Renata Simril is the President & CEO of the LA84 Foundation, the youth-serving organization committed to transforming the lives of youth in Southern California through sports and play programs, as well as through ongoing investments in infrastructure, research and education as a legacy of the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Since her appointment in 2016, she has elevated the LA84 Foundation into a national leader in the role that sports have in positive youth development. She has expanded the Foundation’s mission in vital ways by focusing its work on supporting childhood health, the socio-emotional development of young people and community well-being.
By collaborating with corporate partners, sports organizations, civic institutions and philanthropy, Simril has brought new resources to communities to remove barriers to access to sports and play for children. Inspired by the many organizations working to improve the lives of youth, Simril founded the play equity movement to drive meaningful change. This gave rise to the Play Equity Fund – the LA84 Foundation’s charitable partner focused nationally on play equity as a social justice issue. The organization builds opportunities for kids from all backgrounds to play, works to create systems change, and increases awareness about how issues of access significantly impact future generations.
Simril has a longstanding commitment to leadership and service, with more than 25 years of diverse experience – including a background in government, business, pro sports, and publishing. Prior to the LA84 Foundation, Simril served as Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff of the Los Angeles Times, overseeing 900 staff members. Previously she was also the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Los Angeles Dodgers, with responsibilities that included the team’s community affairs and charitable foundation. For over a decade Simril was in mixed-use real estate development with Jones Lang LaSalle, Forest City Development and LCOR, Inc.
As Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Housing in the Hahn Administration, she worked to expand rental, affordable housing and economic policies. As Development Deputy to an LA City Councilman, Simril worked to rebuild communities in South Los Angeles after the 1992 civil unrest. She began her career in the U.S. Army, serving as a Military Police Officer in Germany and domestically.
In 2022, Simril was appointed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being, which is exploring strategies to promote health and wellness among Californians of all ages. As well as serving as an advisor to national task forces, boards and commissions, Simril’s writing has appeared in Authority Magazine, EdSource.org, Forbes, the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Los Angeles Daily News and The Sacramento Observer. Simril recently served as a Regents’ Lecturer in the UCLA Department of Sociology, a program where distinguished leaders from outside of traditional academics enrich instruction. She was also invited to speak to the Board of Councilors at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Under her leadership, the LA84 Foundation and the Play Equity Fund have engaged new stakeholders to improve the social, academic and health outcomes for youth. Simril was instrumental in forging a unique collaboration with 12 pro sports teams in Southern California to form The Alliance, which is advancing workforce development, leadership and social justice with local students. She developed the Super Bowl LVI Legacy Program, “Champions Live Here” – which provided funding for a mobile vehicle to bring healthy activities to communities without playgrounds – in addition to support for 56 nonprofits. As a legacy of the 2023 College Football Championship, the “Champions Educate Here” program awarded 46 local educators with up to $20,000 who utilize play to help students recover from the pandemic.
A third generation Angeleno who grew up in Carson, Simril is actively engaged in civic and community service, including serving on the boards of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, and the ESPN Return to Play Advisory Council. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s in Real Estate Development from USC. Simril lives in Studio City with her husband and two sons.