LOS ANGELES – First 5 LA, a leading public grantmaking and child advocacy organization, today named Christina Altmayer as Vice President of Programs and Carl Gayden as Senior Director of Administration. The Vice President of Programs is part of a five-member Executive Team of organization-wide leaders tasked with shaping, setting and executing First 5 LA’s strategic direction. The Senior Director of Administration will be responsible for managing the administrative functions of First 5 LA.

The roles are a result of a process undertaken by First 5 LA to strengthen the organization’s ability to effectively execute its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan and to help it become a higher performing, higher impact organization for children prenatal to age 5, and their parents and caregivers.

“Christina is deeply committed to the mission of First 5 LA and has a proven track record of building programs and partnerships to improve the health, safety and school readiness of young children,” said Kim Belshé, Executive Director of First 5 LA. “We look forward to benefitting from her substantive knowledge of our Strategic Plan outcome areas, along with her deep experience in performance management, program design, implementation and evaluation. I am thrilled to welcome Christina to the First 5 LA team.”

Altmayer previously served as the Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County where she successfully led the organization through a comprehensive strategic planning and implementation process and oversaw a program funding portfolio of $35 million. In this capacity, Altmayer has helped lead several high impact efforts, including initiatives related to developmental screening and early intervention, kindergarten readiness, and oral health. Prior to this role, Altmayer was the President of Altmayer Consulting, Inc. and specialized in management consulting to public and nonprofit agencies.

In her consulting practice she served as Project Director for the Pediatric Health Services (PHS) Program for the Orange County Children and Families Commission for 12 years. She also worked with numerous Children and Families Commissions throughout California, including First 5 LA, as well as the County of Los Angeles, on long-term financial planning, strategy development, program design and implementation, and evaluation. Altmayer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics, and later, a Master of Arts in Public Administration from St. John’s University in New York.

“I am a firm believer in First 5 LA’s mission because the stakes are high– Christina Altmayer

“I am proud to be a part of the First 5 LA team. I am a firm believer in First 5 LA’s mission because the stakes are high,” said Altmayer, noting research from the Children’s Data Network at USC showing our state’s future economic growth is dependent upon our youngest Californians. “I am looking to build on First 5 LA’s programmatic work to improve outcomes for our children and I am excited to be part of the leadership team implementing First 5 LA’s new strategic direction.”

As the new Senior Director of Administration, Gayden will oversee First 5 LA’s administrative functions, including contract compliance, finance, information technology, facilities and records management.

“Carl has established an impressive record of managing and integrating administrative functions in furtherance of enhancing an organization’s overall effectiveness,” said John Wagner, First 5 LA Executive Vice President. “We are excited that Carl will be using his nearly two decades of expertise in overseeing a full range of administrative and operational functions to help First 5 LA broaden its impact for children.”

Gayden has spent the majority of his nearly 20-year career in financial services. Gayden has served as Deputy Executive Director of the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) where he developed, implemented and monitored all financial, accounting, budget, strategic planning, human resources, payroll, information technology and procurement activities of SFHA. He also provided leadership for the SHFA’s accounting, audit, treasury, debt management and financial reporting functions and supervised all phases of the agency’s $210 million budget.

“First 5 LA’s ability to achieve a higher impact for children depends on its ability to become an even higher performing organization” – Carl Gayden

Prior to joining the SFHA, Gayden served as the Senior Assistant Dean for Strategy and Finance for the University of California at Davis’ Graduate School of Management where he was responsible for providing organization-wide leadership and management of strategic planning and administrative services as well as being a key advisor to the Dean and Associate Deans. Prior to his work at UC Davis, Gayden served as the Associate Dean/Senior Director for Finance and Administration at the University of San Francisco’s School of Management where he was responsible for financial and administrative management and advised the Dean on strategic planning and operations.

Gayden earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Finance, and later a Masters of Business Administration from the Executive MBA program from the University of San Francisco.

“First 5 LA’s ability to achieve a higher impact for children depends on its ability to become an even higher performing organization,” added Gayden. “I’m looking forward to using my experience to provide strong administrative support to First 5 LA’s programs, efforts and initiatives in order to help children become ready to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.”

Altmayer will begin work at First 5 LA on May 16. Gayden will start on April 25.




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