Letter from CEO Jon Marker

Our History

Dear Friends:

The month of June marks a transition at Youth Leadership Institute as our programs wind down a year of campaigns, events and youth voice across California. Today, I am also announcing my own upcoming transition and will be leaving my role at Youth Leadership Institute this July.

Thank you. Thank you for all that you have done to lift up the voices of our youth and the team of professional staff who work across our communities every day. It has been an incredible privilege and honor to have served as Youth Leadership Institute CEO for the past four years, and as a volunteer for two years prior. I am immensely proud to have been a part of this team and of all the work we have done.

Over 28 years, YLI has been central in helping communities expand the voices they amplify to include young people. I am proud that in the past four years we have expanded the number of young people we are working with, the number of communities we serve across California, and organizations we support across the country. This year we will partner with more than 2,000 youth in California across 7 offices from the Eastern Coachella Valley and Long Beach through the Central Valley and across the Bay Area. None of this would be possible without your generous support. Thank you!

I am also proud of the team we have built at Youth Leadership Institute, professional staff whose backgrounds reflect the backgrounds of the young people in our programs. One of these staff members has been by my side as we have grown YLI over the past four years and has been an instrumental partner in leading this organization. It is my great joy to announce that the Youth Leadership Institute Board of Directors has named Patty Barahona as Interim CEO of Youth Leadership Institute. You can read more about the Board of Directors vision in a letter from Board Chair Brandon Brown, which you can access here.

Patty is someone who I have learned from, and with, every day. Their work growing the strategic vision for our programs across our California communities, shaping YLI’s Training and Consulting Services and their ability to show up as an authentic leader gives them the skill, experience and vantage point to carry YLI’s vision forward. Their story is similar to the stories of our youth across the state – and I look forward to you learning more about their journey in leadership as a gender nonconforming leader of color in the nonprofit field. They reflect the stories of our youth – the power of our youth – and the willingness to create systemic change in our communities. In partnership with our strong board, who represent communities across California, dedicated staff, and the youth we work with each year, our communities are poised to raise their voices in powerful ways.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.  As I begin my next role, continuing to amplify identity based leadership as a Senior Program Officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation, I look forward to remaining a proud advocate, donor, and cheerleader of Youth Leadership Institute, and seeing you all soon.  

In Community,

Jon Marker