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The Inaugural Equity in Philanthropy Fellowship announced!

Please join us in congratulating our new Fellows!

In these troubling times, communities across the world will be deeply affected by the impact of COVID-19. However, every community does not have access to the same resources due to institutional structures that have left some communities more or less equipped than others to deal with the crisis at hand. These inequities have existed long before this current moment but will only exacerbate the harmful conditions and suffering that communities with high levels of disinvestment will be experiencing in this time.

That is why Rockwood Leadership Institute and the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund have partnered together to create the Equity in Philanthropy Fellowship. In order to fully grasp and equitably meet the needs of communities that have historically been discriminated against by unjust policies such as redlining, we need members of those communities present and well-prepared for stronger leadership roles in philanthropy and to be a part of the decision of where, to who, and how charitable monies should go.

With that, Rockwood is proud to announce our inaugural 2020 Equity in Philanthropy Fellowship, in partnership with the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. This brand new Fellowship was created to catalyze a shift in philanthropy in which diversity, equity, inclusion are at the center of all decision-making levels; to strengthen the leadership skills and deepen the connections of a robust and intersectional group of philanthropic leaders; to build a pipeline of diverse and interconnected voices in the field who can advance critical social justice efforts.

The Fellowship will bring together 17 leaders from across the nation who work on a broad range of issues and represent a diverse set of backgrounds. The goal is to help these leaders increase their individual leadership effectiveness and to provide opportunities for relationship building and collaboration to support the movement of equity across foundations.

The 2020 Equity in Philanthropy Fellowship Fellows are:


Isabel Barrios | Program Officer, Greater New Orleans Foundation

Isabel is a social justice-focused grantmaker promoting investments and practices centered in equity. As a program officer at the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), she leads work in family economic security, advocacy and equitable disaster recovery. Isabel has worked in the local nonprofit sector, as well as in advocate and activist circles fighting for affordable housing, prison abolition, and women’s health since 1996. She co-chairs the Equitable Development Action Table of the Greater New Orleans Funders Network, and is a steering committee member of the Neighborhood Funders Group’s Democratizing Development Initiative. She is an alum of Hispanics in Philanthropy’s 2018 NGen Lideres cohort. Isabel is a commissioner of the Housing Authority of New Orleans, and a board member of the Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, as well as Volunteers of America of Southeast Louisiana. Originally from Guatemala, Isabel has called New Orleans home since 1987, and is deeply passionate about its people, neighborhoods and culture.


Katie Carter | Chief Executive Officer, Pride Foundation

Katie has been working for social justice in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+, gender, and racial justice. Originally from the Midwest, she moved to Portland, Oregon in 2008 to contribute her passion for social change with her skills in organizational development, fundraising, and communications strategy. Katie relocated to Seattle in 2019 to become the CEO of Pride Foundation after being on staff for over 5 years. Prior to her current role, Katie was the director of strategic priorities and before that the regional philanthropy officer in Oregon. Katie’s work is motivated by a deeply held belief in the possibility of transformational change and a constant striving for a more just and loving world. She believes in the importance of community connection and engagement, and co-founded a restorative justice group that facilitates a gender and sexuality seminar for people who are incarcerated in Oregon. In addition to her work, she finds rejuvenation and joy through crafting, watercolor, writing, reading memoir and poetry, everything having to do with cats and other sweet furry creatures, and all bodies of water, especially the Oregon coast.


Namita Chad | Associate Director of Programs, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Namita is a queer South Asian activist with 15 years of experience in social justice philanthropy and over 20 years of experience working with grassroots, LGBTQI people of color, migrant justice and feminist organizing groups as a collective member, board member, staff and in advisory roles. In both grassroots movement and philanthropic work, she has held diverse programmatic, administrative and operational roles. As a self-identified spreadsheet nerd, she believes in the power of liberatory structures that support long lasting change. She is the associate director of programs at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. She also has a background in gender and sexuality studies and is currently completing a master’s degree and public administration.


Rini Chakraborty | Senior Program Officer, NEO Philanthropy’s Four Freedom’s Fund

Rini oversees a grantmaking initiative on immigration enforcement, detention, and deportation and seeks to strengthen the field of cross-movement organizations challenging the criminalization of immigrants. Her career spans more than two decades fighting for and advancing the rights of immigrants, communities of color, and low-wage workers striving to achieve justice. After passage of the 1996 immigration and welfare laws, she led a statewide immigrant rights collaborative in California, where she spearheaded successful legislative campaigns that restored health and welfare programs for immigrants, won in-state tuition for undocumented students, and helped propel the Golden State to be a national leader on immigrant justice. She also served as senior policy analyst with the ACLU of Southern California, where she challenged post-9.11 policies and attacks against MASA communities; and as executive director of Sweatshop Watch, where she helped establish a consortium of national “sweat-free” cities and states. Prior to joining FFF, Rini was Amnesty International USA’s western regional director for Amnesty’s largest region, where she led campaigns on death penalty abolition, migrant rights, criminal justice reforms, and international human rights.


Ana Conner | Co-Director, Third Wave Fund

Ana is a co-director at the Third Wave Fund, an activist fund that resources and supports the political power, well-being, and self-determination of women of color, queer, trans, and intersex folks under the age of 35. Ana is committed to community building and resourcing movements, particularly those rooted in Black liberation, racial and gender justice, queer and trans liberation, and youth leadership development. They came to this work through organizing with FIERCE, where they brought together queer and trans youth of color across the US to talk about gentrification, policing, and how young people are building a movement to end violence waged against our communities. They became passionate about resourcing movements while on the fundraising staff at Astraea Foundation, while participating in the Miss Major Jay Toole Giving Circle in NYC, and through supporting the critical work of the Transforming Movements Fund and Black-led Movement Fund at Borealis Philanthropy.


Ryan Easterly | Executive Director, WITH Foundation

Ryan is an experienced grantmaker, strategist, and advocate who’s driven by a desire to effect meaningful change. His vernacular and love for sweet tea reveal his proud Alabama roots. His experiences as an individual with multiple marginalized identities inform his commitment to bridging gaps and supporting people’s access to resources and power. Ryan has worked in philanthropy for more than a decade. He’s held positions within the HSC Foundation and currently serves as executive director of the WITH Foundation, a private foundation that promotes comprehensive healthcare for adults with developmental disabilities in the United States. Widely regarded as a visionary leader on the intersections of race, class, and disability, Ryan was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. He now serves on a national council that promotes disability inclusion in philanthropy that is co-chaired by Ford Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Shalini Eddens | Senior Director of Programs, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights

Shalini is the senior director of programs at Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights. For Shalini, the personal is political and the passion for her work is grounded in her deep belief for justice, equity, and liberation, particularly for Black and Brown folks. Born and raised in Oakland, California, to an Indian/British mother and Black father, Shalini is deeply influenced by her cultural and geographic roots. She has an extensive background in women’s health and rights, with over 20 years of leadership experience in the public health providing direct services, training, education and advocacy for women living with and affected by HIV. She has worked globally in South Asia and Africa with women’s rights organizations. She holds a bachelor’s in sociology with a minor in African American studies from the University of California Davis and an M.P.H. from Rollins School of public health at Emory University.


Nyeleti Honwana | Program Officer, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation

Nyeleti is an impatient millennial working at the nexus of philanthropy, academia youth and race. She is a program officer at the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, which funds research on violence, conflict and aggression. Here, she serves as the lead organizer of the Young African Scholars Program. She is also the co-founder of Global Black Youth, an initiative, that convenes and supports innovative, disruptive and entrepreneurial young black leaders in generating knowledge and solutions that transform their ability to impact the world. She serves on the steering committee of the Africa Grantmaker’s Affinity Group (AGAG), a network of international philanthropic organizations funding a variety of projects on the African continent. She holds a BA in contemporary history from the University of Sussex, UK and an MA in international affairs from Boston University. Her international upbringing in Mozambique, South Africa, England, Senegal and the US, underpins her fervent belief that a diversity of cultures, perspectives and voices is central to achieving sustainable social change.


Shaena Johnson | Program Officer, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

A native Louisianian, Shaena brings over 15 years of organizing and advocacy experience as well as her extensive work in the community focusing on issues facing LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system. Shaena investigated conditions of confinement for incarcerated youth and supported defense attorneys with zealous advocacy and investigation for court-involved youth in New Orleans as a youth advocate and later the LGBTQ program coordinator at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and as an investigator at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights.  Shaena is also the former co-director of BreakOUT! Shaena currently serves as a program officer at Astraea, as a former grantee partner with a wealth of knowledge about organizing in the US South, and is no stranger to philanthropic advocacy.


Conniel Malek | Director, True Costs Initiative

Conniel works to foster deep relationships with global aouth partners and is committed to prioritizing people over profit at the intersection of strong legal systems and corporate accountability.  She is a proud daughter of the Caribbean, from the island of Jamaica.  She grew up observing firsthand the juxtaposition of corporate investment and the stark effect on the environmental and social landscape in her country. Conniel practiced as an attorney for ten years and is a board member of EDGE Funders Alliance, which organizes within philanthropy to raise awareness and deepen understanding of the interconnected nature of the social, economic and ecological crises threatening our common future.  She received her law degree from The University of Virginia School of Law and her BA from Cornell University.  She is most proud of being the mother of two amazing daughters.


Katrina Mitchell | Chief Community Impact Officer, United Way of Greater Atlanta

Katrina is an experienced and respected leader with more than 20 years of experience working on a national and regional level. She has worked in the non-profit, philanthropic and public sector. She has served in leadership roles at the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and Andrus Family Fund. Since re-joining United Way in 2018, she has played an integral role in the allocation of the 2019 Community Impact Fund and currently serves as the chief community impact officer. Prior to assuming her role at United Way, she worked for Literacy, Inc. and the National Urban League.  Katrina also served as an advisory member of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom School and as a board member for Westside Atlanta Charter School and the Wellesley College Alumnae of African Descent. She currently serves on Grantmakers for Southern Progress’ Steering Committee and is the recipient of the Association for Black Foundation Executives Connecting Leaders Fellowship, Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Results Based Leadership Program and Leadership America Class of 2018. After receiving a BA in English from Wellesley College, Katrina earned a M.Ed. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.


Payal Patel | Senior Program Officer, American Jewish World Service

Payal is a senior program officer at AJWS, a grantmaking organization based in New York that supports grassroots human rights activists and social movements in the Global South. In this role, she helps to lead a grantmaking portfolio on land rights and climate justice in Liberia, Kenya and Uganda. During her career, Payal has been committed to advancing women’s economic rights, and supporting feminist, community-led social justice efforts. She is also deeply passionate about climate justice. She has more than 13 years of experience in grantmaking, research, evaluation, and capacity building on these issues in the Global South. Prior to working with AJWS, Payal was a researcher at the International Center for Research on Women, and then as an independent consultant, examining issues related to women’s economic rights, justice and empowerment. She holds an MA in international development from the George Washington University, and a BA in international relations and economics from Wellesley College.


Hafeeza Rashed | Senior Advisor, Communications & Outreach, King Baudouin Foundation United States

Hafeeza manages the portfolio of Africa-based organizations at the King Baudouin Foundation United States. Previously, she worked at Gbowee Peace Foundation USA, which was founded to support the work of Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee. She is a native of Washington State and has worked in education, law, social justice and philanthropy for the last 15 years.  Hafeeza leads her Foundation’s efforts to increase and support direct resourcing of African-led organizations on the continent. She regularly speaks at international conferences on African-led civil society organizations and is published in the African Philanthropy Forum’s Toolkit for African Philanthropists. In 2018, her efforts were recognized as KBFUS was honored with the Friends of Africa Award by the Society of Africans in the Diaspora. She lives and works in New York City with her husband.


Erik Stegman | Executive Director, Native Americans in Philanthropy

Erik, Carry the Kettle First Nation (Nakoda), is executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. Before joining NAP, Erik served as the executive director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. He has also previously worked at the Center for American Progress on their Poverty to Prosperity team, as majority staff counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and in the Obama administration as a policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. Erik began his career in Washington, D.C. at the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center. He holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, an MA in American Indian studies from UCLA’s Graduate Division, and a BA from Whittier College.


Marin Watts | Director of Operations and Communications, Trans Justice Funding Project

Marin is a queer, trans, Pilipinx-American multimedia artist who is deeply committed to social justice. They are the director of operations and communications at Trans Justice Funding Project (TJFP), which moves money to grassroots, trans-led, trans justice groups around the country. As a social justice philanthropist, media maker, and logistics whiz, they lead the daily operations, communications, and grant distribution at TJFP. They are committed to using their skills in service of movements towards liberation and justice. Over the years he has been involved with many grassroots cultural projects that use art and media as a tool for change. His art practice explores how personal and political everyday experiences and intergenerational histories, impact our sense of self—our physical body, emotional landscape, and spirit.  When they are not in the office or studio, Marin can be found walking their dog somewhere in Brooklyn and daydreaming of the ocean.


Geneva Wiki | Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment

Geneva serves as senior program manager- Del Norte and Tribal Lands for The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative. She previous lived in New Zealand and worked as an executive designer with a human-centered design firm. With her family, Geneva owns the Historic Requa Inn on the Yurok reservation. Previously, she was executive director of the Wild Rivers Community Foundation; deputy executive director of the Yurok Tribe; and founding director of a community-driven high school. Named one of America’s 37 Innovators under 36 by Smithsonian Magazine, Geneva was named National Innovator by the US Department of State, High County News, and 40 Under 40 Native leader. Geneva earned a master’s in public administration from University of Washington, and a degree in planning, public policy and management from University of Oregon. She recently relocated from the redwood forest of her ancestral homelands to Sacramento with her spouse and three daughters.


Bia Vieira | Chief Strategist, Programs, Women’s Foundation of California

Bia brings more than 20 years of leadership experience ranging from the philanthropic to the nonprofit sectors in gender, racial, economic justice and immigrant rights issues with a variety of constituencies.  She has held leadership positions in a number of philanthropic organizations and affinity groups leading program approaches that include policy, campaigns, research, evaluation, and capacity building. Before joining the Foundation in 2018, Bia was the California director for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and prior to that, Bia was the vice president of philanthropic services for the Philadelphia Foundation where she developed the Foundation’s equity and social justice strategy. Through her consulting practice, Bia led numerous projects including a grantmaking impact evaluation for the Horizons Foundation; a research study for the Global Philanthropy Project on funding mechanisms for African, Latin American, and Asian, LGBTI communities in the Global South and East; and providing technical assistance for trans-Latinx led organizations for AIDS United. Originally from Brazil, Bia is a longtime activist in women’s, LGBTQI, Latino, and arts and culture issues. She holds a BA in Spanish and Anthropology and a MA in Literature and Linguistics, both from Temple University. She completed the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Research as well as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at Columbia University. In addition to English, Bias is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.