Marc Philpart, Executive Director

Marc was named executive director of the California Black Freedom Fund in April 2022, bringing more than a decade of leadership in advocacy working with grassroots organizations to build power for racial justice.

Prior to joining the California Black Freedom Fund, Marc led the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. Under his leadership, the Alliance successfully advanced more than 100 state policies and established powerful partnerships with the California Senate and Assembly Select Committees on the Status of Boys and Men of Color and the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color. Through Marc’s leadership, the Alliance broadened its focus to include fighting for gender justice and ending intimate partner violence by addressing misogyny and patriarchy, as well as racial equity.

Through these experiences, Marc has gained deep campaign and policy expertise across a wide array of issues, including public health and violence prevention, police and prison abolition, education, the criminalization of youth, economic equity and poverty eradication, and voting and civic engagement. Marc serves on the board of directors for the California Immigrant Policy Center, Partners for Dignity and Rights, and is on advisory committees for the University of Southern California’s Equity Research Institute and The Colorado Health Foundation’s locally focused work, and he is co-chair of the Equity Subcommittee of the Essentials for Childhood Initiative, a coalition coordinated by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Social Services.

Keshia Sexton, Director of Engagement and Operations

Keshia Sexton joined California Black Freedom Fund in December 2022 as the Director of Operations and Engagement. Recognizing the inequities in education and the pipeline to prison at her high school, Keshia decided at 16 that she wanted to be part of the solution to ensure Black people have a better quality of life. This awakening also inspired her to study Africana Studies at California State Dominguez Hills to expand her knowledge of Black culture, history, and social justice movements.

Keshia has over 16 years of organizing experience, building power to create a more equitable and just world for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. She is a member of the State of California Baldwin Hills Conservancy Governing Board and California State University, Dominguez Hills’ Alumni Council. Before joining CBFF, she served as Director of Organizing at Mothers Out Front and Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and as a Part-time Lecturer at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Keshia is passionate, strategic, and grounded in her commitment to Black liberation and wellness. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. When Keshia is not working, she finds joy in nature, traveling, and spending quality time with her family, friends, and dog.

Carmen Ross, Director of Programs

Carmen Ross joins the California Black Freedom Fund as the Program Director, overseeing the Fund’s fundraising and grant making work. She comes into this work with a passion to serve as a bridge builder to help connect resources that amplify, to communities of color. 

Prior to joining the Fund, Carmen served as the Senior Program Manager at the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. In partnership with community leaders, Carmen led work to improve educational equity for Boys and men of color in the Sacramento region through scholarships and grants, support elevating youth voice in philanthropy, and provide strategic direction for the Foundation’s competitive grants. She has also served as the Communications Director for the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce, where she helped position the Chamber as a community partner through marketing, outreach, and asset-based community development program creation. Before Lodi, she collaboratively raised funds for Northern California regional social service programs through grant writing in her role as Foundations & Corporate Relations Associate for The Salvation Army.

Carmen earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, where her interest in philanthropy and creating opportunities for communities of color through grant-making was sparked. Having moved to a number of cities throughout the state—Carmen claims Southern, Northern, and Central California as home. Her other passions include painting, photography, dancing, and traveling.

Advisory Board