-migration from the city.
In 2004, Carmen served as the Coordinator of the Social Equity Caucus, a program of Urban Habitat, a regional nonprofit organization in the Bay Area. She was primarily responsible for coordinating the work of a regional network of over 75 public, private, and nonprofit organizations to build a regional social and environmental justice movement that represents the needs of low-income communities and communities of color.
Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007. Her publications include “Voices of Climate Change” in the Journal Race, Poverty and the Environment, 2009 and “Minding the Justice Gap: Bay Area Collaborations offer a Model for Hard Times” in the Environmental Grantmakers Association Journal, 2009.