Cathy Cha, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

TITLE: Vice President of Programs

FUNDING AREAS: Immigration rights and reform, civic participation

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Cathy Cha serves as vice president of programs at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, where her official bio shares:

As vice president of programs, Cathy oversees the Haas, Jr. Fund’s grantmaking and development of strategy for all its programs. Cathy’s work is driven by a career-long commitment to social justice and improving the lives of marginalized families and children. 

Cathy joined the Haas, Jr. Fund as a program officer in 2004. After working in the Fund’s family self-sufficiency and neighborhood development program areas, she led its Immigrant Rights and Integration program starting in 2009. In that position, Cathy managed the Fund’s grantmaking in support of efforts to increase immigrant civic participation, improve the climate for immigration policy reforms in California, and support public education for federal immigration reform. Cathy’s focus on alliance-building and collaboration helped strengthen the immigrant rights movement in California, leading to key policy wins such as scholarships for Dreamers, groundbreaking enforcement reforms, driver’s licenses for undocumented residents, and healthcare coverage for undocumented children. Cathy was instrumental in creating a new position in the Governor’s Office focused on immigrant integration.

Cathy is a leader in numerous funder collaboratives. She manages the work of California Civic Participation Funders, which is increasing voting and community organizing among disenfranchised populations in four regions of the state. In 2011, Cathy worked with the Carnegie, Knight and Grove foundations to start the New Americans Campaign, which has to date assisted more than 240,000 legal permanent residents to become U.S. citizens. In 2015, Cathy led efforts to create the African American Civic Engagement Project, an alliance of community leaders, funders and local groups across California that is working to increase voice and voter participation in Black communities.

Before joining the Haas, Jr. Fund, Cathy was a program officer at the Hyams Foundation in Boston. While working there, she helped establish the Home Funders initiative, which continues to unite Massachusetts funders in support of efforts to reduce family homelessness. Earlier in her career, Cathy developed affordable housing with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation in San Francisco. She also worked at the United Way of King County in Seattle, where she managed a grantmaking portfolio focused on strengthening safety net supports for low-income families and children. 

Cathy serves on the board of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and was previously its co-chair. She is on the steering committee for the Four Freedoms Fund, a national collaborative of funders focused on immigration issues. Previously, she’s served on the boards of Chinatown Community Development Center, Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Somerville Community Development Corporation.

Cathy is a frequent public speaker on civic participation, immigration policy, and the catalytic role of philanthropy in advancing social change. She received the Leader in Action Award from Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) in 2015, and the Immigrant Integration and Inspiration Award from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles in 2014. 

Cathy has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle.