Insights & News

A Letter from Our Board Chair on CEO’s Retirement


Update March 15, 2017: For more information about the search for the next President and CEO of College Futures Foundation, visit our Job Opportunities page.


Dear friends and colleagues,

Julia Lopez, our President & CEO of College Futures Foundation, has decided she will retire at the end of June this year 2017. She has given us eight years of outstanding leadership and accomplishment. We on the Board and her colleagues in the Foundation will miss her inspiration and her friendship.

Since Julia stepped into the role of President & CEO in 2008, we have reaffirmed our commitment to our mission, expanded and sharpened our strategies and tactics, and developed our leadership as well as our ability to learn and improve.

We at College Futures believe that student success is essential to both the economic and social success of our society, and that every qualified student in California should have the opportunity to succeed in college. To that end, we work with partners throughout the state to increase bachelor’s degree attainment among low-income students and others who are underrepresented in higher education.

Under her guidance, the foundation shifted its strategy from a focus on college access as a grantor of student scholarships to a focus on college attainment, working on changing policies, practices, systems, and institutions to better support student success. The central piece of our programmatic strategy is now our “Pipeline to Degree” initiative, which emphasizes student readiness and effective transitions along the degree completion pathway.

Our mission hasn’t changed—and won’t change with the coming leadership transition. We are indebted to Julia for greatly improving our ability to achieve that mission by bringing about a significant evolution for the foundation’s leadership as well as its work.

During Julia’s tenure, the Foundation has encouraged the use of data in student success work, forged and strengthened partnerships that cut across the boundaries of institution and sector, invested in local leaders to advance regional educational attainment agendas, and seeded and supported innovation in higher education.

College Futures has become a strategic foundation able to work effectively in a complex and ever-changing landscape, as well as a learning organization that embraces reflection and refinement. We are deliberate and focused about the levers we pull to improve the pipeline for students seeking degrees, yet nimble when it comes to opportunities—and we are constantly improving. Julia has helped develop a board that collectively holds this vision. We are fortunate to have worked alongside a leader with her passion, intellect, creativity, and good partnership.

Julia Lopez has been a leading champion of students and low-income populations throughout her career. She leaves a legacy to be proud of, and leaves College Futures at a good moment for new leadership to take the helm. The Foundation is on a strong new trajectory to significantly improve college access and success for California students. The board is committed to that trajectory. We have the resources and plans in place to take our work to address the many opportunities ahead.

Russ Gould, vice chair and chair-elect of the College Futures board of directors, will be heading a search committee to find Julia’s successor. We will be in touch about next steps.

Please join us in wishing Julia well in her retirement—and thank you, on behalf of all of us, for all you do in service of students and their college success.



Toby Rosenblatt
Chairman of the Board of Directors
College Futures Foundation