Marcos’s over three decades of experience in the nonprofit sector has also included serving as the Executive Director of El Concilio del Condado de Ventura, a Ventura County Latina/o community advocacy and multi-service organization (1986-1995), and the Director of Planning for the United Way of Ventura County (1984-1986). His volunteer leadership service have included serving on numerous local, regional and national boards and community campaigns, including the founding chairperson of the Ventura County Living Wage Coalition (1997-2001), and on the board of directors of the McCune Foundation, the Common Counsel Foundation, the Partnership for Working Families, and the Ventura County Workforce Development Board. Marcos has received numerous awards in recognition of his community work, including the 2014 Outstanding Citizen Award from the California Federation of Teachers, the Cesar Chavez 50 in 50 Leadership Award from the United Farm Workers of America, El Concilio Latino Leadership Award, and Earth Summit Leadership Award from the Ventura County Citizens for Peaceful Resolution (CPR). His work on behalf of the rights of low-wage working women, including his publication of the 2001 report on the Feminization of Poverty in the California Central Coast, won him the 2003 Leadership Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus of Ventura County.
Among his accomplishments over his four years with the FUND, Marcos has led in an effective progressive regional response to the impact of the national political crisis since the 2016 elections, including the expansion of the FUND’s emerging need grants program, establishment of the field-of-interest Immigrant Legal Defense Fund and the convenings and support of emerging coalition and collaborative efforts around immigrant legal defense, environmental justice and food justice. His extensive background in nonprofit organizational development and community planning played an important leadership role in the establishment of a number of new effective philanthropic partnerships with other local, state, and nationwide foundations and in the completion of the FUND’s current five-year strategic planning process. The latter included the adoption of a revised mission, vision, strategy, and program action statements, building from the FUND’s nearly forty years of social change work to clarify its long-time role in building movements for social, economic, environmental, and political justice.
A strong commitment to the life-long practice of social learning, Marcos has sought to inform his work through decades of community organizing and policy advocacy, as well as the study and application of both social science and Native American indigenous teachings. A Sundancer in the Lakota Native American and Mexica traditions, Marcos is actively involved in efforts to expand the knowledge and application of these indigenous teachings and ceremonies in all levels of social change work.
Having earned his doctorate degree in urban planning from the University of California at Los Angeles, Marcos’s 2004 dissertation addresses the theory and practice of community transformation and the expanding public policy and community development role of racial and multi-racial community-based organizations in California. Drawing from his academic research and years of organizing experience, he has served as an adjunct professor in Urban Studies and Chicano Studies at California State University at Northridge, California State University at Channel Islands, and UCLA. A father of three, a graphic artist and dedicated trail runner, Marcos lives in Ventura, California with his wife, Robin Jacobs, and his two daughters, Maya Esperanza (age 18), Julianna Citlali (age 15). His son Canek Pena-Vargas (age 32) is a high school history teacher in Los Angeles. Robin is a third grade bilingual education teacher with the Ventura Unified School District.
Kristin joined the Fund for Santa Barbara in April 2018, holding positions as an intern, Administrative Assistant, and Operations Assistant before becoming the FUND’s Development Associate in October 2019.
Kristin is passionate about affordability and access in higher education, Asian American representation in politics, and gender equity. She spends her free time volunteering in local campaigns, cooking, and going to the gym.
Lennea is especially interested in how social change and restorative justice are promoted through radically inclusive community building and the arts. Prior to joining the FUND team, Lennea interned with UC Berkeley’s Death Penalty Law Clinic and worked on strategic outreach for a race-class narrative book launch. When she’s not working (and outside of the context of a global pandemic) Lennea enjoys traveling, hula hooping, and aerial dancing.
Youth Making Change Coordinator
David is a graduate of UCSB with a BA in Sociology and a minor in education. Aside from being the Youth Making Change while working at the Fund, David is also a Board Member of Truth In Recruitment.
Alina Rey Keswani
Development and Communications Manager
Alina is a graduate of UC Davis where she double majored in Communication and International Relations. Prior to joining the FUND, she oversaw development at Storyteller Children's Center. Alina is passionate about travel and exposures to different cultures and ways of life as a means of continued education and path toward collective understanding. She is a strong supporter of the arts, particularly dance and music, and believes in the power they have to unify and shape communities. In her free time, Alina enjoys reading, writing, experiencing live music and visiting new places.
Prior to joining the FUND, Tania served as the Coordinator for the 805 UndocuFund where she played an integral role in assisting frontline communities disproportionately impacted by natural disasters like the Thomas, Woolsey and Hill Fires. In her tenure there she provided nearly $400,000 in direct assistance to thousands of undocumented community members who were excluded from federal aid.
As the FUND’s Grants Associate Tania continues to support our most vulnerable community members by fostering strategic partnerships aiming to address the root causes of issues directly impacting them. She is a proponent of social justice and progressive change and plays a crucial role in leading grantmaking efforts and coordinating grantmaking programs.
Tania received a B.A. in Cognitive Science and Psychology from the University of California, Irvine where she earned. She enjoys camping, reading, hiking, running, biking, dancing, and embarking on spontaneous adventures that take her to new destinations.
She has worked with CCFL, and held leadership roles in many local community actions and initiatives, including her service on the FUND’s Grant Making Committee and annual North County Tardeada event. Among her numerous recognitions, in 2016 Patricia received the Working Families Award from the Santa Barbara County Action Network for her many efforts to improve the lives of working families in the region.
The knowledge he gained about his family then developed into an interest and understanding of broader issues in his own community, both politically and culturally, which he hopes to learn more about through his work with the FUND.
Hugo also has a passion for helping younger students pursue a higher education and is excited to join the FUND as South County Coordinator for the Youth Making Change program. During his years at the university Hugo was part of the College Link Outreach Program, a program dedicated to helping underrepresented students from Los Angeles experience college through workshops, academic resources and professional connections. In his free time, he enjoys reading about philosophy and watching TED talk videos on YouTube.