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Board of Directors

Cara Esposito

Cara Esposito is the Executive Director of the Leonetti/O’Connell Family Foundation which funds innovative projects and initiatives that benefit Los Angeles County and improve the wellbeing of its communities. In May 2021, she launched a social enterprise under the governance of the foundation called Arete Rising, LLC to support economic mobility for first-generation college students. Prior to her role as Executive Director, Cara spent nine years as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, with special emphasis in Juvenile Prosecutions.

Cara graduated with a BA from Harvard University, a JD from Loyola Law School, a Master’s of Public Administration in 2009, and a Doctorate in Policy Analysis and Planning from USC’s Price School of Public Policy in 2015. Her doctoral dissertation evaluated collaborative governance, network partnerships, and implementation of participative systems specifically focusing on service delivery and intrinsic transaction costs between for-profit, non-profit and governmental organizations.

She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy where she teaches non-profit policy and theories of governance and she is the President of the Board of Councilors of USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Cara is a lifelong resident of Los Angeles and is married to Joseph Esposito, with two sons.

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