Press Releases Urban Institute Adds Three New Leaders to Its Board of Trustees
Community Leader Antonia Hernández, Former Mayor Ashley Swearengin, and Scholar Marta Tienda
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May 17, 2019 – Yesterday, the Urban Institute elected three women to its Board of Trustees: former MALDEF President Antonia Hernández, currently president and CEO of the California Community Foundation; former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, currently president and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation; and renowned scholar Marta Tienda, a professor of demographic studies, sociology, and public affairs at Princeton University.

“As Urban launches its Next50, we are privileged to add these powerful voices to Urban’s leadership ranks,” said Jamie Gorelick, chair of the Board of the Urban Institute.

“Antonia Hernández is a civil rights icon, who spent decades advocating for the Latino community. For the past 15 years, she has led a powerful civic institution fighting to improve the lives of underserved communities in Los Angeles County,” Gorelick said.

“As mayor of Fresno, Ashley Swearengin was a dynamic visionary in a struggling city in the heart of California’s agricultural heartland. A lifelong Republican, her relentless pragmatism has made her a favorite partner of elected officials and philanthropy from all quarters. Now she leads a rapidly growing community foundation tackling her region’s great challenges,” the Chair continued.

“Marta Tienda is perhaps the country’s leading scholar of its Hispanic population. Her restless mind and determination led her on a personal journey, from farm labor as a child to the pinnacle of the academy, where she has helped us understand what drives social and economic inequality.”

Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, added: “We could not ask for a more relevant and powerful set of perspectives to guide Urban as it begins its second fifty years, launching new areas of research aimed at accelerating promising solutions to advance equity, upward mobility, and shared prosperity.” The Institute launched Next50 at the Changemaker Forum at its brand-new learning and conference center at 500 L’Enfant Plaza in Southwest DC on May 15. “We are grateful to them for agreeing to serve with the rest of Urban’s remarkable board,” Wartell said.

For both Swearengin and Tienda, November marks the first of three possible three-year terms. Hernández has been elected for a term to begin in spring 2020.


Antonia Hernández is president and CEO of California Community Foundation, one of Southern California’s largest and most active philanthropic organizations, which holds assets of more than $1.7 billion. During her tenure, the foundation has granted nearly $2 billion, with a focus on health, housing, education, and immigration programs. Previously, Hernández was president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), a national Latino legal civil rights organization dedicated to protect and defend Latinos living in the US. Hernández is a member of the board of directors of the Automobile Club of Southern California, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Association, Grameen America, and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute. She earned her BA from UCLA and her JD from UCLA School of Law.

Ashley Swearengin is president and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, a charitable foundation serving the six counties of central California and providing more than $110 million in funding to over 650 community benefit organizations over the past decade. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as mayor of Fresno from 2009 through 2016. Before becoming mayor, Swearengin led community and economic development initiatives in the Central Valley, including the Governor’s Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development, and the Central Valley Business Incubator. She holds BS and MBA degrees from CSU-Fresno.

Marta Tienda is the Maurice P. During ’22 Professor of Demographic Studies and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. She specializes in the demography of higher education, racial and ethnic inequality, and international migration. She is past president of the Population Association of America, an external fellow of the American Institutes for Research, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the National Academy of Education. She received a BA from Michigan State University and a PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and has received honorary doctorates from Bank Street College, Ohio State University, and Lehman College.