Hello from our new CEO, Adam Briones

September 1, 2021

Dear Colleagues and Friends, 

Happy almost-Labor Day! I’m writing to follow up on the message from our founder (and still Board Chair), John Gamboa, announcing his retirement and my transition into the role of CEO. I couldn’t be more honored to follow in the footsteps of the man that not only founded four pioneering nonprofits (Los Padrinos, Latino Issues Forum, The Greenlining Institute, and California Community Builders), but also helped to lead the Third World Strike at UC Berkeley, sued Pacific Bell telephone company for language discrimination while working at Pacific Bell, was a foreman at Kaiser Steel, and, to top it off, was an accomplished low-rider in San Bernardino where he grew up. John will forever be my boss and mentor and I have nothing but profound gratitude to him, our board of directors and staff for allowing me to the opportunity to continue the vital work he started at CCB. 

A little about me 

For those of you that don’t know me, let me take a moment to introduce myself. I’m from Oakland, CA and, for the past two decades have dedicated my career to supporting communities of color and low-income families through public policy advocacy and affordable housing finance and development. I do this work for the same fundamental reason as so many of you: I want to make the world more fair and more just for everyone. I’d also like to share a little about what brings me to CCB specifically, my relationship with the activists that have come before me, and something I hope to accomplish during my tenure. 

First, being at CCB at this moment in our nation’s history feels like a tremendous challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. While it’s somewhat overwhelming to think of the scale of the problems that we’re facing, the racial wealth gap, climate change, ongoing threats to our basic civil rights, CCB’s staff and I are privileged to be able to stand up right now for what is just. We are busy conducting research, organizing coalitions, informing legislators, and looking at ways to better implement public policy because every small win we have in these areas eventually adds up to a big win for our communities. 

Second, I’m fundamentally standing on the shoulders of giants and honored to carry their work forward. I and the team at CCB are dedicated to building a lasting legacy to the civil rights leaders who founded the organization. It’s the responsibility of this generations leaders to continue, and hopefully bring to a successful close, the work that was started by our forbearers. 

Third, I’d like to make sure CCB remains a leader in making public policy more accessible. CCB, thanks to John, our board, and our staff, is a place where complicated policy ideas are explained in a way that’s understandable for people from all backgrounds. This won’t change during my leadership at the organization. CCB will also remain a place where people are treated well, respected for who they are and, importantly, where we can do serious work without actually taking ourselves too seriously.

A little about California Community Builders 

Ok, enough about me. For those of you that are unfamiliar with CCB, the headline is that we are an organization founded to build power for communities of color by closing the racial wealth gap. To accomplish this goal, we prioritize reversing decades of racial and economic discrimination against families and communities by: 

Increasing assets such as homeownership and other wealth-building tools like access to capital; 

Decreasing debts that our communities have often been unfairly burdened with; 

Ending exclusionary zoning and other aspects of California land use policy that contribute to structural inequalities; 

Producing cutting-edge research with a racial and economic justice lens; 

Organizing and working with coalitions throughout the state to push for needed change; and 

Training diverse young professionals to become leaders in policy, politics, business, and advocacy. 

And that’s it! I hope the above is helpful for understanding CCB, what we do, and why the Board and staff are taking a gamble on me. If something struck a chord and you would like to learn more, I hope you’ll drop me a line at abriones@ccbuilders.org. I also hope you’ll follow me and CCB on social media accounts like Twitter and Linkedin. If something really struck a chord, I hope you’ll consider making a donation. Regardless, we have a lot of work to get done. 

I look forward to staying connected as we build a future where all people and communities thrive and prosper!  

Adam Briones