Lateefah Simon is program director for the Rosenberg Foundation, which seeks to change the odds for Californians through statewide grantmaking to support policy change. A longtime advocate for low-income young women and girls and for juvenile and criminal justice reform, at the age of 19, Ms. Simon was appointed executive director of the Center for Young Women's Development (CYWD) in San Francisco. CYWD is the nation's first economic and gender justice organization solely run for and by low-income and formerly incarcerated young women. After an 11-year tenure as executive director, Ms. Simon then led the creation of San Francisco's first reentry services division under the leadership of District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. As division director, Ms. Simon led a strategic citywide public/private partnership effort aimed at providing concrete pathways to prevent young adults charged with low-level felony drug sales from returning to a life of crime. The flagship program, Back on Track, has reduced the recidivism rate for the population it serves to less than 10 percent. It has been replicated in several prosecutors' offices across the county and was selected as a national model program by Attorney General Eric Holder.
In 2009, Ms. Simon was appointed executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. LCCR works to champion the legal rights of people of color, poor people, immigrants and refugees, with a special commitment to African Americans, through litigation, policy advocacy and direct service programs. Under her leadership, the organization revamped and streamlined its 40-year-old infrastructure and implemented successful community based initiatives, including the Second Chance Legal Services Clinic.
An avid speaker, Ms. Simon lectures across the country at top conferences and top universities. She has served on numerous boards of directors and has received awards for her efforts including the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, inclusion in O Magazine's first ever "Power List," Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World, the Remarkable Woman Award from Lifetime Television, the Levi Strauss Pioneer Activist Fellowship, the New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and inclusion on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's 40 under 40 list. Ms. Simon also was winter 2014 Social Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (SEERS) Fellow at Stanford University.