John Kobara – A Leader in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations
John Kobara ’78 is a nationally-recognized figure in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. As executive vice president and chief operating officer at California Community Foundation, he oversees all development, marketing, administrative, grant making, civic engagement and donor relations activities of the foundation.
For 35 years, he has been leading and managing pioneering nonprofit organizations, businesses and technology startups. Throughout this time, he has actively contributed to social justice by increasing access to educational opportunities for children and families in Los Angeles.
Early Life and Education
John Kobara has held various leadership roles at numerous organizations throughout his career. Currently, he serves as Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer of the California Community Foundation, overseeing their development, marketing, administrative, grantmaking, civic engagement and donor relations functions.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and an master’s in business administration from USC, as well as being a Coro Fellow in Los Angeles.
He has founded three groundbreaking start-ups in education and entertainment. As a social entrepreneur, he believes in making a difference by building successful organizations through change management, innovation and an emphasis on social outcomes. His current work with incarcerated entrepreneurs and at-risk youth is particularly rewarding and fulfilling; he’s thankful for this chance to contribute towards creating a world which is joyful, equitable, just and compassionate for everyone.
Over his long career, John has led and managed numerous regional, national, and international non-profit organizations in arts, education, and philanthropy. Currently he serves as Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer for the California Community Foundation (CCF), a $1.8 billion entity that ranks 48th largest foundation in America.
This month, he participated in the ELP’s professional skills development workshop with his presentation “A Mentoring and Networking Lifestyle for APA Professionals.” He was joined by three other USJC advisors and members of the Legacy Council; they shared their knowledge to help JALD ’11 fellows gain insight into cross-cultural communication techniques. Additionally, there was an engaging conversation about Japanese American leadership challenges and successes within the workplace.
Achievements and Honors
John Kobara has been an esteemed leader in philanthropy and nonprofit organizations for more than 35 years. Currently, he serves as Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer of the California Community Foundation – 48th largest grantmaking foundation nationwide.
He was previously the director of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, UCLA Management School and Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics. For his efforts, he received numerous accolades such as the City of Angels Award.
He currently sits on the board of directors for the Japanese American National Museum and serves as its chair of its executive committee. Additionally, he holds board positions with MLK Community Hospital Foundation and SCGA Junior Foundation. A featured speaker at OTAC conferences, he has given hundreds of workshops nationwide about career and life development, passion pursuit, mentoring relationships and networking techniques.
John Kobara is a social entrepreneur with extensive experience in building successful and growing organizations. He has held leadership roles at numerous regional, national and international non-profits in the arts, education and philanthropy.
He served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the California Community Foundation (CCF), overseeing all development, marketing, administrative, grant-making and civic engagement functions. Established in 1915, CCF is America’s 39th largest grantmaking foundation with assets exceeding $1.8 billion.
In 2007, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presented John with the City of Angels award in recognition of his work with children and families. This recognition fulfilled John’s grandparents’ wish to become a public figure – an experience which brought great joy to him and his family.
John Kobara is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for California Community Foundation (CCF), Los Angeles’ premier funder that assists high net worth families, individuals, and corporations realize their philanthropic aspirations. Established in 1915, CCF currently administers over 1700 foundations with funds totaling more than $1.8 billion.
John is a self-declared public person who grew up in Silicon Valley and moved to LA for educational pursuits, earning degrees from UCLA, Occidental and USC. As a Coro Fellow he deepened his affection for Los Angeles by working with youth and recently released felons to create a more joyful, equitable, just and compassionate world. John has led and managed diverse non-profit organizations in arts, education and philanthropy; developing them through change management techniques, innovation strategies and an emphasis on social outcomes.