Bonnie Ferreira (Class XII) is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Leadership Forum-Mountain Valley Chapter (ALF) and has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare and nonprofit arenas. Ferreira joined ALF as CEO in 2009 and has been instrumental in pushing forward the organization’s mission – to create a growing and diverse network of leaders with the skills, trust and relationships to work collaboratively for the public good of our Greater Sacramento region. Under Ferreira’s leadership, ALF’s powerful network – inclusive of all ethnicities, religions, orientations and identities – has grown to more than 430 Senior Fellows, spanning 345 organizations, 18 industry sectors and six counties.
Ferreira first catalyzed her career as the HR manager for MAAP (Mexican American Addiction Program) Inc., a Sacramento nonprofit that ran a small, residential recovery home for Latino men struggling with addiction. She pioneered revolutionary new thinking by implementing a social, entrepreneurial model that achieved measureable social impact while increasing financial sustainability and growth. She was quickly elevated to deputy director and took her social entrepreneurial model to the big health systems; applied for and received huge federal grants; and enticed support from numerous community and legislative stakeholders. MAAP’s efforts under Ferreira’s direction culminated in the opening of The Sacramento Health Center, a substantial new multi-million dollar clinic with 15 exam rooms and a clear track to attain the medical service area designation of medically underserved area (MUA).
After leaving MAAP in 2004, Ferreira became the number two at Yolo First 5, where she was responsible for creating a program to increase comprehensive health care coverage for all children. Although her work began in Yolo County, she simultaneously worked with the statewide California First 5 Association and the County First 5 programs in Sacramento, Solano, Marin, Yolo, Yuba and Colusa Counties. Not long after joining Yolo First 5, Ferreira’s efforts took off and she transitioned over to executive director of Sacramento’s specific children’s health initiative, Cover the Kids, which provided outreach, enrollment, retention and utilization, and enrolled over 25,000 kids during her tenure. Concurrently, Ferreira also stepped into the role of executive director for Healthy Kids, Healthy Future – an organization equally focused on ensuring health care access for children, but spanning five local counties.
As Ferreira jointly led Cover the Kids and Healthy Kids, Healthy Future, she worked with funders (local, state and national) to secure funding for their programs; with health plans, to negotiate affordable insurance rates for the program; and with health care providers and low-income children, to secure their participation. She helped to identify and serve the children most in need by activating a group of community members on the ground who identified children, helped educate their parents about health insurance, enroll them in the program, and then teach them how to use the health care system effectively.
As more partnerships and millions of dollars of grant funding were awarded, Ferreira also worked diligently with leading advocacy organizations to write legislation that would ensure that the statewide children’s health movement was a sustainable model. As such, Bonnie received a Joint members Resolution from the Senate Pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg, and then California State Assembly Speaker, Karen Bass acknowledging her work. This resulted in the creation of a statewide advocacy organization, California Children’s Health Initiatives of California, (CCHI), of which Bonnie was named Chair. Under Bonnie’s tenure, CCHI operated in 29 counties and collectively insured over 150,000 previously uninsured, low-income children. The program continues today and the model Bonnie created – a public-private partnership in the true sense – provided a roadmap for many other counties in California.
Ferreira graduated from UC Berkeley and obtained her Master’s in Public Administration from Golden Gate University. She is also an alumnus of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Program, and was named a Sierra Health Foundation and USC Marshall School of Business Fellow. Ferreira has received numerous awards and recognitions for her achievements, including: the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors’ 2007 Hero of Human Services Award; recognition for the Healthy Aging Summit; and the California State Association of Counties 2007 Challenge Award and the American Leadership Forum 2007 Regional Impact Award for her work with Healthy Kids Healthy Future. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards and statewide commissions.