End Child Poverty in California Leadership Announcement

Partners, Friends, and Colleagues:

We make today’s announcement that Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, GRACE/End Child Poverty CA’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy has accepted the position of Chief Deputy at the California Children and Families Commission (First 5 California), with pride, and congratulations to Jackie in her new position, and deep gratitude for her service.  

Jackie has played a crucial and central leadership role in helping GRACE and the End Child Poverty CA (ECPCA) Coalition work with each of you, the Governor, and committed legislators in achieving the historic implementation of the recommendations made by the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force.  33 of the 47 Task Force recommendations have been adopted, with $4.8 billion in new comprehensive investments.  This progress could not have been achieved without Jackie’s guidance, experience, commitment, and the respect in which she is held within state government. 

Despite the loss of Jackie’s direct day to day involvement with GRACE/ECPCA, however, having served as a First 5 California Commissioner for eight years, I am grateful that she will now be in a central leadership role in implementing and building on the key 0–5-year-old investments that have been made.  Her wisdom and leadership are needed in her new role now more than ever.   We will continue to rely on her guidance and partnership.  Jackie’s letter to the GRACE/ECPCA coalition partners can be found here.

We are fortunate to also be able to announce that Michelle Rubalcava, an experienced attorney, former legislative staff member, and former Senior Legislative Advocate for Los Angeles County will join GRACE/ECPCA as our retained Policy Advocate.

Michelle has over twenty years of extensive experience in and around state politics as a legislative staff member, health care attorney, and legislative advocate.  She has worked for distinguished legislators such as Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny and Senator Bryon Sher.  As Senior Legislative Advocate for the County of Los Angeles, she specialized in health, mental health, and public health issues.  Her personal and professional experiences will assist and enhance GRACE/ECPCA’s ability to convene key legislative leaders, maximize the effectiveness of the ECPCA Coalition and add significant strength to our efforts to implement the End Child Poverty Plan.  Michelle has shown a deep commitment to the GRACE/ECPCA mission of ending child and family poverty in our state and we look forward to working with her.  She is Senior Counsel at the law firm of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni, which has a long association with GRACE/ECPCA.


Conway Collis
President and CEO of GRACE & End Child Poverty California