Priscilla leads the team at the James B. McClatchy Foundation as Chief Executive Officer. With over 20 years in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, she has curated investments across a wide range of issues that center communities and people seeking better lives for themselves and the next generation. As CEO she provides leadership in strategic philanthropic investments while supporting the bedrock tenets of democracy and advancing equity. Both a servant leader and advocate, Priscilla works to enhance and uphold the foundation’s promise to stand with the people of California’s Central Valley in partnership with her board, staff, and grantee partners.
As a first generation college graduate, Priscilla holds an A.B. and an M.A. from UC Berkeley. Her sweet spot is leading for change — to transition systems that divide and separate into ones that build and unite. She leads by innovating with a start-up mindset for community and systemic change.
Being of Korean-Filipino-American descent, my world view has been shaped by immigrant, and multicultural multigenerational roots. As my Filipino dad was enlisted as a US Army staff sergeant and my Korean mom the always-working immigrant entrepreneur, my life was enriched with an upbringing that took our family all over the country and globe. I spent most of my time with my beloved halmeoni (grandmother) who lived with us and together with whom I learned to read by watching Sesame Street.
Unfortunately, the circumstances which brought my wonderful parents together — global conflicts — meant that the fog of war instilled a lingering hidden trauma in my family’s history, felt by my family’s loss of life, childhood, and youth spanning two global affairs.
Their lived experiences in seeking the American Dream took shape in places like Korea, the Philippines, Guam, Japan, California, Alaska, and Washington D.C./Virginia — much of it on military bases and its surrounding communities. This childhood full of culture and transition meant I was exposed to a distinctive caste and class system that shaped my unique sense of self and place — one I always struggled with to feel like I belonged. And still, to this day, that remembrance of belongingness weighs heavily on how I lead the Foundation and ensure that we see our communities.
While the opportunity to migrate to many places led to an abundance of richness and appreciation for people from all walks of life, it also led to an understanding of inequities and injustices that certain people face — often poor, people of color, immigrants, especially women, and those who do not speak English. Despite this, it gave me the chance to see how the beauty of our uniqueness also confirms how alike we truly are — we all want safety, love, food, shelter, and a sense of community to live our lives.
This ethos of a shared worldly diaspora reflects my firm belief in the resiliency of people and drives my leadership philosophy up to this day. The lens my family gifted me from their sacrifice and survival for a better life instills a sincere drive to address and correct inequities in underinvested communities brimming with people full of talent, hopes and dreams.
I am 100% a dog lover and am currently in search of another puppy to add to the family.
Though still green in my practice, I am an earnest yoga fan greeting my day with a daily surya namaskar (sun salutation) and try to follow an Ayurveda practice of clean eating (I’m a B- as my weakness for crunchy chips finds itself winning!)
My athletic pursuits expand to any urban hike that includes cool neighborhoods, hidden steps and stairs, quiet hikes along the coastal range or birding nature preserves. Recent favorites include jaunts to Pt. Reyes along the Sonoma Coast and walking mile-long NYC blocks.
I am married to my husband John, who hails from the Central Valley. Now with adult children, we love exploring new experiences with them and are in awe as they venture out and discover who they are.