José is a social entrepreneur who has built a reputation as a visionary leader, strong manager, innovator and relationship-builder. He has been recognized for building mindful and creative organizational cultures and convening public, private and community people and resources to solve complex community, business and public sector problems.
Currently, as Vice President of Programs & Partnerships, Jose leads all grantmaking, partnership and programmatic efforts for Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation – a new foundation the Currys launched in 2019 that is becoming one of the country’s most innovative and impactful philanthropic organizations through its commitment to creating equal opportunities and bright futures for every child. In 2020, Eat. Learn. Play. was able to play a major role in the fight against rising hunger, helping to provide more than 15 million meals to children and families in the foundation’s hometown of Oakland. This strategy included engaging over 130 local restaurants who were able to rehire 850 of their employees in order to prepare and deliver over 2.5 million meals to those who needed meals during the pandemic.
Prior to joining the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, José served as the Director of Equity and Strategic Partnerships under Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. In this role, José served as senior advisor to the Mayor, with the responsibility of creating, coordinating, and facilitating public/private/ philanthropic partnerships. In this role, he led the development of the City’s first Economic Development Strategy in 21 years, grounded on creating equitable economic opportunities for all Oaklanders.
José also served as Chief Executive Officer of ICA (now known as ICA.fund) from 2004 to 2015. He led ICA to become a nationally recognized, award-winning organization for its work on scaling small businesses and entrepreneurs as a way to create good jobs, especially for people with the highest need. In the ten years with ICA, he oversaw a portfolio of companies that created over 5,000 jobs, creating over $200 million in wealth for local residents and collectively generating over $350 million in revenue. He also created a platform for hundreds of professionals to participate by contributing over $40 million of total pro bono investments into the organization’s mission. His innovative thinking led ICA to launch Fund Good Jobs – an investment fund focused on using capital to influence the creation and retention of quality jobs – and the Talent Management Group – an innovative approach that opened up career pathways for inner city residents and sought to enhance the workforce development sector.
In 2020, Jose served as the Co-chair of the City of Oakland Economic Recovery Advisory Council, charged to safely open businesses in Oakland during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jose is an Aspen Fellow and serves on the Boards of Northern California Grantmakers, The Unity Council and the Oakland Museum of California.Book A Lesson