Executive Vice President
Youth Policy Institute
Iris Zuniga is one of 15 members in the 2019–21 class of the Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship.
When she was a community college student, Zuniga knew that the odds were against her to succeed. Statistically, only 3% of her peers would transfer to the University of California, Los Angeles. But she persevered, earning degrees from UCLA and California State University, Northridge. She has now dedicated her life to changing the odds for students like her.
For over a decade, Zuniga has provided leadership to Youth Policy Institute (YPI), where she serves as executive vice president, bridging the gap between providing meaningful direct services and advocating for systemic change. To address the challenge of overcoming poverty-related barriers, she has piloted a unique model to saturate communities with cradle-to-college-and-career support for the entire family. Because of Zuniga’s efforts, YPI integrates academic and community support at 135 sites across Los Angeles.
“When working within communities, I’m always thinking about how to provide quality support for youth. For me, it’s always been about filling gaps by aligning resources and systems.”
Zuniga is excited to learn from peers in her Fellowship class. She says, “I look forward to sharing strategies we’ve used and building my own results-based leadership skills.”