Cecilia Zavala, Grants Manager
Cecilia Zavala joined Safe & Just Michigan as our grants manager in 2022. Before coming to SJM, Cecilia spent most of her career working for and managing nonprofits, primarily serving Detroit’s Hispanic community at organizations such as Latino Family Services and the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp.
A native of southwest Detroit, Zavala grew up in a family that valued public service. She became interested in working for criminal justice reform after seeing firsthand the injustice and inhumanity of the justice system. In particular, she recalled a young woman who had just given birth kept in a holding cell for several days in her pajamas
“There’s a lot of injustice in the holding cell, but this one thing in particular sticks out,” Zavala said. “That experience set a fire in my gut, and that’s what brought me to really want to do this work.”
Zavala holds an associate degree from Wayne County Community College and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree through University of Phoenix and intends to pursue further higher education degrees. Zavala has four grown daughters and several grandchildren. She lives in Mount Clemens.