NFG's 40 Years Strong virtual convening series celebrated four decades of mobilizing philanthropy and brought funders together to explore what is possible in the current era of organized philanthropy.
The series began with our 40 Years Strong plenary session on People, Place and Power, followed by our Accountability and Philanthropy's Role plenary focused on philanthropy's responsibility to be accountable to communities of color and low-income communities. The series continued with member-led sessions throughout the rest of 2020, exploring a broad range of topics including: technologies for liberation; Black-led power building & organizing; the role of land in our social movements; community-led solutions to neighborhood violence; participatory grantmaking models; and the collaborative leadership of young people of color.
These sessions brought funders together to find co-conspirators, boldly strategize, and shift power & money so that Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities and low-income communities thrive.
Funders increasingly have an analysis of how criminalization is affecting communities of color and how grassroots organizers are challenging it. What’s often missing in philanthropic analysis, however, is the role that technology is playing in deepening criminalization via new tactics of surveillance, policing and control. From the development of “digital prisons,” with electronic monitors expanding the reach of the carceral state, to tech companies colluding with ICE to expand surveillance and enable detention and deportation of migrant communities, to the FOSTA-SESTA laws that deploy internet censorship to make working conditions for sex workers more precarious, technology is is propelling and extending the mass criminalization of our communities.
Social justice movements are fighting back. They are exposing these systems of surveillance and policing via #NoDigital Prisons and #NoTechforICE, while defending and protecting their communities through physical and digital security strategies. Yet this work often falls through the cracks in philanthropy, with neither social justice nor technology-focused funders having a full analysis of how this system is working and what the points of intervention are. There is a pressing need for more resources for grassroots organizers to confront the repressive use of technology against their communities and movements. Centering the voices of organizers leading this work, this session highlighted the solutions they are putting forward and engaged participants in discussion about how issues of technology and criminalization intersect with their funding strategies. View the recording and check out resources shared during the session on the Resources tab above.
- Chi-Ante Singletary, North Carolina/South Carolina Consultant, NFG's Amplify Fund
- Melody Baker, Senior Program Officer, NFG's Amplify Fund
- Edie Blakeslee, Vice President of Grantmaking & Community Leadership, Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina
- Tami Spann, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Hollingsworth Funds
- Rini Bannerjee, President, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
For 40 years NFG has been bringing funders who believe in the power of people to transform communities together to exchange ideas and build relationships. Since 2018 we have honed in on our core purpose of moving more money to grassroots organizations in partnership with 11 NFG members through our first pooled grantmaking fund, the Amplify Fund. Driven by the belief that community power is the key driver of just and equitable development, Amplify makes flexible general operating support grants in 8 places across the US and today directly supports more than 45 grantees, the majority of which are Black-led organizations. Racial justice grounds Amplify’s grantmaking strategy and our values, behavior and practices. Together we actively learn and reflect to make sure we are truly creating an internal racial justice (anti-racist) culture that supports our external racial justice goals. We are striving to work in a way that pushes philanthropy to be more aligned with what Black-led movements know it will take to win.
This interactive Zoom session was an opportunity to learn more about Amplify’s funding model, including organizing to realize a vision for racial justice philanthropy, where power is shared, roles are clear, funding is flexible, and funders are organizers too! Participants heard directly from a member of Amplify’s staff and Steering Committee as well as a local strategy advisor and many grantees too. View the recording and check out resources shared during the session on the Resources tab above.
- Dara Cooper, Executive Director, National Black Food and Justice Alliance
- Dawn Phillips, Executive Director, Right to the City Alliance
- Rowen White, Program Director, Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance
- Kellie Terry, Senior Program Officer, Surdna Foundation
- Alison Corwin, Senior Program Officer, Surdna Foundation
This session sought to make space and learn from frontline leaders working at the intersection of climate justice, sovereignty and land justice. The conversation acknowledged the history and current work of the Land Justice Movement while exploring the relationships on the ground that are paving the way for future generations to advocate for transformative change as we face systemic racism and the dire realities of climate change.
The Civil Rights Movement and other struggles for racial justice never ended. Today, climate change is exacerbating the existing and growing inequities and injustices that people have always been fighting against in the name of freedom.
We heard from leaders that are centering land amidst a myriad of challenges black and brown communities are facing – housing and food insecurity, joblessness, disaster capitalism — all at once, every single day. We do not always have the opportunity to talk about land as the connection between these issues; both as a mechanism to enslave and oppress people but also used to build and support civilizations and thriving communities.
Leaders from intersecting social movements shared how they build daily infrastructure that allows folks to invest in their own communities while supporting sustainable power building efforts. This work looks very different depending upon the entry point and this session was designed for folks from a diverse spectrum of interests to engage and connect to address climate justice, sovereignty and land justice. View the recording and check out resources shared during the session on the Resources tab above.
- Amoretta Morris, Director of National Community Strategies, Annie E. Casey Foundation
- April Goggans, Core Organizer, Black Lives Matter DC
- Alise Marshall, Director of Strategy and New Ventures, Public Welfare Foundation
- Columbus Ward Jr, Chair, Neighborhood Planning Unit-V, & Executive Director, Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation
Violence is the largest of all health disparities. Black people experience violent deaths at six times the rates of whites. As we seek equitable development, we must do it in partnership with neighborhood residents who live at the intersection of both intracommunal violence and police violence. The predominant investments in safety approaches have been in law enforcement and justice systems.
These strategies have been ineffective in solving the problem, while also creating new problems through mass incarceration and its impact on communities. Meanwhile, investments in community solutions for safety and violence prevention have been nowhere near what is needed to match the scale of the problem. Even as community-oriented intervention solutions are working in locales across the country, they have not gained the traction needed for widespread transformative change — from an over-reliance on criminal justice approaches to public health-oriented approaches. Philanthropy has increasingly stepped up to address the structural drivers of violence such as economic disinvestment. These long-term solutions are necessary but not sufficient. By solely focusing on them, it frames community violence as an issue that cannot be directly addressed in the short-term. In fact, long-term policy solutions should be advanced simultaneously with direct approaches that lower deaths and shootings immediately.
This session lifted up the role of local community organizers in DC and Atlanta who have successful advocated for proven, non-police-based violence intervention models, such as violence interruption, and the local and national funders who have partnered to support that work. View the recording and check out resources shared during the session on the Resources tab above.
Philanthropy is embedded in the paradox of capitalism — benefitting from the economic system, while attempting to mitigate and ameliorate its damaging effects. In recent years, prominent thinkers like Edgar Villanueva, Rob Reich, David Callahan, and Anand Giridharadas are challenging the systems that support philanthropy. At the same time, there are larger societal trends and pressures demanding transparency and accountability across sectors, including within philanthropy.
Community-based or participatory grantmaking challenges traditional power structures by centering marginalized, often excluded, voices in grantmaking decisions. This approach centers the lived experiences and expertise of those most impacted by grant decisions. A growing number of foundations nationally have have adopted this powerful approach, which is strongly aligned to the goal of supporting community-based efforts. The practice of participatory grantmaking asserts that those with lived experience have critical expertise. This approach is gaining traction in philanthropy; Inside Philanthropy named is as the most promising sector reform in 2018.
The interactive session began by gauging participants’ understanding of the topic while they explore their values in philanthropy. Panelists examined why it is critical to break down traditional funder barriers in favor of participation, transparency, accountability, and collaboration. The panel also spoke extensively about the “how” of participatory grantmaking and share several specifics and resources to equip funders to make similar changes in their own institutions. By the end of this engaging session, participants had a strong awareness and understanding of why this approach matters, as well as how they might lead these transformations themselves. View the recording and check out resources shared during the session on the Resources tab above.
Young people have been at the forefront of movements for liberation throughout history, advancing critical issues like climate change, reproductive rights, immigration, criminal justice, and election protection and voter engagement. Yet, only 5% of foundation funding goes to communities of color centered work, and even less than that to youth — especially youth of color — and for organizing approaches. Shifting the philanthropic landscape requires funders to expand their thinking about grantmaking and the leadership of youth of color.
This session provided an inside look at local and state infrastructures, leadership development, state and national collaborations, and shared leadership models propelled by young people of color to build a multi-racial democracy and transform American politics. Additionally, participants explored findings by the Youth Engagement Fund on how youth of color-focused groups use issue-based organizing to engage members and new & infrequent voters; how the youth civic engagement coalition is creating a shared space for messaging, alignment, and coordination; the impact of early investment received in preparation for 2020; and the plans to catalyze on the energy of the political moment in 2020 and for long-term power building. View the recording and check out resources shared during the session on the Resources tab above.
NFG's virtual convening series kicked off in June and July with hundreds of people joining us for two plenaries, gatherings of the Philanthropy Forward Fellowship cohorts and Amplify Fund steering committee, a happy hour to celebrate the Discount Foundation Legacy Award winners (featuring DJ Carmen Spindiego!), and strategy sessions hosted by NFG's Democratizing Development Program and Integrated Rural Strategies Group.
In collaboration with a diverse cross-section of individuals and groups, Hamid Khan challenges LA Police Department surveillance, spying, and profiling practices that criminalize regular activity, normalize racial profiling, and render people in certain communities as criminal suspects. Khan has a long-standing and deep commitment to social justice for marginalized communities in Southern California. As founder and former executive director of the South Asian Network, Khan helped to create the first community-based organization dedicated to informing and empowering South Asians in Southern California. Today, Khan coordinates the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.
Jacinta González, Senior Campaign Organizer, Mijente
Jacinta González is a Senior Campaign Organizer with Mijente and is based in Phoenix, AZ. Previously, she worked at PODER in México, organizing the Río Sonora River Basin committees against water contamination by the mining industry. Jacinta was the lead organizer for the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice Congress of Day Laborers (2007-2014). In Louisiana, González helped establish a base of day laborers and undocumented families dedicated to building worker power, advancing racial justice, and organizing against deportations in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Ashe Helm-Hernández is a queer nonbinary Southern Black butch with roots in Louisville, KY. Ashe holds a Bachelors of Art degree in Studio Arts from the Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville. They have 20 years of experience in youth organizing and leadership development, and Human Rights to Education advocacy as a cultural worker and artist. Ashe is currently the National Program Manager for GSA Network, a next generation LGBTQ+ racial and gender justice organization. Their background also includes teaching adult education, youth mentoring, advocacy and development, and anti-oppression community organizing. Ashe’s cultural organizing background and their own political artwork has led them to co-create and co-curate a number of projects and practices of cultural solidarity with grassroots organizations AgitArte, Southerners On New Ground (SONG), the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and the #NOT1MORE deportation national campaign (which evolved into the national organization Mijente). Ashe is co-founder & Project Director of Tiger's Eye Collective: Queer Security Cultural & Educational Project. Ashe is passionate about the safety of all our people and curating safe spaces for trans masculine idenitfied and genderqueer folks to connect, build collective leadership, and advance political unity across southern states, and across gender and sexuality.
Brenda Salas Neves is Senior Program Officer at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, where they lead work in Latin America, and the Caribbean. Brenda is a feminist cultural worker and organizer born and raised in the southern Andes. They have been mobilizing with media-making and movement-building projects around migrant & economic justice, and against U.S. foreign, military, and trade intervention all across Latin America, such as the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee and Deep Dish TV. Brenda has been part of the Latin American Grant Making Advisers of FRIDA: The Young Feminist Fund, supporting mobilizing resources to young feminist organizing globally. They are a proud member of the Audre Lorde Project and a graduate of the United World Colleges (UWC) movement.
Chi-Ante Singletary, North Carolina/South Carolina Consultant, NFG's Amplify Fund
Chi-Ante Singletary (she/her) is a proud scholar of color and queer black feminist. She attended Spelman College for her undergraduate degree, where her love and respect for black women and southern organizing blossomed into a career focused on creating safe spaces centering southern rooted organizing. Chi-Ante has worked as a southern organizer and donor strategist for many organizations including Solidaire Network, Youth Engagement Fund, Girls Inc. and Amplify Fund. Through her work, Chi-Ante has supported communities of color across the South to have access to resources and develop strategies focused on building political power, making long term systems change and building transformative relationships between donors and grassroots organizers. As the Chief Reparation Officer of Cypress Fund, Chi-ante is excited to build power for communities like her own across the Carolinas.
Melody Baker, Senior Program Officer, NFG's Amplify Fund
Melody Baker is Senior Program Officer of the Amplify Fund at Neighborhood Funders Group. She leads grantmaking, capacity building and grantee learning in and across its eight places: Missouri, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and California (through a partnership with the Fund for an Inclusive California (F4ICA).
Driven by her commitment to racial justice and liberation, Melody has held various roles within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Most recently Melody worked with The Inner Resilience Program toward cultivating the inner lives of students, teachers and school communities. Previously, she led grantmaking at the Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) and the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, where she supported youth-led community organizing. For six years, Melody also managed jewelry design and production for women-led businesses in NYC. She holds a B.A. in African-American Studies and Sociology from Wesleyan University; loves mangos and hammocks and is based in NY.
Edie leads and implements key community leadership initiatives while overseeing all grantmaking. She is responsible for the creation of the Civic Engagement Agenda, a seminal guiding document, as well as, the Foundation's first-ever Policy & Advocacy Agenda. In leading the Grantmaking & Community Leadership department, the team focuses on endeavors throughout the Foundation's service area, working from Beaufort up to Myrtle Beach, all while looking to increase philanthropic impact. Edie has been part of the Foundation team and called South Carolina “home” for almost two decades. Hailing from Buffalo, N.Y., she earned a B.A. in English and History from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Tami Spann, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Hollingsworth Funds
Tamela joined Hollingsworth Funds in October 2015 as Manager of Strategic Initiatives. She was named Vice President of Strategic Initiatives in January 2019 and is responsible for philanthropic strategy, the grants portfolio, and community engagement strategies seeking to advance the Funds’ mission to ensure a vibrant and successful Greenville County where everyone has a meaningful opportunity to achieve their highest potential. Tamela has more than a decade of experience leading portfolio’s connecting funders, community partners, and nonprofits to envision, design, and implement initiatives that address education and workforce development, early childhood development, and in support of community economic development.
Tamela received a Master of Education from Converse College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from University of South Carolina Upstate. She currently serves on the board of Together SC, Nonprofit Alliance, ReGenesis CDC, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors, MedEx Advisory Board, and is a member of the Steering Committee of SC Grantmakers. She is a Hull Fellow, a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership Spartanburg, and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Institute.
Tamela is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Macedonia Baptist Church where she serves as the Music Coordinator.
Rini Banerjee is the President of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. Rini has two decades of experience in philanthropy. An Integrated Capital Fellow at RSF Social Finance, she has served as Executive Director at Foundation for a Just Society, Program Officer at the Overbrook Foundation, and Program Director at the New York Women’s Foundation. She is a trustee of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and Board member of Funders for Reproductive Equity, and has co-created or served on groups including the NYC-based Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, the Groundswell Fund, and the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She was a past Board Chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and past Board member of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!). She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a BSc in finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Dara Cooper is the executive director of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, a national organization organizing brilliant Black led food justice organizations around the country which also anchors the Black Land and Power work promoting the reclamation, liberation and regenerative relationship back to land for Black communities (in solidarity with Indigenous nations) in this country. Dara is a founding anchor team member of the HEAL Food Alliance and serves on the leadership team for the Movement for Black Lives policy table, working to link the struggle against mass police and state violence with environmental, health and nutritional violence against Black people. In August of 2016, the Movement for Black Lives’ policy table introduced a Vision for Black Lives policy document providing a comprehensive set of policy demands from over 50 contributing organizations.
Dawn has been a grassroots organizer engaged in a range of social, economic, racial and environmental justice organizations and fights in the Bay Area and nationally for over 20 years. Prior to joining RTTC, Dawn was the Program Director at Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC) a grassroots membership organization focused on community development, housing, and immigrant justice issues in the California Bay Area; and a founding member of the Right To The City Alliance.
Additionally, Dawn has served as Executive Director of People United from a Better Oakland and as the Organizing Director for Building Opportunities for Self- Sufficiency (BOSS). Dawn has helped develop and lead local, regional, statewide and national campaigns, participated and led numerous coalitions and movement formations and authored several nationally recognized reports and articles on topics ranging from equitable development, land and housing justice, grassroots organizing, movement building and strategy. Dawn was lead author on CJJC’s report “Development Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area” which discussed the impacts of gentrification and displacement on working class communities of color and included policy recommendations for addressing these issues. Dawn is an immigrant from Singapore and a male-identified transgender person based in Oakland, California.
Rowen White is a Seed Keeper/farmer from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for indigenous seed and food sovereignty. She is the Educational Director and lead mentor of Sierra Seeds, an innovative land-based educational organization located in Nevada City CA. Rowen is the National Program Director for the Indigenous Seed Keeper Network, which is an initiative of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a non-profit organization aimed at leveraging resources to support tribal food sovereignty projects. She is the chair of the Board of Directors of Seed Savers Exchange, the largest public access seed bank in North America. She facilitates creative hands-on workshops and strategic conversations in community around seed/food security around the country within tribal and small farming communities. She mentors emerging leaders/mentors and community-based organizations to align their way of working with their cultural and core values. Rowen has a deep commitment to approaching food systems revitalization with a cultural context. Her passion is in teaching and mentoring and has developed many curricula that focus on holistic, indigenous approach to food systems revitalization which honors the many layers of food and seed culture with guiding principles that are rooted in an indigenous ecology of relations. She teaches and facilitates creative food sovereignty immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities, as well as offering virtual coaching and mentoring, including an online distance learning seasonal mentorship called Seed Seva. She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs and other distinguished publications. Follow her journeys at www.sierraseeds.org and www.nativefoodalliance.org.
Kellie Terry, Senior Program Officer, Surdna Foundation
Kellie Terry is a Senior Program Officer for Sustainable Environments at the Surdna Foundation. Following a strong desire to serve young people from her own community, Kellie began her career at THE POINT CDC in 2002, a non- profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the South Bronx. In 2004, Kellie became Executive Director, overseeing organizational development, fundraising, environmental justice campaigns and community development projects for the agency for over ten years. During her tenure, she worked on extensive policy and advocacy issues related to fair share, urban food justice, transportation equity, climate resiliency and green infrastructure.
Kellie has completed the Executive Leadership Development Program with Columbia University’s Institute for Non-Profit Management, The We Are The Bronx Fellowship Program and has received recognition for her work from institutions such as El Diario la Prensa – New York City’s largest and oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper, The Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Congressman E. Serrano’ s Office and The New York City Council. Kellie serves as The Board Chair of The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and is a Board Director of The Bronx River Alliance where she recently completed a term as Board Chair.
Kellie graduated cum laude from Holy Cross, as a member of the National Jesuit Honors Society and the National Political Science Honor Society. She is currently a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. A proud mother of two, Kellie currently lives in the Bronx with her two sons, Ali and Naim.
Alison Corwin, Senior Program Officer, Surdna Foundation
Alison is a Senior Program Officer for Sustainable Environments at the Surdna Foundation. She engages in strategy and grantmaking with BIPOC communities and low-wealth communities to move resources in support of power building and self-determination. She takes leadership from frontline communities and grassroots leaders across the country working at the intersection of racial, economic, gender, environmental and climate justice. Alison is a student of the Just Transition movement and helps organize with her philanthropic peers to shift the culture and discourse towards a new approach to philanthropy that redistributes wealth, democratizes power and shifts control to communities in a way that is truly regenerative for people and the planet.
Alison previously served as a Senior Project Manager at New Ecology, a non-profit working on green affordable housing. Additionally, she has worked for non-profits focused on economic justice working with women to start and grow their own businesses, supporting families to break cycles of homelessness and domestic violence direct service.
Alison serves as a board member, trustee and advisor for several organizations and initiatives. She is the Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) Board Co-Chair, Trustee of The Solutions Project, an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow, an American Council on Germany Fellow, and a PLACES Fellow with the Funders’ Network. She also engages in community organizing, political campaigns, and volunteer efforts addressing issues in her community.
She holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University.
Amoretta Morris, Director of National Community Strategies, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Amoretta Morris leads the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s national community change strategies, outside of its hometowns of Baltimore and Atlanta. Her team works with local partners to improve the neighborhoods where kids and families live by promoting access to good schools, affordable homes and job opportunities and strengthening community safety.
Morris has more than a decade of experience shaping policies and programs to improve the lives of youth and families. She has moved between the nonprofit and government sectors, either organizing for social change from the outside or reforming institutions from the inside. She brings deep experience in education policy, youth development, civic engagement, interagency collaboration and nonprofit management.
Before joining the Foundation, Morris served as director of student attendance for the District of Columbia Public Schools. She led a continuum of activities ranging from chronic absence intervention and dropout prevention to support services for homeless students. Previously, she was a youth and education policy adviser in the Executive Office of the Mayor in the Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty administrations. She joined local government after serving as the founding director and lead organizer for the Justice 4 DC Youth! Coalition, an advocacy group that mobilized youth and adults to promote juvenile justice reform.
Morris has served on several nonprofit boards and local commissions, including her current membership on the boards of the Neighborhood Funders Group and the Harvard Kennedy School Black Alumni Association. She is also a lay leader in the spiritual community at Unity of Washington, D.C. and a member of Black Benefactors, a local giving circle that leverages the resources of grassroots philanthropists to advance social change in the D.C. metropolitan area. Morris earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and African studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s in public policy from Harvard University
April Goggans is a sociologist, organizer, disrupter, mother of one, proud southeast DC resident and a Core Organizer with Black Lives Matter DC. Her organizing work focuses on community power building, affordable housing and tenants rights, direct action organizing, policing and police brutality. She recently launched #KeepDC4Me, a coalition working to confront, disrupt and dismantle systems of oppression and state sanctioned violence that displace Black people and incite intra-community violence in southeast DC through political education, building community power, and direct action.
April currently serves as a Management Analyst at a federal agency. Previous to that she interned for the National Association of Blacks for Reparations in America and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She also served on the board of directors of the National Association for Ethnic Studies. Additionally, April served as a charter school administrator and vocational specialist with vulnerable and dropout populations, and as a residential counselor for the care of pregnant and parenting teens and their children.
As Tenants’ Association president at Marbury Plaza Apartments in southeast DC, April led a two-year rent strike resulting in a historic settlement with the owners, Attorney General of DC, and the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs securing $5 million in property repairs and a 50 percent rent abatement.
April is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a Union chapter Vice- President At-Large, Steward and Legislative Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Black Studies, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and a master’s degree in Clinical Sociology from the University of Northern Colorado. She is a Stryker Scholar and the recipient of two Departmental Scholar awards. She works and plays in Washington D.C. with her 18-year-old daughter.
Alise Marshall, Director of Strategy and New Ventures, Public Welfare Foundation
Alise joined the Public Welfare Foundation as Director of Strategy and New Ventures in 2018 to identify new levers for impact and build cross-sector collaborations for social change.
Alise has dedicated her career to advocating for the opportunity for people in need and leading system reform for transformative change. Prior to joining Public Welfare, Alise served as Senior Manager for Economic Opportunity at Walmart Foundation where she oversaw the Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion portfolio, among others. In that role she led the strategic design and management of a combined $10 million philanthropic portfolio dedicated to accelerating impact for new majority communities (people of color, the LGBTQIA community, individuals with disabilities, and women and girls).
Prior to joining Walmart Foundation, Marshall spent six years in the Obama administration. She last served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education where she managed the development of the Department’s strategic plan and led efforts to create transformative impact in low/moderate income communities. Marshall was on the launch team for the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Federal Task Force and managed its policy apparatus, designing solutions to expand access to opportunity for and address barriers experienced by boys and young men of color. She also led the administration’s Rethink Discipline effort to encourage more effective policies to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and served on the Second Chance Pell selection committee providing Pell Grants to incarcerated students.
Alise is a native of Shelbyville, KY and received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky.
Columbus is the Chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit-V in Atlanta, GA. The City of Atlanta is divided into twenty-five Neighborhood Planning Units or NPUs, which are citizen advisory councils that make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on zoning, land use, and other planning issues. The NPU system was established in 1974 to provide an opportunity for citizens to participate actively in the Comprehensive Development Plan, which is the city’s vision for the next five, ten, and fifteen years. It is also used as a way for citizens to receive information concerning all functions of city government. The system enables citizens to express ideas and comment on city plans and proposals while assisting the city in developing plans that best meet the needs of their communities.
Columbus is also the Executive Director of Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation (PRC). Since 1989, PRC has sponsored holistic, sustainable economic development programs to maintain a prosperous, forward-thinking community. Today the PRC is an economic prototype for maintaining historically black, urban neighborhoods from population displacement. PRC employs private sector practices to maximize return on funds invested through verifiable social impact.
As Senior Program Officer at Common Counsel Foundation, Allistair directs philanthropic services for Common Counsel’s clients, supports donors in aligning their philanthropic practices with social justice grantmaking, and bridges relationships in the philanthropic field. He previously served as the Membership & Communications Manager for Justice Funders, based in Oakland, CA.
Before relocating to Oakland in 2016, Allistair was Executive Director for Asian American Resource Workshop, which activated Asian American communities to participate in social change efforts. He also served as Associate Director of Programs and Services at Philanthropy Massachusetts, coordinating affinity groups for funders and directing capacity building programs and initiatives for nonprofit organizations. Allistair has a decade of experience in the philanthropic and nonprofit field, serving in grantmaking roles for Haymarket People’s Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts, Saffron Circle Giving Circle, Access Strategies Fund, and Funding Exchange.
Allistair is active in his community, serving as Vice Chair of the Board for Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Board Member for Filipino Advocates for Justice, and participates in a working group in the local Resource Generation chapter. He serves as Co-Chair of the Integrated Rural Strategies Group at Neighborhood Funders Group as well as of the Local Engagement Chapter of Exponent Philanthropy. He originally hails from Towson, MD, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and Biology from Tufts University.
Kaberi Banerjee Murthy — Director of Programs & Strategy, Meyer Memorial Trust
Kaberi is driven by a passion to transform philanthropy to better serve and share power with historically underserved communities. Kaberi entered into the philanthropic sector in 2000 as a way to advance social justice and systems-level change and has worked in philanthropy at local, regional and national levels, leading grantmaking, programs and advocacy work. “Philanthropy has the opportunity to re-envision how decisions are made and who is centered. The clear focus on equity, the lived experience of staff and leadership, and the commitment to walk the talk all brought me to Meyer to focus on equity and systems change.”
Kaberi served as the vice president of programs at the Brooklyn Community Foundation in New York; program director for Education, Civic Affairs and Arts & Culture at Crown Family Philanthropies in Chicago; education program officer for Jane's Trust and The Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust in Boston; senior education program officer at the Picower Foundation in New York; and program officer for Education, Health, Community Development and Arts at Lloyd A. Fry Foundation in Chicago. Kaberi serves as the racial justice national co-chair for Education Funder Strategy Group.
She is a past national board member for Grantmakers for Education, Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and the Crossroads Fund in Chicago. Kaberi has been a fellow at Leadership Greater Chicago, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Coro Leadership New York and CF Leads Executive Leadership. Kaberi served on the steering committee for the NYC Fund for Girls & Young Women of Color and as the co-chair of the New York Juvenile Justice Initiative. She has a B.A. from Carleton College in history and women's studies and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She loves travel, photography, paper arts and foodie adventures.
Katy Love — Consultant
Katy Love is a practitioner of participatory grantmaking, working as independent consultant to shift power in philanthropy. She helps funders to pilot and build grantmaking processes that move decision-making from funder institutions to communities impacted by those grants. Before that, she served as the director of grantmaking at Wikipedia, overseeing 5 participatory grantmaking programs, and previously was an assistant program officer at the Global Fund for Children. She has also worked in large scale collaboration in the humanitarian response field. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Human Rights Funders Network. Katy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ana Conner is a mixed, Black, queer, gender non-conforming organizer and fundraiser living in Harlem, NY. They are committed to community building and resourcing movements, particularly those rooted in Black liberation, racial and gender justice, queer and trans liberation, and youth leadership. Ana is currently on the board of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and is the Secretary of their local community garden. Before Third Wave Fund, they were the Senior Program Associate for the Transforming Movements Fund and Black-Led Movement Fund at Borealis Philanthropy, and the Database and Operations Manager for Astraea Foundation's Development team.
Over the past year, YEF engaged in thoughtful organizational and leadership development processes to meet the demand of the socio-political moment. Going into 2020, YEF is guided by the leadership of new Executive Director, Alejandra Ruiz who has been involved in the movement for social justice for 15 years since she first shared her story as an undocumented student turned new youth voter. Alejandra comes to the Youth Engagement fund with experience in grassroots organizing at the local and national levels, and expertise in navigating the world of philanthropy, especially with funder and donor partners invested in youth leadership and civic engagement. Her approach to leadership is informed by a racial justice and intersectionality lens formed by her development as a youth leader of color in the progressive movement in the United States.
A native of Colombia, Alejandra migrated to the United States at the age of seven with her mother and younger brother. She was raised in Jackson Heights, Queens and became an immigrant rights advocate as an undocumented high school student. As the Executive Director of the Youth Engagement Fund, Alejandra aims to expand and strengthen funding resources and capacity building to the youth civic engagement sector to increase civic participation among marginalized and youth of color in the United States.
Prior to joining the Youth Engagement Fund, Alejandra was the Director of Donor Organizing and Advising for the Movement Voter Project (MVP) where she engaged donors to support groups advancing work at the intersection of grassroots organizing and electoral politics. Previously, Alejandra served as the Development Director of United We Dream (UWD), the nation’s largest immigrant youth-led network. During her time at UWD, Alejandra was instrumental in developing strategies to build relationships and infrastructure for long term organizational sustainability, and supported local groups in advancing their fundraising plans. She also coaches youth on fundraising, career and workforce development.
Alejandra has worked as an education organizer at Make the Road New York, served with AmeriCorps VISTA, was a leader of the New York State Youth Leadership Council, and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. She holds a B.S. in Urban & Regional Studies, a B.A. in Spanish Area Studies and concentrations in Inequality Studies, Latino Studies and Latin American Studies from Cornell University.
Montserrat Arredondo — Executive Director, One Arizona
Without a lot of fanfare, Montse has been one of the most important driving forces getting people of color registered and to the polls. Because of her year-round work, Arizona is a deciding state for the Senate and the White House in 2020. She became politically engaged in 2010 when the state passed Senate Bill 1070, the immigration enforcement law nicknamed “show me your papers,” because it allowed law enforcement officers to detain or arrest anyone without a warrant if they were suspected to be undocumented immigrants. It was the impact of this law on her community that gave her the push to fight for an Arizona that is better for future generations so people can thrive.
Nearly ten years later, Montse’s work includes immigrant rights, registering voters, increasing the minimum wage and building political power for communities so that they can determine their own future. She is the executive director of One Arizona, a coalition of community groups which focus on Latino civic engagement. The organization has set an impressive goal in 2020 to coordinate 250,000 new voter registrations throughout the state between January and October and to facilitate the biggest voter turnout in Arizona history.
Tiffany Dena Loftin serves as the National Director for the Youth and College Division at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Her mission is to train, organize and uplift young Black leaders everywhere who fight for the racial, social, and economic equity of all people. There are over 340 middle, high school, and college autonomous chapters under her leadership who constantly recruit new members that organize local and national campaigns like ending mass incarceration, ending gun and police violence, school safety, college affordability, and protecting and increasing democracy.
Ms. Loftin has a five-year background in national labor union organizing working at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Labor-Council of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). As a labor civil rights organizer, she created the labor unions only national curriculum that helps workers understand better how race and inequality are part of every collective bargaining fight. She helped create coalitions with community organizations like Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders, and United We Dream. Under her leadership she coordinated a national commission of 30 national presidents and vice presidents to meet with local community leaders to address the issues of police brutality, health care, and racism in the union.
Tiffany’s first job out of college was President of the United States Student Association where she coordinated a college affordability campaign to break contracts between the Department of Education and student loan profiters like Sallie Mae. She worked with seven statewide student associations and coordinated a national electoral campaign which registered over 150,000 young voters in the 2012 presidential election.
Ms. Loftin has been nationally recognized, appearing on TV One, Fox News, ABC, People’s World, NBC, National Public Radio, and Al Jazeera. A passionate organizer for the liberation of communities of color. In 2015, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in Higher Education.
Michelle Wilson — Senior Program Manager, Women Engaged
Michelle is a native of Kansas City, Missouri with a passion for social justice and human rights. She was the first woman appointed as Chairwoman of the Kansas City Youth Commission, where she led a team to develop policies to positively impact youth. She ventured to Little Rock, Arkansas where she attended Philander Smith College. She co-founded the first Gay-Straight Alliance at a Historically Black College in the state of Arkansas and worked closely with the Human Rights Campaign to advocate for LGBTQ+ people of color. While in Arkansas, she was appointed to the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice. She was also a board member of Women Lead Arkansas, an organization geared toward inclusiveness of women in the political engagement.
Michelle coordinated and managed over 28 programs which covered a range of issues in her position with the Social Justice Institute of Philander Smith College. In 2013, Michelle received her BA at Philander Smith College and is completing her MA at Clark Atlanta University in Political Science. Michelle’s passion and work for equal rights makes her ideally suited to contribute to fulfilling the mission of Women Engaged.
Pictured above in slideshow: Amoretta Morris (Annie E. Casey Foundation), Monica Cordova (Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing), Eric Braxton (Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing) / Aaron Tanaka (Center for Economic Democracy), Julia Beatty (Borealis Philanthropy) / Reema Ahmad (Movement Voter Project), Leslie Ramyk (Conant Family Foundation) / Fannie McBeth.