Rafael González serves as Director of Community Relations for First 5 LA. He is responsible for promoting awareness and understanding of First 5 LA and facilitating relationships with civic/community organizations, municipalities, school districts and parent/resident leaders throughout the Los Angeles County. Specifically, complementing the organization’s community building and advocacy work to create potential leveraging/partnership opportunities that will advance First 5 LA’s community, policy and systems change goals.
Rafael has worked in the spheres of community development, local government, corporate philanthropy, national service, civic engagement, civil rights, immigrant integration and youth development. This multifaceted backdrop has afforded him the chance to develop and maintain relationships with individuals from different disciplines and backgrounds for purposes of facilitating and leveraging partnerships to achieve common objectives and social change.
Prior to First 5 LA, Rafael was with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he served as Director of Community Relations and responsible for building a strong and proactive partnership with the community. Previously, he served as Chief Service Officer and Director of Neighborhood & Community Services for City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, where he developed and led “We Serve LA”, the civic engagement initiative of the City of Los Angeles, and directed the Mayor’s city-wide field operation and community relations team.
Prior to his service in City government, González was the catalyst in the community-level change efforts of two non-profit organizations. He served as Executive Director of Public Allies – Los Angeles; a community development and service organization that created opportunities for diverse young leaders to practice leadership and strengthen communities in nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles, and Collective SPACE (Social Power through Action & Community Education); a community based organization in the MacArthur Park/Westlake community with a mission of building an informed and active citizenry to bring about social change through grassroots organizing, education and leadership development.
Rafael previously served as Director of Civic Education & U.S. Citizenship Project Director at the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund; Affirmative Action Campaign Coordinator at the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF); Campaign Field Director at Coalition LA & Senior Field Deputy for LA Councilmember Mike Hernandez.
Rafael was born and raised in the downtown area of Los Angeles. He graduated from Cal State University at Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicano Studies and received his Master’s Degree from the USC Price School of Public Policy. He is married & has three sons.
Fun Fact: I was in a rock n’ roll band as a teenager and coach little league baseball with my sons.