2016 Awardee

Patricia Murillo

as Executive Director, Alternatives in Action

For more than 20 years, Patricia Murillo has been on a mission to change how schools engage under-served children. As Executive Director of Alternatives in Action for the past eight years, and in senior management roles for seven years prior, Patricia has transformed the organization into a renowned leader in the field of youth and community school development.

Alternatives in Action inspires Bay Area youth to realize their leadership potential. Each year, Alternatives in Action prepares more than 1,300 young people for success in college, career, and community through dynamic educational, skill-building, and real-world experiences. Their charter high school, after-school and school-linked programs, and partnerships provide innovative opportunities and support systems that help young people succeed into adulthood.

Patricia believes fully in Alternatives for Action’s power to disrupt cycles of poverty for youth in the Bay Area. “It is profoundly fulfilling to lead an organization grounded in strong values and mission,” she says. “There is a point of view that we hold about youth voice, hope, and justice in the world that inspires me every day.”

Over the past five years, Alternatives in Action has significantly expanded its programs to serve Oakland’s most disenfranchised neighborhoods. In spring 2015, Patricia led the organization through a strategic planning process to further deepen its impact. The process also brought to light the possibilities for growing and building internal leadership.

“More than ever, for Alternatives in Action to step into its next phase of development, I need to continue to evolve my role to allow for more distributed leadership,” Patricia says. “There is no doubt this time away will help me do that.” Patricia plans to begin and end her sabbatical with a meditation retreat, and to travel to Colombia to spend time with family.