Joseph McKellar




PICO California


Joseph Tomás McKellar is Co-Director of PICO California, the largest faith-based community organization in the state. He has been leading efforts to grow grassroots organizing capacity for racial, economic, health, and environmental equity across California.

In 2017, Joseph led PICO California’s organizing efforts to win SB 54, The California Values Act, which became the country’s strongest sanctuary legislation protecting immigrant families from deportations and opening new pathways to rehabilitation for ex-offenders. In 2016, Joseph served as Faith in the Valley’s founding Interim Director, leading efforts in the San Joaquin Valley to launch a powerful regional organization at its “Founding Convention” with 1,500 people from 6 counties and 16 labor and community partners.

Prior to joining PICO California, Joseph was the Founding Director of Faith in New York. Joseph grew its membership to 70,000 grassroots leaders in 54 congregations. He led New York City’s largest mayoral candidates forum in July 2013, and launched Faith in New York’s Equitable Rebuilding Campaign, which resulted in a $750 million victory that created over 1,000 local jobs and job training pipelines for the city’s most excluded populations in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Faith in New York also won victories that created thousands of units of affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers, established a Municipal ID system for all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, and a “Ban The Box” law that reduced barriers to formerly incarcerated people obtaining good jobs.

From 2005 to 2011, Joseph worked as a Community Organizer at the San Diego Organizing Project and the Orange County Congregation Community Organization in California, leading campaigns around immigration reform, youth violence prevention, education equity, quality health access, and municipal fiscal reform.

After becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college, Joseph served as an Assistant Teacher with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated as a member of the Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society from the University of San Diego in 2004.


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