Skip to content

Cindy Downing

Program Officer

Cindy Downing joined the Irvine Foundation’s San Francisco office in 2016. Cindy served as Executive Assistant and Program Associate before being named Program Officer in 2019. In this role, she oversees The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards, which annually recognizes diverse leaders whose innovative solutions to critical state challenges improve people’s lives, create opportunity and contribute to a better California. Irvine spotlights these leaders, helps share their approaches with policymakers and peers, grants each recipient’s organization $350,000, and offers additional resources such as strategic communications, technical assistance, and capacity-building support.

Cindy is a seasoned nonprofit professional with decades of experience in local government, public and behavioral health, community development, and healthcare delivery and research. She is committed to realizing our wholeness, ensuring a better tomorrow, and fighting for a liberated future. Pragmatically, she understands getting there takes many paths, bridges, and ramps.

Cindy’s previous experience includes working for the International Antiviral Society-USA, where she played an instrumental role in organizing the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), the world’s leading HIV research conference, and coordinating a panel of top researchers to create the first state-of-the-art medical guidelines for the treatment of Hepatitis C. Before that, she held several roles within the Contra Costa County Health Division’s Public Health and Mental Health departments. In her most recent role at Contra Costa Health Administration, Cindy helped design and implement new treatment and prevention programs for Contra Costa residents under California’s Mental Health Services Act.

A proud lifelong Bay Area resident, Cindy surrounds herself with her spouse, siblings, shih tzu, step tools, and air purifiers. Cindy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a minor in Dance, from San Francisco State University, and has earned a certificate in nonprofit management/grantwriting from National University.