John Govea, JD, MPA, senior program officer, joined the Foundation in 2007. His work on childhood obesity focuses on identifying advocacy strategies that advance policies and environmental changes leading to increased physical activity and better nutrition for children. Believing in RWJF’s “respect, credibility, and ability to inform policy,” Govea views his work as “engaging the very populations we’re trying to impact as advocates for policy solutions.”
Previously, he served as senior program officer for the State of California’s Service Commission, where he oversaw implementation of the state’s AmeriCorps programs. He has prior experience in philanthropy with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Community Foundation for Monterey County. He also had a 15-year career as an attorney and law partner representing farm workers suffering work injuries in Salinas, Calif.
A California native, his parents were grassroots community organizers active with the Community Service Organization, an effort that also trained United Farm Workers (UFW) founder Cesar Chavez. Govea, who “grew up on community meetings,” views his experiences with this movement as enabling him to “witness history.” His eldest sister’s work with UFW was featured in the PBS series entitled “Chicano! The Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement.”
He has been active with a variety of nonprofit boards ranging from La Raza Galeria Posada in Sacramento, Calif., an arts and cultural center dedicated to the culture of Chicano, Latino, and Native populations to serving as vice president for ethnic emphasis for the Monterey Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is presently on the board of Hispanics in Philanthropy.
Govea earned a JD from the University of California School of Law, Boalt Hall, an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and an AB from Stanford University.
He resides in Princeton with his partner, Denise Keller, coordinator of a community-based research program at Princeton University and small business consultant, and has two adult children who live in California. He enjoys birding and backpacking, and continues to enjoy his lifelong passion for competitive wrestling.