James Alva is a builder, creator and a change agent focused on advancing opportunities for the neediest in our communities. His career spans working for mission driven organizations within philanthropy, academia, nonprofit and corporations. He has been a corporate executive, a community organizer, an Executive Director, a philanthropist, a founder, and a small business owner. He now serves as Executive Vice President of Operations & Strategy for Lendistry, which is the nation’s only minority-led and technology enabled Community Development Financial Institution. In addition, he runs a consulting practice called Adelante Partners Inc. in which he advises mission-driven leaders and philanthropists about their strategic growth opportunities.
He previously served as Senior VP and the Regional U.S. Market Leader for Citigroup’s Community Development Division in which he directed the bank’s philanthropic strategy to invest millions of dollars in under-resourced communities using a racial equality lens. He also has led the nonprofit Small Business Development Centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He is skilled at bringing different community stakeholders together, understanding their challenges, and uniting them towards a common goal. Throughout his career, he has helped to found numerous organizations, including a community bank in Los Angeles called ProAmerica Bank, a nonprofit technology accelerator in San Francisco known as Tech Futures Group, the LA County Center for Financial Empowerment, and One LA, which is a $1 billion procurement program focused on helping minority small business owners win big public contracts.
James currently serves on the boards of three non-profits: the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Southern CA Grantmakers, and the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community College District. With a penchant for organizational transformation, he is skilled at helping organizations cut through a lot of “noise” and develop a clear strategy of how to achieve their strategic goals.
James is a first-generation college graduate with a degree from Stanford University. He also holds a professional certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. James and his husband, an educator, live in Pasadena with their twin boys.