Director of Community & Family Support
Heather Fukunaga is the Director of Grants Development for the Youth Policy Institute. She has a leading role in developing and writing proposals to public and private funders, which supports the full range of YPI’s cradle-through-college and career pipeline. Heather specializes in public grant writing, and has raised millions of dollars to support Los Angeles’ most distressed neighborhoods. She had an integral role in securing YPI’s signature place-based Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives, including the Promise Neighborhood, Choice Neighborhood, Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program, and the Promise Zone in which YPI is Lead Implementation Partner to the City of Los Angeles.
For more than a decade, Heather has worked in the education sector. At the University of Arizona, she coordinated the Women in Science and Engineering program that provided enrichment opportunities and supports to women in STEM fields. She was also a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate courses in Women’s Studies. Heather also worked for the International Honors Program, a comparative study abroad program, where she served as a traveling coordinator for a group of undergraduates and faculty members studying public health in South Africa, Vietnam, and Brazil.
Heather was selected as a New Voices Civic Engagement Fellow by the United Neighborhoods Center of America (now called Alliance for Strong Families and Communities). Heather previously served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and as Secretary on the Board of Directors at the University of Arizona Women’s Studies Advisory Council. She also sat on the University of Arizona’s Anti-Racism Task Force, and more recently volunteered as Secretary of the Fountain Community Garden.
Heather earned her her Master's in Women's Studies from the University of Arizona. Her Master’s thesis project examined sex education policies in Arizona. She earned her Bachelor's in Political Science and minor in Art History from Boston University. Heather and her husband live on a small farm in Fallbrook with their dogs, Walter and Kuma.