Headshot of Rhonnel Sotelo

Rhonnel Sotelo

Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Family Foundation

Rhonnel Sotelo is the Chief Executive Officer of the Rogers Family Foundation, a private foundation in the closing stages of its 20-year commitment to Oakland public education.  Rhonnel engages and collaborates with the Board, Rogers family members, the Rogers Family Office, and the Foundation team on all aspects of the family’s philanthropy. He also oversees the execution of the Foundation’s operational spend down plan, ensures the on-going career development of each team member, and directs the day-to-day management of the Foundation’s strategy, grantmaking, and operations.

Rhonnel’s career in philanthropy spans more two decades, including serving as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Program & Operations for the Stuart Foundation and leading The San Francisco Foundation’s West Oakland Initiative and Multicultural Fellowship program. An urban planner by profession, Rhonnel previously owned and operated Urban Works, a planning and design firm focused on neighborhood planning and livable communities in the Pacific Northwest and California. Rhonnel holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in English, both from the University of California, Los Angeles.

He lives in Oakland with his wife Chris. Together, they have raised two adult daughters: Quin, a costume designer and filmmaker, and Kate, a natural resource conservationist and recent graduate of the University of British Columbia’s College of Forestry.


Effective Family Philanthropy in Action

Listening, Learning, Supporting: Reflections on the RFF Team’s Support Beyond The Grant

Posted on June 28, 2023 by Rhonnel Sotelo, Kate Ray

Children playing with teacher in classroom, Courtesy of the Rogers Family Foundation
When the Rogers Family Foundation announced the sunsetting of our Oakland education strategy in October 2020, our team knew we’d reach a point of reflection on our grantmaking and practices over the last two decades. That time is now. This piece focuses on the concept of “Beyond the Grant,” which challenges funders to leverage internal organizational capacity to support their… Read More

Strategic Lifespan Peer Network: The Spend Down Journey—Timing is Everything

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Rhonnel Sotelo, Anne Marie Toccket, Priscilla Enriquez, Glen Galaich

The length of the spend down journey varies from foundation to foundation. The nature of decisions also varies depending on the length of time remaining in the foundation’s lifespan. What is top of mind at the different times of the spend down journey? What can a spend down foundation with more than 10 years remaining learn from a foundation with… Read More