Lateefah Simon is director of California’s Future Program at the Rosenberg Foundation.
Established in 1935 at the bequest of California business leader Max L. Rosenberg, the foundation has supported a wide range of initiatives to promote economic inclusion and human rights.
Simon came to civil rights work at 15 years old when she was a client at the Center for Young Women's Development (CYWD), the nation’s first economic and gender justice organization solely run for, and by, low income and formerly incarcerated young women. By 19, she was the center's executive director. Seven years later she received a MacArthur "genius" grant.
After her 11-year tenure at CYWD, Simon led the creation of San Francisco’s first reentry services division under the leadership of district attorney Kamala D. Harris. She helped launch and oversaw successful programs such as Changing the Odds and Back on Track.
Simon then served as executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco. The organization works to champion the legal rights of people of color, poor people, immigrants and refugees, with a special commitment to African Americans.
In addition to the MacArthur Fellowship, Simon has received numerous awards, including the Jefferson Award in 2007. She was also named “California Woman of the Year” by the California State Assembly in 2005. In 2009, she was one of 20 women included on Oprah Winfrey's first ever "Power List."
She also received the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for A Changing World, the Remarkable Woman Award from Lifetime Television, the Levi Straus Pioneer Activist Fellowship, and
the New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Simon also was the winter 2014 Social Entrepreneurs in Residence Fellow at Stanford University.