John Kim is the Executive Director of Advancement Project’s California Office. Since joining Advancement Project in 2002, John has been lifting up the voice and needs of low-income communities of color to transform systems and expand opportunity for all. Through coalition building and by utilizing innovative tools and strategies, he has helped redirect hundreds of millions public and private dollars to the most underserved communities. John most recently oversaw the strategic direction and development of RACE COUNTS, a first of its kind initiative that examines racial disparity, performance, and population impact in each of California’s 58 counties. With John’s visionary leadership, RACE COUNTS engaged hundreds of statewide community stakeholders and was featured in The New York Times, CityLab, The Sacramento Bee and various radio shows.
John joined Advancement Project in 2002 to develop, build, and launch the Healthy City Project, which subsequently grew into one of AP’s largest program areas providing data, research, and mapping support to tens of thousands of service providers and community advocates across the state. He was promoted to Managing Director of the California Office in 2004 before being appointed a Co-Director of the Advancement Project in 2008.
John has made the needs of marginalized communities a priority throughout his tenure at Advancement Project. Over the years, he has developed advocacy and research initiatives on issues such as community health, redistricting, community engagement, voting rights, early care and education, and public finance. Under his leadership, many of these initiatives, have transformed the way that large public institutions allocate funding and provide programs and services to the most underserved communities.
John has a long track record as a coalition-builder and facilitator of multi-stakeholder collaborations, and has established a wide-range of partnerships with community-based organizations, elected officials, governmental agencies, academic researchers, and foundations across the state.
Prior to joining Advancement Project, John started his community-building work as an activist, organizer, and cultural artist in the Bay Area. In 1999, he became the Executive Director of the Korean Community Center of the East Bay, where he was instrumental in launching new programs in the areas of domestic abuse, community development, and community organizing.
His work in the Bay Area was recognized by KQED Channel 9 as the 2001 Local Hero of the Year Award, and by then-Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown with the proclamation of a “John K. Kim Day.” In 2011, he accepted the Unsung Heroes Award from the California Community Foundation, given for “outstanding excellence in community engagement.” He concluded a term as a member of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners for the City of Los Angeles in 2011 and currently serves as a Commissioner for Los Angeles County’s Commission of Children and Families. John has also completed the prestigious Rockwood “Leading from the Inside Out” fellowship in 2012.
Born in Los Angeles, John currently lives in Highland Park with his wife, Jung Hee Choi, and their two children, Naiya and Ellis.