Rhonda Ortiz is the Managing Director at the Equity Research Institute at USC where she manages the organization and operations, fundraises, and helps to set the strategic direction and impact of our work. In addition, Ortiz manages research projects and conducts research. For example, she has led our work convening and facilitating the Council on Immigrant Integration, in collaboration with the California Community Foundation, for over 10 years. She has been critical to the development of our State of Immigrants in Los Angeles reports and organizing the annual Immigration Summit. She has co-authored reports with the team, such as: How the Federally Proposed Rule Change for Public Charge Determination Could Negatively Impact Los Angeles County; Immigrant Lives, American Futures: Linking Asset Building and Immigrant Integration; California Immigrant Integration Scorecard; and Making Change: How Social Movements Work and How to Support Them.
Ortiz holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA and previously worked at The California Endowment. There, she worked closely with evaluators serving the Hmong immigrant community of the Central Valley, evaluating initiatives targeting policy and advocacy work and grassroots organizations. Prior to The Endowment, Ortiz worked in varied capacities addressing social, economic, and environmental injustices with labor and community-based organizations to address issues such as, research on living wages for the living wage ordinance in Santa Monica and environmental education for elementary schools with limited resources.
Fluent in Spanish, she has lived in Mexico and worked with a team of researchers to develop economic development projects between immigrant Hometown Associations in Los Angeles and their communities in Jalisco, Mexico. Ortiz was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Rockwood Fellowship for a New California and currently serves on the board of Power California.