Matt is the Chief Executive Officer at United Friends of the Children, one of the most successful and admired organizations serving foster youth in Los Angeles. For over forty years, United Friends has helped thousands of youth imagine and actualize independent and fulfilling futures through its housing and education programs. Looking forward, Matt is charged with setting a new vision and strategic direction for United Friends that both meets the needs of today’s youth and serves to enhance the overall systems of support for foster youth in Los Angeles County.
A seasoned nonprofit leader and strategist, Matt builds high-impact, sustainable organizations dedicated to enhancing services, legal protections, and educational and economic opportunities for vulnerable or marginalized communities. Prior to joining United Friends, Matt led the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, a legal advocacy organization in East L.A. As Executive Director, Matt positioned the organization as a statewide leader in legal services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, launching new initiatives and partnerships that expanded legal protections and enhanced access to quality services for survivors. Matt previously served as the Deputy Director of the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, which is the nation’s leading research center on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition to overseeing the Institute’s operations, Matt led development efforts that doubled the Institute’s budget and endowment and communication strategies that integrated Institute research into public discourse and policy debates on marriage equality, anti-discrimination law, and public services for vulnerable LGBTQ communities. As a consultant, Matt has also advised a variety of nonprofits, including youth services organizations, community clinics, and think tanks, on board development, program design, and external relations strategies. Matt began his career as a civil rights advocate, working as a staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and a research associate at the Institute on Race & Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School. In these roles, he litigated in the areas of education and voting rights and conducted research and policy advocacy in support of housing and immigration reform.