Eder Gaona-Macedo, Interim Executive Director 

Eder Gaona-Macedo is the first senior officer of community-engaged research at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. In his role at the CSRC, Gaona-Macedo engages young people in participatory action research that is focused on civic engagement and social justice. “Our democracy is under attack,” he states, “Now more than ever, it’s important in involve young people to ensure their constitutional rights and ability to help define the future”. 

Gaona-Macedo is the former executive director of Future Leaders of America (FLA), an organization that provides leadership training and educational experiences to Latinx youths in California. During his tenure, FLA addressed education and health disparities through youth-led grassroots organizing efforts that include “A-Gs for All”. Under his leadership, FLA went from becoming a small-nonprofit with a budget of $150k to one of California’s largest Latino-led youth-serving organization with a budget of $2Million. 

In 2018, Gaona-Macedo cofounded the 805 UndocuFund to provide disaster relief to undocumented residents in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In 2020, under his leadership, the 805 UndocuFund raised and distributed over $6.1 Million dollars to over 4,500 undocumented families affected by the COVID19 pandemic. 

Born in Tepochica, Guerrero, Gaona-Macedo crossed the border at the age of four with is mother and brother. As an undocumented California, he grew up witnessing the injustices suffered by the Latinx immigrant community. It is his rich lived experiences that encourages him to become a community scholar and advocate. 

Goana-Macedo is an alum of UCLA, where he received his BA in Chicano/a Studies and Political Science, and Columbia University, where he earned his MPA in public administration. He sits on the board of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and the Fund for Santa Barbara. Eder lives in Santa Maria, CA with his wife, Gloria, and his two puppies Pequitas and Chikis. 

Jennifer Ortiz, Operations Coordinator

Jennifer Ortiz is the inaugural Operations Coordinator of the 805 UndocuFund. Jennifer is a proud bilingual (Spanish/English), first-generation Chicana. Jennifer was raised in Oxnard, California and is the daughter of immigrants from Michoacan, Mexico. She graduated from Cal State Channel Islands with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.

Jennifer’s passion for social justice, mental health and working with her community is rooted from her experience growing up in Oxnard. Before joining the 805 UndocuFund team, Jennifer became active with the youth community in Oxnard. Over the past five years, she has worked with the youth in different sectors such as a behavioral health youth counselor and as an activity leader for Oxnard City Corps. During wildfire season and Covid-19, Jennifer continued to see how the youth and families she was serving struggled to recover from disasters due to socio-economic factors and lack of social safety net services. This led to Jennifer wanting to get more involved in advocating, teaching and empowering her community to fight for equity and equality.

Jennifer is proud to be a part of the 805 UndocuFund team and hopes to continue to work with her community in creating a long-term system change. Jennifer loves to travel, going to concerts, and spending time with her family and friends.