Passing The Baton

12 Jan, 2023

Passing The Baton

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January 12, 2023

Passing the Baton – Celebrating the Leadership of Brian Rogers and Rhonnel Sotelo

The Rogers Family Foundation is excited to announce the promotion of Rhonnel Sotelo to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Rhonnel joined the Foundation in 2013 and most recently served as the Executive Director overseeing the management of the Foundation’s team, grantmaking, and operations. As CEO, Rhonnel will continue to lead the Rogers Family Foundation in its efforts to ensure that Oakland’s students succeed in school, thrive in their careers, and engage in their community. Rhonnel will be responsible for the Foundation’s strategy and vision as it enters its final years of Oakland Education grantmaking.

New CEO Rhonnel Sotelo (left) with former CEO Brian Rogers (right)

Rhonnel succeeds our outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Brian Rogers. After nearly 20 years of leadership and service to Oakland, Brian is transitioning from his role as CEO. As the founding Executive Director, Brian established the Rogers Family Foundation as a trusted community partner organization that led and supported efforts to increase high quality educational opportunities for Oakland students. Brian built a team dedicated to understanding and developing community driven solutions to the challenges facing Oakland students and youth. As a former teacher, Brian was keenly aware that the classroom is not the only place students learn and develop the skills and knowledge needed to be successful, and understood that building relationships in neighborhoods across the city was integral in improving the education landscape. This knowledge and insight continues to influence the grantmaking focus of the Foundation to this day. Brian’s flexibility, creativity, and intuition supported his consistent ingenuity to hold grantees at the center of his work. Long-time Oakland partner and former President of East Oakland Youth Development Center, Regina Jackson attests, Brian’s leadership has been so multi-dimensional. He literally saw my vision – to remodel our building. He made a huge pledge, introduced us to new market tax credits as a lead funder, and then helped us find a project manager and contractors. Then as I was preparing to transition my role, he gave me a consultant to help prepare me for succession. Brian anticipated my needs and helped me accomplish my dreams. I will be forever grateful.”

The Foundation team is grateful for the opportunity to have worked closely with Brian and congratulates him on his contributions and dedication to the Oakland community over the past two decades. The team expresses our sincerest gratitude to Brian for instilling values and creating a culture of keeping students at the center of our work, seeking out new ideas and approaches to achieve better results for students, and empowering a great, hopeful team, and letting them lead.

Brian states, “Departing the Foundation is bittersweet. I am grateful to the multitude of dedicated  people and organizations that have fought, and will continue to fight, for better learning opportunities for our Oakland students. It has been an honor to both support and work alongside all of you. Yet, the Rogers Family Foundation is blessed that Rhonnel has agreed to become our new CEO – there is no one better suited to continue our work in our remaining years.”

Brian’s last official day with the Foundation was Thursday, January 26th. You can connect with Rhonnel at