Common Counsel Foundation Staff
In 2013, Laura Livoti started her term as CEO of Common Counsel Foundation, which provides philanthropic services to a select set of values aligned clients. Under Laura’s leadership, Common Counsel has grown its client services to a combination of four family foundations, nine donor advised funds, and four grantmaking initiatives, and five fiscally sponsored projects, with annual grantmaking in the range of $4 million. She co-designed a grantmaking initiative called Native Voices Rising, one of the few community-driven Native-led grantmaking programs in the country.
Prior to joining Common Counsel, Laura served as Senior Program Officer at French American Charitable Trust (FACT), which disbursed up to $5 million annually in support of 40 community-based organizations in California and the US South. In that role she designed and launched a comprehensive strengthening organizations program for grassroots organizations. One element of that capacity building program was spun off as a part of FACT’s legacy and is known today as Roadmap. Roadmap, continues to provide consulting services to grassroots groups as fiscally-sponsored project housed at Common Counsel Foundation. Throughout her time at Common Counsel and FACT, Laura has brought strong leadership to the philanthropic community through her involvement in Environmental Grantmakers, Neighborhood Funders Group, and Funders Committee on Civic Participation – among others.
Before working in the philanthropic sector, Laura served as Acting Executive Director & Managing Director at the National Radio Project, which had public-interest radio programs airing across the U.S. and in some countries overseas. In a volunteer capacity, Laura serves on the YBCA Board and the Neighborhood Funders Group Board. She has also served on the board or steering committees of many other organizations, including the Center for Economic Justice, Media Alliance, and the Women's Action Coalition. She founded Justice in Nigeria Now (JINN), which focuses on human rights, environmental protection, and community livelihood. Laura also spent a decade in the healthcare industry, which has enabled her to apply strong organizational principles and practices to the philanthropic and nonprofit organizations she has led. She currently splits her time between three cities where her work is centered and her soul is nourished: Oakland, CA, New York, NY, and New Orleans, LA.
Alex oversees Common Counsel Foundation’s programs, including strategic advising, research, and grantmaking for family foundations and donor-advised funds, as well as strategic re-granting initiatives. His issue knowledge and grantmaking experience includes environmental justice, immigrant, worker, and Native rights, housing and land use, criminal justice, and impact investing. Alex also serves on the Steering Committee for the Bay Area Justice Funders Network. Prior to Common Counsel Foundation, Alex worked at the San Francisco Foundation, where he notably seeded community-driven coalitions of environmental groups that leveraged California’s groundbreaking climate change law to promote sustainable communities with good clean energy jobs, access to public transportation, open space, and affordable housing.
Before joining philanthropy, Alex spent nearly 15 years as an organizer, community lawyer, and policy advocate. His work includes co-managing a citywide post-9/11 relief and recovery program at the Asian American Federation of NY, grassroots organizing with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York and the New York City AIDS Housing Network (now known as VOCAL-NY), and policy advocacy at the Urban Justice Center. As a community lawyer, he served as New Jersey director for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he oversaw its human rights legal docket and organizing campaigns for immigrant rights in the state.
Alex has also worked in government, serving as counsel with New Jersey’s Office of the Public Defender, and as chief of staff to Councilman-at-Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr. in Jersey City. Alex is a proud recipient of a public education – he received his business degree from the State University of New York at Albany and his law degree from Rutgers Law School – Newark.
Allistair joined Common Counsel Foundation in April 2016. He most recently served in two roles. In the role of Associated Director of Programs and Services at Associated Grant Makers, he coordinated funder affinity groups, directed programs to increase fundraising capacity within nonprofits, and leveraged relationships to bridge the nonprofit and funding community. Additionally, as Executive Director for Asian American Resource Workshop, he set up systems and processes, built up sizable reserves, and tripled the organization’s budget during his tenure. Allistair previously also worked in fundraising for United South End Settlements, a multi-service nonprofit located in the heart of Boston. Allistair has served on various grant making boards, including Access Strategies Fund, Haymarket People’s Fund, and the New England Foundation for the Arts. He is also active both in supporting local community organizing efforts and developing the next generation of community leaders. He is a trainer for a leadership development program for Asian Americans (Activist Training Institute), serves on the Steering Committee for Saffron Circle and Resilient Cities-Boston, and is a board member of Chinatown Cultural Center and Bikes Not Bombs. He originally hails from Towson, MD, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and Biology from Tufts University.
Cynthia Mitchell has worked in the nonprofit community in the greater Bay Area for over 15 years and brings a wealth of experience and connections from her previous positions with non-profit organizations that specialize in providing educational services, workforce programs, and community development. Cynthia has helped non-profits reach their financial objectives and has played an instrumental role in strengthening internal structures by developing processes, promoting transparency, and ensuring internal accountability. After obtaining a bachelor of science in accounting from Cal State East Bay, Cynthia entered the accounting field in government, before spending a few years in the private sector, and ultimately transitioning to the non-profit arena, where she found a passion for ensuring that the organizations that help underserved, disenfranchised communities are strong. Working in the nonprofit sector inspired her to seek a master of science in nonprofit administration at the University of San Francisco. Cynthia believes in continuous personal growth and is now completing her doctoral degree in organizational leadership at the University of San Francisco with her husband. Cynthia was born and raised in Oakland, has two beautiful children, and has many interests including family activities, traveling, cooking, and gardening.
Jazmin Segura brings over twelve years of experience in immigrant rights and social justice movements in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. She has a passion for racial and social justice and a deep commitment to grassroots organizing, advocacy, and movement building to bring about systemic change for low-income, immigrants and communities of color. Most recently, Jazmin worked at The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) where she developed and launched the foundation’s first Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building, providing timely resources to grassroots organizations that are on the front lines of organizing around issues of racial and economic justice in the Bay Area. Jazmin worked across the Foundation’s departments including the Development and Donor Services team to increase resources for immigrant and youth-led grassroots organizations.
Prior to her work at the Foundation, Jazmin was the Policy Manager at Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC). Under her direction, E4FC developed its first advocacy platform and created a leadership team of undocumented youth who led a successful statewide policy campaign to make career licenses accessible to all Californians regardless of immigration status. She also worked as a Policy Advocate at Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) where she co-led a diverse coalition of immigrant rights, criminal justice, and faith-based groups to pass one of the most progressive immigration detainer policies in the nation which later became a catalyst for the California Trust Act.
Jazmin’s commitment to building community power is inspired by her family’s immigration journey to the United States. She was born in Mexico City and migrated to the United States at the age of nine to be reunited with her father. She grew up in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Political Economy. Currently, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley and is a former commissioner for the Human Relations Commission of Santa Clara County.