Diana Bontá: 2015 HIPGiver

Diana Bonta Photo 200Diana Bontá, The Bontá Group President and CEO
Diana Bontá has always been strongly committed to her community — locally and nationally. Her work has consistently been rooted in the fundamental health values and needs of those around her, and she has inspired a well-connected network of philanthropy to aid her work.
“The demographic growth of the Latino population in the United States provides an opportunity for philanthropy to provide support for families in need,” she said during a 2012 interview for the Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) website.
From her professional start as a registered nurse, Bontá has led a rich and storied career. She has worked as the President and Chief Executive Officer of The California Wellness Foundation; Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Health at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals; Director of the California Department of Health Services, Director of the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, and Deputy Executive Director, California and Los Angeles Regional Family Planning Council. Early in her career she was Regional Administrator of Rural Health and was part of a state effort to establish rural community health centers for farmworker and native American populations.
She serves as a Board Member of the Archstone Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the private sector American States Water Board. She holds a doctorate in public health and a master of public health with an emphasis in population, family, and international health from UCLA.
Bontá understands very clearly the impacts that philanthropy has on communities, and she intentionally dedicates her time and resources where they are most needed. Through Bontá’s eyes, as she stated in the 2012 HIP interview, “philanthropy can fund innovations and attempts to see what works best and evaluate whether it can be replicated in other communities.”
Giving and philanthropy are not simply about individuals; collective action is equally important, she said. The most effective way of achieving positive results, she said, is to work together, “be open to understanding community needs and be open to new funding opportunities.”
Bontá and her sister were born in New York City to a Chilean machinist and a Puerto Rican nurse’s aide. While she has worked with some of the most recognized and respected organizations in the country, she does not lose sight of her roots.
Bontá has, “always had a sense of paying it forward. My parents ingrained the sense that we shared what we had.”
For some, this sense of giving and fundamental philanthropy comes with experience and practice. For Bontá it boils down to her favorite quote from Sonia Sotomayor who said, “There are no bystanders in life […] Our humanity makes us each a part of something greater than ourselves.”
The 31 HIPGivers recognized in 2015 are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more – more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving.