In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the City of Oakland recognized The Unity Council’s Associate Director of Community Health Jae Maldonado for his groundbreaking work in both the Latinx and LGBTQ communities throughout the region.
“Jae has a long history of serving the Latinx community and empowering a wide variety of residents -from immigrants to homeless residents to parents to LGBT youth to many others,” said City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who presented Maldonado’s award in front of more than 100 people at the City Council meeting on October 15th. “He’s had a formative role in designing and supporting the type of community programming that stabilizes our neighborhoods and nurtures our residents.”
For more than two decades, Maldonado has developed cross-sector programs for the advancement of underserved communities, including the Latinx and LGBTQ community.
The New Jersey native first began his career in nonprofit as a Head Start Counselor and later transitioning to New School University as a Development Manager in New York City. In 2005, he moved to the west coast and managed youth programs throughout San Francisco including, Mission Learning Center, LYRIC, and Buena Vista Horace Mann. In 2015, Maldonado became the Executive Director at Street Level Health Project in Oakland, a nonprofit providing access to quality healthcare for the uninsured immigrant community in the Bay Area.
Since September 2018, Maldonado has been the pinnacle in the restructure and solidification of the Community Program Department at The Unity Council for various programs such as VITA, Workforce Development, and Youth Programs including the Latinx Mentoring & Achievement that launched this fall.
Maldonado admits facing several challenges intersecting both the LGBTQ and Latinx communities; however, he believes his ongoing advocacy efforts have been rewarding because they have empowered him to speak to the need of marginalized experiences. Maldonado credits his success to his mother who survived years of domestic violence at the hands of those who made her feel defenseless.
“My mother’s strength is my inspiration,” said Maldonado. “She could care less about her well-being, but never once did she turn her back to someone in need.”
Councilmember Kaplan is grateful for Maldonado’s ongoing work to uplift two highly vulnerable communities. “As the only openly LGBT member of our City Council, it felt so important to raise up the fabulous work of Jae as a transmasculine individual and Latino who works primarily with immigrants, “said Kaplan.
Congratulations on the amazing milestone, Jae!