Our Team

FunabikiHeadshot01 Jon Funabiki Executive Director

Jon Funabiki, whose career spans journalism, philanthropy and academia, is a professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. He joined the university after an 11-year career with the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s leading philanthropies. As the deputy director of the Media, Arts and Culture Unit in New York, he led grant programs to promote ethics, credibility and diversity in journalism; social justice journalism; and the ethnic and independent news media. Jon is the former founding director of San Francisco State University’s Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism and of its Dilena Takeyama Center for the Study of Japan and Japanese Culture. A veteran reporter, he was a journalist for 17 years with The San Diego Union, where he specialized in U.S.-Asia political and economic affairs. A graduate of San Francisco State University, Jon was awarded the John S. Knight Professional Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University; the Jefferson Fellowship at the East-West Center of Honolulu; and a National Endowment for the Humanities Professional Summer Fellowship at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Valerie Bush Deputy Director

Valerie Bush is a former journalist who has more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications, media relations, nonprofit administration and project management. Prior to joining Renaissance Journalism, Valerie was the communications and marketing director at California Institute of Integral Studies, where she spearheaded the university’s integrated communications strategy and new brand identity and Web site. Her experience includes serving as the executive director of the Asian American Journalists Association, as well as working as a reporter for the Marin Independent Journal, an assistant editor at The Village Voice, and as the editorial director for the Maynard Institute. Valerie is the editor of four books of creative writing by at-risk youth  and editor of Jump Write In! Creative Writing Exercises for Diverse Communities, Grades 6-12, published by Jossey-Bass. She was a criminal justice advocate for battered women and a co-founder of the San Francisco-based Asian Women’s Shelter before pursuing a career in journalism and communications. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


Kaylee Fagan Media & Research Coordinator

Kaylee Fagan is a media strategist, journalist and digital producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She joins the Renaissance Journalism team after serving as an editorial intern with Business Insider’s technology desk, where she covered the companies and influencers at the forefront of the social media and gaming industries. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in journalism at San Francisco State University, she led outreach efforts and content strategy for Spaceship Media, a non-profit that aims to use journalism to reduce polarization, build communities, and restore trust in media across the United States. She continues to cover technology and other topics as a freelance reporter and video producer.