Nadia Diaz Funn
Nadia Diaz Funn is the Executive Director of the Alliance for a Better Community. In this role she is responsible for overseeing the execution of the organization’s strategic plan, establishing policy priorities, and serving as its spokesperson.
Nadia was born and raised in unincorporated East Los Angeles. She attended local Catholic and public schools wherein her passion for learning and desire for social justice was seeded and nurtured by great teachers, counselors, coaches and principals. Through the support of her community and hard work of her parents, she was one of the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. Her experiences as a first generation Latina college student were foundational in her life’s work as an advocate for high quality public education.
Prior to joining ABC, Nadia worked to close the achievement gap for Los Angeles’ most vulnerable students through various positions at the Los Angeles Unified School District. She was instrumental in the District’s implementation of the new California Local Control Funding Formula, successfully advocated for essential early childhood education funding, and contributed to the development of the District’s Master Plan for English Learners. Nadia was also responsible for the development and implementation of District-wide programs and policies to improve parent engagement, including a $20 million Parent & Family Center Improvement Program, the LAUSD School Volunteer Program, and the expansion of the District’s AmeriCorps VISTA program into the largest education-focused VISTA program in the nation.
Before her tenure at LAUSD, Nadia worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation promoting the organization’s Family Economic Success Initiative nationally, along the Southwest border, and within Indian Country. Her work significantly contributed to the foundation’s mission to develop brighter futures for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social, and health outcomes.
Nadia received her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale University and her Master of Public Management from the University of Maryland. She is a former California Executive Fellow where she worked for the Office of John Chiang, State Board of Equalization to provide support and resources to women-owned businesses. Nadia currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Kyle, and two young sons, Aidan and Evan.
Policy and Program Coordinator
Carla Lopez-Valdes currently serves as the Policy and Program Coordinator at the Alliance for a Better Community (ABC). She is responsible for the development and coordination of ABC’s advocacy efforts, including the Parent Advocate Training Program, civic leadership conferences, and stakeholder outreach and engagement efforts. She also supports ABC’s policy campaigns to advance college and career readiness and increase access to quality public schools.
Before joining ABC, Carla served as the Advocacy and Outreach Associate at California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ), a statewide policy and advocacy organization whose mission is to advance California Latinas’ reproductive health and rights. At CLRJ, she was responsible for leading the community outreach efforts and coordination for the organization’s Sacramento Advocacy Day, where over 100 Latinas traveled to the State Capitol to meet their representatives and to advocate on several bills that were part of CLRJ’s policy platform. In addition, Carla supported the advancement of CLRJ’s civic engagement programs through community education, mobilization, and engagement to promote influence and awareness over reproductive justice issues.
Prior to that, Carla served as the Program Manager for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. There, she managed the programmatic aspects of NALEO Policy Institutes, including the NALEO Annual Conference which focused on Latino education policy. Additionally, she was responsible for researching and analyzing education policies and best practices revolving around early education through higher education to develop conference content for elected and appointed officials.
She holds a Sociology and Women’s Studies B.A. from the University of California, Riverside and an M.P.A in Public Policy Analysis and Management from California State University, Northridge.
Vanessa Arellano currently serves as the Operations Manager at the Alliance for a Better Community (ABC). She is responsible for data entry, payroll, grant report entry, managing the organizations HR, helping with financial management, organization effectiveness and other miscellaneous tasks.
Before joining ABC, Vanessa worked at Ribét Academy College Preparatory, a private independent boarding school, as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher and after school program coordinator. As a teacher, her job was to instruct children under the age of five using creative methods such as art, music, and hands-on learning to introduce reading and writing and help children develop language skills. As an after school coordinator, her responsibilities consisted of budgeting after school activities, food, and supplies as well as setting up extra curricular activities for the school year and assisting children with academic materials.
She holds a Child Development B.A from California State University, Los Angeles and is currently working on receiving a Masters in Social work from California State University, Los Angeles.
Interns & Fellows
Vanessa Gutierrez-Maya: May 2017 – July 2017