New Executive Director Appointed to Lead the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who is the new Executive Director?
Long-time San José arts education leader Tamara Alvarado has been appointed by the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation to become our new Executive Director. She succeeds Elaine Curran, the Foundation’s founding Executive Director, who is retiring in July. Alvarado has been Executive Director for the School of Arts and Culture at MHP in East San José since it was started in 2011.
During Tamara’s leadership at the School of Arts and Culture, the School and the Mexican Heritage Plaza have earned a positive reputation for their commitment to their East San José communities and the excellence of their programs. The School has developed a strong financial position and enjoys the committed support of many multi-year funders. It recently completed a long-term strategic plan to carry out its vision for enriching the arts and culture of the people of San José
Prior to her service at the School, Tamara was director of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute at 1st Act Silicon Valley before it became a program at the School of Arts and Culture, and she was Executive Director of MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana) in San José. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature and Chicano Studies from Stanford University.
2. When will she start?
Tamara will start in her new role at the Foundation on July 9. Elaine Curran is scheduled to retire from the Foundation by July 30, providing a strategic overlap in order to ensure a smooth transition for our new Executive Director.
3. Why did the Foundation appoint a new Executive Director?
Elaine announced earlier this year that she will be retiring as Executive Director in July, and the Foundation Board immediately began a search process in order to achieve a seamless transition.
Elaine has served as the Foundation’s first Executive Director over the past eight years, and she has been instrumental in developing our giving strategies and grantmaking systems. During her leadership, the Foundation has made nearly $20 million in grants that have expanded educational opportunities and support services for underserved K-12 youth and their families in Santa Clara County.
4. What will this mean for Shortino grantees?
Grantees can expect no impact on their current grants and obligations. The Foundation will continue to operate our current programs and systems as they now exist, and grantees will not be affected by this change in leadership.
In the coming months Tamara Alvarado will reach out to Foundation grantees and start making site visits to learn more about Shortino’s mission, its partners, and the communities we serve.
5. Will there be any changes to how the Foundation operates, such as its mission, or in its grant processes, schedules, reports, and criteria?
No changes are planned at this time.
The Foundation does regularly review our grant systems and criteria to reflect ongoing and anticipated needs, opportunities, resources, and changes in our community. Under Tamara’s leadership, we will continue to engage stakeholders and community perspectives as we consider any adjustments to our operations in order to better meet Santa Clara County children’s educational needs.
6. What was the board looking for in hiring a new Executive Director?
In our recruitment for Elaine’s successor, the Shortino Foundation board sought a collaborative leader and self-directed senior manager who could continue to lead the Foundation in partnership with the board and stakeholders.
The board’s priorities for a new Executive Director included strategic thinking and deep knowledge of local education systems with evidence-based practices, as well demonstrated abilities to conceptualize, communicate, and lead the Foundation to shared visions and new directions in response to changing community needs and opportunities.
The board is confident that Tamara Alvarado has the right combination experience and qualifications to build on the foundation that has already been established by Elaine and the board.