California Black Freedom Fund

Announcing CBFF’s 2024 Chinedu Valentine Okobi Sabbatical Program Participants

We are excited to announce the inaugural cohort of the Chinedu Valentine Okobi Sabbatical Program: Kaci Patterson, Laneesha Senegal, and Tamisha Walker! 

The Chinedu Valentine Okobi Sabbatical Program was created to honor the life and legacy of Chinedu Valentine Okobi, a devoted father, poet, brother, son, and Morehouse graduate, who was tased and beaten to death by San Mateo sheriffs in October of 2018. In his memory, Chinedu’s family has invested a portion of the funds they received from their lawsuit against San Mateo County to create a sabbatical program to support healing, rest, and joy for leaders of Black power-building and racial justice organizations. The program is a three-year pilot effort that will award a new cohort each year through 2026.

“There are so many things you can grant to, and for us, rest became the focus for a number of reasons…Rest for Black and oppressed people is an act of great revolution. And so the point of the sabbatical is to create spaces of deep rest, love, and joy for freedom fighters who have dedicated their lives to Black liberation.”

Ebele Okobi, Sister of Chinedu Valentine Okobi

Each organization of this year’s three recipients will receive a $25,000 grant to support a six-consecutive-week sabbatical so that they can take time away from their organizational work for restoration and wellness. 

California Black Freedom Fund is collaborating with Black Girl Freedom Fund at Grantmakers for Girls of Color to administer the sabbatical program awards. 

Join us in congratulating CBFF’s inspiring 2024 Okobi awardees!

Meet the 2024 Chinedu Valentine Okobi Sabbatical Program Participants

Kaci Patterson
Black Equity Collective 

Kaci is the Founder and Chief Architect of one of  California Black Freedom Fund’s anchor networks  Black Equity Collective, an ecosystem of funders, Black-led organizations, collaborators, and allies joined as partners in strengthening the long-term sustainability of Black-led and Black-empowering organizations in Southern California. Kaci is also the Founder and Chief Architect of Social Good Solutions (SGS), a Black woman-owned and operated boutique consulting firm that works with philanthropic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies to design, operationalize, and manage racial justice initiatives from concept to implementation. Since 2014, Kaci has raised and leveraged over $48 million (and counting!) for Black-led organizations in California. 

Laneesha “Lynisha” Senegal
Helping Others Pursue Excellence (HOPE)

Laneesha is the Executive Director of HOPE, a 501(c)(3)nonprofit vocational training and entrepreneurship program supporting Black business owners in Fresno who experience barriers to starting and running a successful business. As a low-income mother of five, Laneesha experienced firsthand the struggle of barely making ends meet while working to get her business off the ground. Her challenges and rejections during her entrepreneurial journey motivated her to launch the Vision View Business Center, now one of Central Valley’s largest and most comprehensive entrepreneurship centers. The motto for Vision View is “Where One’s Vision is Without Limits.”

Tamisha Walker
Safe Return Project

Tamisha Walker is a founding member and Executive Director of the Safe Return Project, a campaign to secure the freedom and liberation of formerly incarcerated individuals. Since her release from incarceration in 2009, she has been a Richmond-based community organizer and well-respected advocate on issues related to mass incarceration and racial disparity in the criminal justice system. As a formerly incarcerated woman, she shares a powerful personal story about her journey to healing and successful reentry into society.