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Mayor Bass Announces Appointment of L.A. Department of Neighborhood Empowerment General Manager

En Español


LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced today that she has selected Carmen Chang as the new General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment following a comprehensive search. Chang will drive a bold and equity-driven vision for the Department where Angelenos across the city can be civically engaged through the neighborhood council system to advocate for their communities on the issues that matter to them most.

“Carmen is an organizer who brings extensive experience earning wins for working people, for California immigrants and centering the voices of the people in advocacy for more economic opportunities,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “Carmen will leverage her background in advocacy campaigns, grassroots organizing and coalition building across the state to lead the department into a new era of stronger neighborhood councils. I believe that Carmen’s proven commitment to transparency, trust building and coalition building will help the Department deliver on the Charter’s promise for neighborhood representation and begin a transformation that ensures that Angelenos are driving decision-making within their communities.” 

Carmen brings a background in organizing and helping empower communities to be actively engaged in public and political processes while working to make systems more inclusive. She currently serves as the Director of Programs and Organizing at Golden State Opportunity, a statewide anti-poverty organization, where she leads a team and executes a multi-million dollar budget to work with 40 organizations throughout the state to provide education and outreach to low-income Californians to ensure access to economic opportunities, public benefits and to advocate for systems change at the state and federal levels. 

By centering the voices of impacted Angelenos, Carmen earned advocacy wins on economic justice, health and public benefits, and detention and deportation, including full inclusion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit for tax filers using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) and health for all regardless of immigration status. Carmen is an active advocate for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Los Angeles. Read more about her professional history and achievements here

“I am honored to be appointed to serve as General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. I look forward to carrying out Mayor Bass’ vision for a neighborhood council system that is inclusive and representative of the many cultures and the diversity of Los Angeles,” said Mayor Bass’ Appointee Carmen Chang. “My first priority will be to listen to the Neighborhood Councils, to build relationships with each of them and to engage and learn from the Department staff to develop a plan to increase community engagement in every corner of the city. Solving our greatest challenges and improving our communities must always begin with hearing the voices of community members. That is what we will do, together.”

Leaders across Los Angeles weighed in to voice their support for Mayor Bass’ selection:

"We congratulate Mayor Karen Bass in her selection of Carmen Chang as the new General Manager for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment!” said Tammy Membreno, Executive Director, Barrio Action Youth & Family Center; Former L.A. Commissioner; Former DONE Board Member. “Carmen has demonstrated a track record of success fostering community participation and civic engagement in previous roles throughout the City of Los Angeles. She is well positioned to work with our Neighborhood and provide leadership for equity in our Neighborhood Councils and high levels of community participation. Congratulations Carmen!" 

“Carmen Chang has been convening cross-sector professionals to raise the importance of civic engagement and access to local and state services that improve the economic impact of residents and communities,” said Isaias Hernandez, Executive Director, Eastmont Community Center. “She has brought great value to communities through the management of statewide education and outreach programs. The value of her knowledge and skills is instrumental as community residents need an individual like Carmen to be the voice at City Hall who can bring resources to LA City residents and neighborhood councils."

"Carmen Chang has a long history of serving the communities on different initiatives,” said Margarita Alvarez Gomez, Executive Director, Central City Neighborhood Partners. “Ms. Chang will be a great addition as the new General Manager for the Empower LA Department and we know she will focus the department on executing solutions that will make the Neighborhood Councils ready to make a difference in the communities they serve throughout the City of Los Angeles."

"We are immensely proud of Carmen Chang's exceptional leadership and tireless commitment to the CalEITC campaign,” said Sheila Thomas, Director of Family Services, Watts Labor Community Action Committee. “Her ability to mobilize resources and rally support from across the community underscores her invaluable contributions to advancing our mission of fostering equitable opportunities for all Californians. With her wealth of experience and unparalleled dedication to community service, we have full confidence that Ms. Chang will bring a wealth of resources and innovative strategies to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Her proven track record of success and unwavering commitment to uplifting underserved communities make her the ideal candidate to lead us forward."

“I am excited to see Carmen Chang appointed General Manager for the new EmpowerLA project and the future of civic engagement in Los Angeles,” said Allan Colbern, California Immigrant Policy Center Board Member, Arizona State University Assistant Professor. “Chang brings unique leadership experience through connecting community organizing and policy advocacy, making her exceptional for this new role. At the Golden State Opportunity, Chang connects state and local officials with their community members to ensure that all low-income Californians are supported and empowered. Previously at the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), where we met, Chang’s innovative role in organizing helped connect diverse communities to a growing state-region-local coalition of organizations and legislators that have successfully enacted more state policies to protect and expand the rights of immigrants than any other state in the nation. Through Chang’s community-centered leadership, EmpowerLA will thrive and usher in a new inclusive civic engagement model.”

"I am thrilled to congratulate Ms. Carmen Chang on her appointment as the General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment,” said Liliana T. Pérez, President, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument; Senior Director, Cultural Affairs for the Los Angeles Chargers. “It was an honor to serve with her in her role as Vice President of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Commission. Carmen's passion and commitment to community embodies the spirit of Neighborhood Empowerment, to be inclusive, diverse and to understand each community's perspective matters to create meaningful and lasting change for the betterment of all. She has been living this legacy nationally, statewide now bringing her coalition building expertise to continue to build cohesive relationships across our great big city during these times of critical change, need and opportunity. She is a stellar selection and I applaud our Mayor Karen Bass for tapping Carmen's leadership acumen to lead with the promise of improved lives one community at a time."

"I am thrilled by Mayor Bass's choice to appoint Carmen Chang as the head of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Carmen is unquestionably an outstanding choice for this role,” said Rashad Rucker-Trapp, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Reimagine LA Foundation; Commissioner for Community and Family Services; former member of West Adams Neighborhood Council. “Having had the privilege of serving with her on the Commission of Community and Family Services, I have personally witnessed Carmen's exceptional leadership skills and her unwavering dedication to not only engaging Angelenos but also enhancing the lives of families across Los Angeles. Her passion and commitment to community service are unmistakable, and I am confident that she will bring that same level of energy and determination to her new role, positively impacting our city's neighborhoods."

The appointment will be referred to the Los Angeles City Council for consideration.