CORE CONVENING TEAM
Shona Chakravartty — Hill-Snowdon Foundation
As Senior Program Officer at the Hill-Snowdon Foundation (HSF), Shona Chakravartty is responsible for leading and managing HSF’s Economic Justice grantmaking program, as well as developing and implementing learning and leveraging activities related to HSF’s economic justice interests. She was previously the co-chair of Neighborhood Funders Group's Funders for a Just Economy (formerly the Working Group on Labor & Community Partnerships), and currently serves on the board of Neighborhood Funders Group as well as on the board of the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing.
Before joining the Hill-Snowdon Foundation staff in 2006, Shona served as Program Officer for the Four Freedoms Fund, a philanthropic collaborative that made grants to enhance the capacity of local and state organizations to actively engage immigrants in the civic, social and economic life of their communities and participate in national policy and advocacy efforts. Prior to that, she was a program officer at the Jewish Fund for Justice for almost six years where she was responsible for grantmaking in the areas of Women in Poverty, Assisting New Immigrants, and Economic Justice. Shona has also worked at a variety of non-profits in New York City including the National Council of Jewish Women, Sakhi for South Asian Women, and Women and Philanthropy. She also serves on the board of Chhaya CDC in Queens, where she resides. Past board service includes the New York Women’s Foundation, South Asian Youth Action, and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants & Refugees (GCIR). Shona was born in India and holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a Master’s degree from Oxford University.
Mary Sobecki — Needmor Fund
Mary Sobecki is the Executive Director of The Needmor Fund, a private family foundation that supports social justice work and community organizing throughout the Midwest. Prior to joining Needmor in 2004, Mary was on the staff of the Toledo Community Foundation, where she served as Senior Program Officer and later as the founding Director of the Center for Nonprofit Resources. Mary also consults with local non-profits in the areas of board development and grantsmanship. In addition, she currently serves on several non-profit boards, including Neighborhood Funders Group, the Ohio Transformation Fund, and The First Tee of Lake Erie. She is also active in Philanthropy Ohio as a member of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Prior to becoming involved in philanthropy, Mary worked for several nonprofits in Northwest Ohio, including Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, and the Y.W.C.A. of Greater Toledo. Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in in Social Work from Bowling Green State University. She also has a background in stand-up and improvisational comedy.
Neighborhood Funders Group Staff
Adriana Rocha — Interim Co-Director
Adriana leads NFG’s Program Team, NFG’s National Convening, oversees all of NFG’s programs and the development and evaluation of all new NFG programs including its Leadership Development offerings; Philanthropy Forward and Peer Coaching Circles.
Adriana joined NFG in May of 2017 and was a former NFG member while at the New York Foundation. As a member of NFG, Adriana found other foundation staff members committed to social justice and a peer network of new Program Officers, particularly other new Program Officers of Color.
Adriana brings expertise in grantmaking, organizational capacity building, and nonprofit management. Adriana served as a Program Officer at the New York Foundation and Director of Grants & Capacity Building at the Just Beginnings Collaborative. Adriana served as Practice Director for CompassPoint, a national leader in providing capacity building support to social justice leaders and organizations.
Adriana has served on the boards of the Latino Commission on AIDS, CALNonprofits, and Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree from Columbia University, Social Organizational Psychology Program. Adriana is from Toluca, Mexico and calls New York City home.
Elizabeth Pham — Senior Program Coordinator
Elizabeth provides program, financial and evaluation management support for Philanthropy Forward and the biennial National Convening while managing IT infrastructure and other operational improvement projects. She helps to ensure these programs and operations are implemented effectively while being inspired by the work of forward-thinking community and philanthropic leaders.
Elizabeth joined NFG in October 2018, drawn to its racial justice focus and mission to develop a philanthropic sector that is more inclusive and equitable. She has served in many roles within the nonprofit sector in the US and abroad, from streamlining program operations for the Ford Foundation to capacity building for community-based organizations in Vietnam. Elizabeth earned both a BS and MPA degrees from New York University. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.
Local Program Consultant
Rubie Coles is the Program Director of the Diverse City Fund in Washington, D.C. Before joining the Diverse City Fund staff, Rubie served as Deputy Director of the Moriah Fund in Washington, DC. She was responsible for directing and managing the foundation’s economic justice and reproductive justice grantmaking nationally and in the DC region.
Prior to joining Moriah in 1999, Rubie served as Co-Director of Women Work!, a national women’s workforce development organization. Rubie received a Master in Public Administration degree from American University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College. She is a founding member of both the Black Philanthropic Alliance and Black Benefactors. Rubie is also a former DC Fund Board of Instigators member.
Disability Capacity Builder
Sebastian Margaret is an anti-ableism and disability community educator and capacity builder. A disabled TGNC, queer, raised in Yorkshire they are informed richly by white working-class racial justice values and by coming of age in the pushback to Thatcher’s Britain. Sebastian has been kept deliciously exhausted and hopeful parenting a pair of gorgeous kids, both of whom are now far taller than they, and is passionate about the validity and glory of imperfect body/minds and our right to body sovereignty. Sebastian works to highlight the exclusion, criminalization, exploitation and oppression experienced by disabled communities; particularly those living at the forefront of disposable. They have been working to insert and reveal disability justice values in multiple justice movements, while supporting multi-issue capacity and vibrancy in disability communities for decades. You can often find Sebastian inventing fictitious names for their service dog as an act of quiet resistance to everyday ableism, while clutching tight to a good cup ‘o tea.
Girl Friday Events
Girl Friday Events is a full-service event planning company providing can-do consulting and production for the nonprofit sector. We draw experience from 20+ years of professional event management at a diverse range of events from major fundraisers to intimate gatherings; multi-day conferences to outdoor extravaganzas.
Girl Friday Events works exclusively with nonprofits because we believe that the people that power them are forces for good. We believe that sharing ideas, expertise, and even mistakes makes the field stronger, which makes our communities stronger. We work harder because we think our work is part of the solution. We know if you can do all that and still laugh more than a little you are doing it right.
The Girl Friday team includes Julie Hensley, Shelly Kim, Peggy Wei, & JC Rafferty. We’re excited to meet you in DC!
Karla Flemming is a freelance graphic designer and artist who is passionate about social, economic, and environmental justice. After graduating with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Information Science and Technology from Colorado State University, she spent three years working at Moxy Group, a women-led consulting group that partnered with social justice & philanthropic organizations on fundraising, communications, and design projects. In 2019, Karla completed Chinook Fund’s Giving Project, where she worked with a diverse group of volunteers from all income levels to strengthen her skills in fundraising, grantmaking, and community building to mobilize resources for grassroots organizations in Colorado.
Karla loves to leverage traditional and new media to inspire people to act. She has led a variety of design projects including brand development, customized websites, icon creation, infographics, brochures, books and more. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado and when not designing or continuing to educate herself about the complex state of our world, she can be found drawing, painting, or adventuring outdoors.
Pictured above in slideshow: Amoretta Morris (Annie E. Casey Foundation), Monica Cordova (Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing), Eric Braxton (Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing) / National Museum of African American History and Culture / Aaron Tanaka (Center for Economic Democracy), Julia Beatty (Borealis Philanthropy) / Reema Ahmad (Movement Voter Project), Leslie Ramyk (Conant Family Foundation) / Fannie McBeth / National Museum of the American Indian.