Richard Raya

Chief Strategy Officer, Mission Economic Development Agency
San Francisco, California

Richard is committed to a national racial justice strategy led by community backbone agencies working in partnership with residents, CBOs, schools, philanthropy and government. As Chief Strategy Officer, Richard uses Mission Promise Neighborhood’s cradle-to-career, collaborative approach to help drive systems change across the city of San Francisco, moving from a Promise Neighborhood to a Promise City. This Promise City initiative aligns the best practices from Mission Promise Neighborhood with the Mayor’s COVID recovery plan, creating holistic, cradle-to-career solutions in the city’s hardest hit neighborhoods. As Richard works with the City, School District, and CBOs to scale Mission Promise Neighborhood’s place-based, collaborative approach, he has helped it become one of the only Promise Neighborhoods in the country to successfully advocate for both city and state funding to replace its federal funding. Richard is also a Board Member for SPUR, co-chair of the African American Latino Action Alliance, and a member of the Executive Committee for End Child Poverty in California. Prior to this, Richard was the Chief of Staff for an Oakland City Councilmember, and the Director of Administration for the Alameda County Public Health Department. Richard’s great-grandparents were indigenous Yaquis who came to the Bay Area after fighting in the Mexican Revolution. His parents worked as farmworkers in Northern California and came of age during the Chicano Movement. They laid the foundation for him to earn a B.A. and Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. He’s accompanied on this journey by his urban planner wife, five sons, and their rescue pit bull.

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Headshots of 4 Fellows
Today, the Aspen Institute announced its 2023 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows, 20 leaders from across the United States who are transforming systems so that all children and families can thrive.
Ascend FellowshipOctober 10, 2023