Illumination Foundation Board of Directors Names Pooja Bhalla, DNP, RN, and Jack Toan as Co-CEOs

ORANGE, Calif., July 11, 2022 – Illumination Foundation Board of Directors has named Pooja Bhalla, DNP, RN, and Jack Toan as Co-CEOs of Illumination Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission to disrupt the cycle of homelessness. Dr. Bhalla and Mr. Toan replaced Illumination Foundation Co-Founder and former CEO Paul Leon who stepped down on July 1 as part of a long standing succession plan.  

“We are delighted to announce that Pooja Bhalla and Jack Toan will share the role of CEO of Illumination Foundation,” said Dr. Jacqueline DuPont-Carlson, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Illumination Foundation. “They both have played an integral role in leading the organization. Together, they will usher in a new era for Illumination Foundation and continue to build upon the legacy of its founders. We are grateful to Paul Leon for all he has done during the past 15 years for those experiencing homelessness across Southern California.”

Dr. Bhalla joined Illumination Foundation in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer and most recently served as Executive Director of Healthcare Services. Under her leadership, Illumination Foundation has become a recognized and innovative leader in healthcare services for those experiencing homelessness. Over the past five years, Dr. Bhalla has created a highly advanced approach to addressing the healthcare needs of the homeless population and has firmly established Illumination Foundation as a true safety net, not only for housing but for healthcare, including an innovative partnership with the Illumination Foundation Medical Group. Dr. Bhalla has more than 20 years of health administration experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness. Prior to her work at Illumination Foundation, she was Chief Operating Officer at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. She received her doctorate in nursing practice and health care policy from Northeastern University where her research focused on “Emerging Leaders and Homeless Health Care.” Dr. Bhalla is also a graduate of UCLA’s Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program. 

“We look forward to continuing to provide housing and healthcare for those experiencing homelessness in our community,” Dr. Bhalla said. “Our integrated housing and healthcare model is our foundation in serving our clients. I am honored to continue to serve our clients with compassion and dignity in this new leadership role.”   

After serving as Chief Operating Officer since February 2021, Mr. Toan will continue to bring his immense business experience, passion, and compassion to his role as Co-CEO. Mr. Toan was an inaugural member of Illumination Foundation’s Board of Directors, a position he proudly held for 13 years. Prior to his role as COO, Mr. Toan had an 18-year career in corporate social responsibility at Wells Fargo as the Vice President and Manager of Community Relations. He holds an MBA from UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business and is a graduate of the Southern California Leadership Network. Mr. Toan is an appointee to the Orange County Commission to End Homelessnes and on the Executive Committee for the Family Solutions Collaborative.

“Illumination Foundation is mission-driven and we will continue to develop partnerships, programs, and services to best meet the evolving and complex needs of the clients we serve,” Mr. Toan said. “I have been involved with Illumination Foundation since its inception as a board member and I look forward to leading the organization into the future.” 

About Illumination Foundation

Illumination Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable homeless adults and children in order to disrupt the cycle of homelessness. The organization provides a full continuum of care from street to home, including case management, medical coordination, behavioral health and substance use counseling, and housing navigation to our vulnerable clients in shelters/navigation centers, family emergency shelters, recuperative care/medical respite facilities, and permanent supportive housing.


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