Edward W. Hazen Foundation Welcomes Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez As New Program Officer
The Edward W. Hazen Foundation is pleased to announce that Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez will join the Foundation as a Program Officer. In that role, Isabel will help develop and implement the final, culminating phase of Hazen’s grantmaking.
The Hazen Foundation is dedicated to supporting youth and communities of color in dismantling structural racism and, over the next five years, will commit the full resources of the Foundation to the goal of engendering a youth of color centered movement for racial justice that is ever more compelling and sustainable as it strengthens its practices, innovates, and expands its reach and power.
“The Hazen Foundation has set a bold vision for our final years and we are confident that Isabel will bring a strong intersectional racial and social justice analysis that will further deepen our ability to support young people and communities of color in building the power to sustain progressive change into the future,” said Lori Villarosa, Hazen board chair and Founder & Executive Director of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.
Isabel joins Hazen following ten-years with the Florida Immigrant Coalition where she helped to shape the immigrant rights movement in Florida and took part in co-founding the national United We Dream network.
Isabel was born in Bogota, Colombia and fled civil unrest to Miami with her family at the age of 6 as political asylees. Unable to qualify for asylum, Isabel grew up undocumented and joined the immigrant rights movement with FLIC straight out of high school.
In 2010, Isabel was one of the founders of the national Trail of Dreams mobilization where they walked with other students and families 1,500 miles from Miami to D.C., drawing national attention to the need to end deportations and reform our nation’s broken immigration system.
The massive media exposure of this campaign and the series of actions nationwide that it inspired were instrumental in the negotiations with the Obama administration for the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has protected over 700,000 undocumented youth from deportation since 2012.
“I am so honored that Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez will be joining the Edward W. Hazen Foundation team!” added Cristina Jimenez, Hazen vice chair and Co-founder and Executive Director of United We Dream. “Isabel understands the transformative power of community organizing led by young people of color because she has lived it as an immigrant youth movement leader. Isabel brings a wealth of experience in intersectional strategies which deliver real change and which build others up, informed by her experience and wisdom as a proud formerly undocumented, trans, queer immigrant. She is uniquely positioned to advance Hazen’s vision of empowering young people of color to lead transformational change.”
Isabel has an Associate degree in Business Administration from Miami Dade College and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of South Florida. As a graduate student at the City University of New York, Isabel published academic articles detailing the effects of legal status and marginalization on undocumented mothers, their families, and adolescents.
Isabel served as the state coordinator of New York’s Mexican Initiative on Deferred Action, as a grantmaking fellow for the Trans Justice Funding Project, and on the national selection committee of the DREAM.US Undocumented Youth Scholarship Fund. They have also served on the board of directors of the Miami Worker's Center, Unite for a Fair Economy, and Central Florida Jobs with Justice.