Leading From Within (LFW) has announced the appointment Eder Gaona-Macedo, who joins the Board of Directors in continuing to advance the mission and extend the impact of the 16-year-old nonprofit.

Leading From Within equips community changemakers to grow their ability to lead, collaborate and drive solutions.

“We are pleased and honored that Eder is joining our board at a time of growth and opportunity for the organization,” said Ken Saxon, interim board chair and LFW founder. “He is an extraordinary leader for our region and brings a wealth of experience and a profound perspective to our work.

“Eder has also personally experienced the impact of Leading From Within and is a passionate advocate for our organization.”

Gaona-Macedo has more than a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector, and currently serves as the executive director of the Fund for Santa Barbara.

Prior to joining the Fund for Santa Barbara he served as the senior officer for Community Engaged Research at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, where he led participatory action research throughout California.

He is also the former executive director for Future Leaders of America (FLA), and one of the co-founders of the 805undocufund, which distributed more than $6.1 million to 4,500 undocumented families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic under his leadership.

Gaona-Macedo participated in LFW’s Emerging Leaders cohort in 2016, when he was a fairly new executive director at FLA and he said the program was invaluable.

“Emerging Leaders set a positive foundation for my growth as a young leader in the county and harnessed my potential,” said Gaona-Macedo. “In thinking about my role on the LFW board, I want to take that lived experience and apply it to strategic decisions at the organization and support young people in their professional trajectory.

“Leading From Within is expert at providing a safe space for young professionals to grow and foster their leadership development, and a time when the country feels so polarized, Leading From Within can play a crucial role in nurturing coalitions and collaborations that really take the human perspective into account and hopefully help create thriving communities.”