Margarita (Magui) Rubalcava


Non-Profit President (Former)


Borealis Philanthropy (Former)

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Margarita (Magui) Rubalcava is the founder and former president of Borealis Philanthropy. Under her leadership, Borealis became a major funder of so-called intersectional organizations that target social issues from the perspective of left-of-center identity politics. Rubalcava has worked her entire career in the nonprofit sector and was previously the director of immigration for NEO Philanthropy, a left-leaning pass-through funding and fiscal sponsorship group, and its Four Freedoms Fund.


Margarita Rubalcava has worked her entire career in philanthropy, beginning as a senior fellow at the General Mills Foundation in 1992 after her undergraduate graduation. While at the General Mills Foundation, Rubalcava implemented the effort to begin targeting funding towards Latino-interest organizations. 1

After leaving the General Mills Foundation, Rubalacava worked at the Otto Bremer Trust as a communications and program associate. From 2000 to 2004, Rubalcava was a program director for the Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities at Hispanics in Philanthropy, where she was responsible for leading a $16.5 million multi-year initiative to assist Latino-led nonprofit organizations. She then founded a philanthropic sector consulting practice, NVision, that also focused on institutions working with immigrants and refugees. From 2006 to 2014, Rubalcava was the director of immigration at the Four Freedoms Fund where she worked to drive funding to support left-of-center immigration policy advocacy. While there, Rubalcava raised over $90 million over 8 years and quadrupled the Fund’s budget. 2

In 2014, Rubalcava launched Borealis Philanthropy, a left-of-center intermediary organization that works to connect donors to organizations through pooled funds. The organization is heavily focused on identity politics and was very involved in funding Black Lives Matter organizations during 2020 with “rapid funding.” Borealis also publishes its organizational demographics, breaking down its staff levels based on race, sexuality, and gender identity. 3 4 Rubalcava left the organization at the end of May 2020, stating that she was pleased with the growth of the organization in the past few years and that it was time for fresh vision and energy. By the time she departed, Borealis had annual revenues of $30 million and 30 staff members. 5 6

As of March 2021, Rubalcava was working on a book entitled 10 Different Truths that is about the different experiences of her and her nine siblings, who immigrated from Mexico during childhood. 7

Grantmaking Philosophy

In a post for the Council on Foundations, from which Rubalcava received an award for creative grant-writing in 2003, she laid out her grantmaking philosophy. Rubalcava argued that it was important for organizations to change their perception of risk and to not shy away from funding newer and smaller organizations led by ethnic minorities. She also emphasized that funders should not try to silo organizations into an internal framework or assume that the funders know what the grantees need. Rubalcava argued that this was critical to recognizing the “intersectional” nature of organizing, arguing that organizations led by minorities should be funded regardless of their issue areas. As an example, Rubalcava cited the Transforming Movements Fund at Borealis, in which foundations funded LGBT leaders who were working on issues including immigration or abortion, not just LGBT advocacy. 8

Borealis Philanthropy Leadership

While Rubalcava has not made many public statements or published writings that explain her political views, Rubalcava frequently led race-based initiatives, such as the Movement Fund that supports the Movement for Black Lives, the Racial Equality in Journalism Fund, and the Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund. Rubalcava has also encouraged left-of-center activism regarding gender and sexuality, supporting the Fund for Trans Generations (FTG) and the Transforming Movements Fund. Rubalcava has also supported organizations that promote left-of-center immigration and criminal justice policy. 9


  1. “Margarita (Magui) Rubalcava | LinkedIn.” Accessed March 15, 2021.
  2. “Margarita (Magui) Rubalcava | LinkedIn.” Accessed March 15, 2021.
  3. “Borealis Philanthropy.” Accessed March 15, 2021.
  4. “2020 Annual Report – Borealis Philanthropy.”, December 20, 2020. Accessed March 15, 2021.
  5. Rubalcava, Magui. “Leading Forward: Changes at Borealis Philanthropy – Borealis Philanthropy.”, May 19, 2020. Accessed March 15, 2021.
  6. “Margarita (Magui) Rubalcava | LinkedIn.” Accessed March 15, 2021.
  7. “Margarita (Magui) Rubalcava | LinkedIn.” Accessed March 15, 2021.
  8. Rubalcava Shulman, Magui. “Creative Grantmaking Today: Redefining Risk in Philanthropy.”, July 23, 2018. Accessed March 15, 2021.
  9. “Our Funds – Borealis Philanthropy.” Accessed March 15, 2021.
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