Conway Collis, President and CEO worked with GRACE’s Board of Directors to help found the organization and develop its mission and strategy.
Collis has been a public servant and advocate for social change for more than four decades.
Following graduation from Occidental College and Stanford Law School, he was a committee counsel on the U.S. Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee and domestic policy advisor to U.S. Senator Alan Cranston, advising on federal domestic policy issues including poverty, healthcare and social and legal services. He later served as founding executive director of the principal fundraising arm of the U.S. Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. Prior to law school he worked in a state mental hospital, as a live in counselor for delinquent boys and in the Upward Bound program.
Collis was elected to the California State Board of Equalization, California’s governing tax and revenue agency, in 1982. Re-elected in 1986, he served as Chairman of the Equalization Board, an agency with over 1500 employees in 57 offices. He wrote and sponsored the State Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, tax credits for employer-sponsored childcare, and the elimination of tax benefits for discriminatory private clubs. He also led the modernization and reform of the state tax bureaucracy. While on the Board, Collis chaired a 1986 statewide voter registration drive, registering nearly 300,000 voters, and was the proponent of a 1988 statewide initiative to address housing and homelessness. In 2001, he served as Chairman of the California State Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Homelessness.
From 2005-2012 Collis served as Senior Counselor and Chief Public Policy Officer for the Daughters of Charity Health System (DCHS). On behalf of DCHS Collis initiated and proposed California’s Hospital Provider Fee, and helped direct its state legislative enactment and federal government approval. The new law will have generated $9 billion for health care for low-income Californians and over $1 billion for children’s health care through FY 2013. He received the California Hospital Association’s 2012 Certificate of Distinction for proposing and leading the Provider Fee enactment and approval. He also initiated and led the development and passage of Measure A, a San Mateo County sales tax increase sponsored by DCHS expected to provide $600 million for crucial County services including $150 million to Seton Medical Center over the next ten years. Prior to joining DCHS in 2005, he was president of Collis Associates which provided public policy counsel to public and private sector clients working in the public interest.
Collis is a member of the California State Commission on Children and Families (the state First 5 Commission), chairs the Development Committee of the board of Kids in Sports and is the founding board chair of the National Foster Youth Institute.