Monument Impact Director to retire, nonprofit seeking new leader

Monument Impact Director to retire, nonprofit seeking new leader
Debra Ballinger has announced her retirement from Monument Impact later this year.

Concord, CA (Jan. 4, 2021) — Debra Ballinger has led Monument Impact since January 2017. This week she announced her forthcoming retirement, effective July 31, 2022.

The nonprofit recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of service to immigrant, refugee and undocumented Contra Costa residents. The regional search for a new executive director will begin as early as summer 2022. Brakeley Search, a San Mateo-based leadership search firm will lead the search. This company has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Candidates interested in the position can click here to learn more and apply.

“I’m honored to have led this important organization that is so deeply rooted in our immigrant community, supported by dedicated, creative staff to help residents struggling the most to thrive,” said Executive Director Ballinger. “I could not have asked for a better culmination of a career that has spanned four decades. Together, we stand with our community members to fight for housing stability and economic and social inclusion. I’m grateful to our board, staff, partners and allies for their many contributions to Monument Impact’s work during my tenure.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ballinger led the creation of the Monument Relief Fund. The fund has provided direct financial aid to more than 2,700 families, 83% of whom used it to pay rent and/or utilities during the darkest days of the pandemic.

Increasing reach

Ballinger also dramatically scaled up the organization’s reach, helping nearly 11,000 community members in need in 2020. This represents twice as many as the previous year. Over her tenure, she doubled the organization’s budget and nearly doubled the staff. She restructured community engagement programs and expanded them to four staff members. As Executive Director, she built Monument Impact’s regional presence to be active participants in tables like Great Communities Collaborative and Regional Suburban Organizing Project; and supported the growth of workforce programs.

Monument Impact works on supporting tenants. It helps ensure that they know and can exercise their rights while also helping community members at risk of eviction or behind on their rent to apply for California’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The organization supports emerging businesses with things like employment referrals and computer literacy skills.

It also provides direct support for families’ mental and physical health. Programs such promotores have reached well over 30,000 people to help Spanish-speaking community members access COVID-19 vaccines where they live, work and play.


In March 2021, the organization’s efforts were recognized on a visit by Gavin Newsom. The California Governor said, “I just want to acknowledge the extraordinary work that Monument Impact has been doing for our diverse and under-served communities here in Contra Costa County.”

“Our thanks go to Debra for what will be more than five years of remarkable accomplishments. Especially amid challenging circumstances,” said Monument Impact Board Co-Chair Pablo Benavente. “We … will work to ensure a smooth transition, so community members struggling the most can continue to count on Monument Impact’s essential support.”

The leadership transition comes at a critical time for Contra Costa immigrants, refugees and low-income community members in a number of areas. This includes assistance with a surge in tenants seeking help with evictions and landlord harassment. The surge follows the September 30 expiration of the statewide eviction moratorium.

Monument Impact has worked to enact a Concord city ordinance to combat landlord harassment. This was on the agenda at Concord City Council last month. It also provides refugee support as more refugees, particularly from Afghanistan, arrive to resettle in Contra Costa County. 75 families arrived in September.

“As Contra Costa residents continue to face unprecedented challenges, Monument Impact will be there to help them weather the storm,” added Board Co-Chair Joe Markunas. “We look forward to hiring a new leader who will ensure the next 20 years bring a safe, stable home with prosperity to all immigrants, refugees and low-income community members.”