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Equity In PhilanthropyNews

Announcing The 2024 Equity in Philanthropy Cohort

By September 5, 2023October 31st, 2023No Comments

Advancing social justice requires investing in powerful leaders from historically excluded communities to grow their capacities, increase their leadership effectiveness, and provide opportunities for relationship building and collaboration to support an equitable philanthropy movement. In support of this vision, Rockwood is proud to announce the 2024 cohort of the Equity in Philanthropy Fellowship in partnership with Wellspring Philanthropic Fund (WPF). Bringing together 18 leaders from across the nation, this Fellowship was created to catalyze a shift in philanthropy in which diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the center of all decision-making levels.

The 2024 Equity in Philanthropy Fellowship Fellows are: 

Remie Abi-Farrage | Senior Program Officer, Equality Fund

Remie is a dedicated advocate in women’s rights and social justice. As a Senior Program Officer at the Equality Fund, she empowers women’s rights organizations, feminist movements, and LGBTQI+ communities, particularly in the Global South. With a strong commitment to feminist philanthropy, Remie’s involvement in global feminist and youth movements highlights her dedication to shifting power dynamics. She champions core funding for local groups while facilitating impactful work as donors. Beyond her role, Remie co-chairs Dignity Network Canada’s Advocacy and Government Relations Working Group and serves on the board of the Doria Feminist Fund. Her identity as a Queer Arab Feminist with strong Lebanese roots informs her work, emphasizing inclusivity and cultural bridging. As a child of immigrant parents, Remie draws upon her upbringing to infuse her work with inclusivity and commitment in centring the voices of under-resourced groups. Demonstrating her unwavering dedication to social justice and equality, her passion continues to shape her trajectory, making Remie an inspiring force for change on the global stage.

Maggie Colgan | Communications Manager, New York Foundation

Maggie is a trans artist from the Peninsula, California, who approaches the world outside of binary and with abundance. Their work in this life is communication, both professionally and interpersonally. Beyond broadcasting information, they value communications as a vehicle to share ourselves, to be seen, to exist despite systemic erasure. They seek and nurture spaces where we can wholly feel and express ourselves without shame and without oppression. For the past four years, Maggie has served as the Communications Manager at the New York Foundation, bringing together every resource of the Foundation to increase support for its grantees and to move power out of philanthropy and into our communities. They attended Hampshire College with a bunch of other freaks, and have been held by the fierce community of the Northeast and Brooklyn ever since.

Brittany Collins | Executive Director, Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation 

Brittany is a social impact strategist with over ten years of experience in urban public education and the non-profit sector, adept at forging cross-sector partnerships and collaborations. As the Executive Director of the Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, she oversees the entirety of the Foundation’s operations — from grantmaking and investing to communications and strategy, providing leadership both within the organization and in the broader field. Active in Georgia’s nonprofit boards, she’s a member of the Georgia Grantmakers Alliance and Education Funders Collaborative. Acknowledged for her exemplary professional and civic contributions, she was honored as a 2021 Outstanding Atlantan, recognized as 2022 Regional Leadership Institute alumni, and is part of the Leadership Buckhead Class of 2023. A Spelman College graduate with a master’s from Georgia State University, Brittany resides in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

Gloris Estrella | Program Officer, Perigee Fund

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the Bronx, NY, Gloris embodies a unique blend of cultural influences that have shaped her deep connection to the community. Fueled by her unwavering commitment to giving back, Gloris holds a BA in Economics from DePauw University, and an MPA and nonprofit management certificate from the University of Washington, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, both supported by the Posse Foundation. With a passion for driving positive change and advancing social impact causes, Gloris has successfully developed and executed strategic partnerships that have made a meaningful difference in communities. Her tireless dedication is grounded in a set of core values that prioritize equity, empathy, and empowerment. Beyond her professional commitments, she is a certified vinyasa yoga instructor, using mindfulness to find balance amidst the hustle of life. In her downtime, she cherishes hiking adventures, experimenting with cooking new dishes, savoring various cuisines, and taking leisurely strolls with her dog, Peppe.

Mariam Gagoshashvili | Director of Programs at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Mariam is a queer feminist activist and grantmaker from Tbilisi, Georgia. Born and raised in the region of South Caucasus, she migrated to the US in 2013. In her 15+ years of experience in gender justice philanthropy, Mariam has dedicated her efforts to strategically resourcing movements through participatory and trust-based grantmaking models and with an intersectional justice lens. In her current role as the Director of Programs at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Mariam oversees the International Fund’s work in grantmaking, capacity strengthening, accompaniment, research, and philanthropic advocacy in the Global Majority countries. Before this, she served as a Senior Programs & Advocacy Officer at Astraea holding a number of regional portfolios while also leading a philanthropic advocacy program to increase and improve funding for LBQ-led movements globally. Mariam has worked at Global Fund for Women and Women’s Fund in Georgia, is among the founding advisors of FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund, and has served on the Board of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights. Mariam holds an MA in Gender Studies from Central European University, Hungary. She lives across from a park and enjoys taking long walks, dancing, and protesting together with her queer community.

Daren Ginete | Associate Advisor, Science Philanthropy Alliance

Daren works to advance fundamental scientific research by, with, and for all. Initially in healthcare administration, Daren moved towards a career in research after experiencing the joy of scientific discovery and learning its transformative societal impact. This led him to push knowledge in neurodegeneration, gene regulation, and host-microbe associations, ultimately obtaining his PhD in Microbiology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Based on his experience as a first generation Filipino immigrant conducting research in five different research institutions across the United States, he believes that uncovering scientific innovation and excellence requires fostering talent in everyone, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds and identities. To this end, he is excited to be currently working as an associate advisor at the Science Philanthropy Alliance to support funders in their programmatic and grantmaking strategies to advance scientific research.

Demetria Jackson | Senior Manager, Racial Justice & Equity, Humanity United

A proud native of Washington, D.C., Demetria has deeply rooted ties to the city that have fostered her passion for community advocacy and the pursuit of social justice. Having witnessed firsthand the city’s evolution and the challenges its residents face, Demetria’s commitment to fostering equity and eliminating systemic barriers has only grown stronger over the years. As the Senior Manager, Racial Justice & Equity at Humanity United, Demetria supports community outreach, strategic partnerships, and innovative programming and strives to empower individuals and organizations to become agents of change in their own communities. With 12+ years of experience in the field of philanthropy, Demetria is committed to using her skills and lived experience to effect change at varying levels within our society. Her work is grounded in a deep commitment to addressing the systemic inequalities that have plagued our communities for generations and the belief that true progress requires a deep understanding of the historical and social factors that have contributed to systemic inequality. In her downtime, Demetria enjoys exploring the vibrant cultural scene of Washington, D.C., and volunteering with local organizations that share her vision for a more inclusive world. Her journey is a testament to her resilience, compassion, and dedication to building a society where everyone’s voice is heard and valued.

Laura Lemus | Deputy Director of Funder Engagement, Hispanics in Philanthropy

Laura is a Mexican immigrant, proud of her Indigenous ancestry, and oldest of four children in a mixed status household. Laura is committed to advancing equity, personally and professionally, because her life and her loved one’s lives depend on it. Laura is the Deputy Director of Funder Engagement at HIP where she works with a diverse network of funders to center and advance HIP’s programmatic priorities that elevate equity, influence and leadership for Latine and Latin Americans across the Americas. In 2018, Laura completed one of the country’s top leadership programs, National Urban Fellows, which culminated with a Master of Public Administration from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Laura has 10 years of social justice expertise across a range of issues including, migration, racial justice, gender equity, and environmental justice. In her spare time Laura enjoys dining in NYC, reading, and spending time with her fiance and sharpie-beagle pup, Toast.

Anthony Ng | Program Officer, Weingart Foundation

Anthony serves as a Program Officer at the Weingart Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation advancing racial, social, and economic justice in Southern California. He focuses on grantmaking that supports power building, systemic change, and racial justice within the immigrant justice and housing justice ecosystem. Before joining the Foundation, anthony was the Dream Resource Center Director at the UCLA Labor Center where he trained the next generation of diverse immigrant justice leaders. He has over a decade of experience working in the immigrant justice movement with organizations such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA and United We Dream. His lived experience as a DACAmented queer Pilipinx drives his commitment to racial justice. anthony lives in Los Angeles, unceded Tongva/Fernandeño Tataviam land, and enjoys spending time in nature and going on food adventures.

jawno okhiulu | Program Strategy Associate, Waverly Street Foundation

Dedicated to resourcing and organizing for transformative change, jawno has been fortunate to engage in roles that merge their passions for environmental justice and Black Queer and Trans Liberation. They currently serve as a Program Strategy Associate at Waverley Street Foundation, where they’re supporting various global grantmaking campaigns at the intersection of climate change and community priorities. They were previously awarded the Tom Ford Fellowship in Philanthropy from Stanford University, where they placed and subsequently worked as a Program Associate with Decolonizing Wealth Project to support Black and Indigenous Liberation, with special attention to food, land, and farmer justice. They worked internally to develop effective grantmaking systems and protocols and had the opportunity to develop and run an internship program empowering youth in philanthropy. Additionally, jawno works with Black Earth Farmers to study and spread ancestral knowledge and contemporary agroecological practices and train community members to build liberated food systems.

Naiche Parker | Program Officer and Racial Justice & Communications Coordinator, The Scherman Foundation

Naiche is a program officer, writer, and avid storyteller committed to advancing justice and liberation through community investment, communications, and artistic expression. She is a proud Latina of Indigenous and African descent from the Bronx and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hunter College in 2015 with a degree in Media Studies and a concentration in Journalism. During her time at the CUNY, Naiche worked for various publications, including The Hunter Word and The Hunts Point Express, where she covered hard-hitting social and community issues. As an author and poet, Naiche has participated in the spoken word community and other creative platforms that amplify and restore power to oppressed voices. She has worked at the Scherman Foundation for eight years, taking a leadership role in advancing communications and racial justice efforts. Her program focus is on the Arts and strengthening New York communities.

Prachi Patankar | Senior Program Officer, Foundation for a Just Society

Born and raised in rural India, Prachi was raised by a freedom-fighter grandmother and parents deeply involved in anti-caste, feminist, and peasant movements. Over two decades, she has been an activist, grantmaker, and writer involved in movements that link the local and the global, police brutality and war, migration and militarization, race and caste, women of color feminism, and global gender justice. As the Senior Program Officer at Foundation for a Just Society, Prachi leads the program supporting gender justice movements in South and Southeast Asia. She serves on the Human Rights Funders Network’s Global Racial Justice Advisory Council and the Advisory Board of the Grantmakers for Girls for Color and Fenomenal Funds. Prachi believes in the vital power of intersectional and international visions, which resonate across Dalit rights and Black lives, migrant and gender justice, to build bottom-up change from the local to the global.

Gabriela Quintanilla | Hudson Valley Program Officer, North Star Fund

Gabriela Quintanilla was born in El Salvador and migrated to the United States as an undocumented immigrant at the age of thirteen. Gabriela has over a decade of experience as a social justice activist and community organizer. She is the founder of Adelante Student Voices, a non-profit organization in New York State that works with undocumented students to navigate the educational school system in regards to their status. Gabriela has mobilized rallies for undocumented and farmworker rights, designed workshops to amplify the voices of marginalized students, and coordinated fundraising efforts across NY State. She is featured in two award-winning documentaries, Dreamers Among Us and Paper State: Undocumented Unafraid Undeterred, which won Best Student Documentary at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Gabriela has a Master’s Degree in Labor Studies from the School of Labor and Urban Studies and a B.A in Sociology with a minor in Political Science. She is now North Star Fund’s Hudson Valley Program Officer, overseeing a portfolio that highlights multiple issue areas. North Star Fund is a social justice fund that supports grassroots organizing led by communities of color building power in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Gabriela is committed to moving beyond the dollar support to grassroots community organizations and bringing about social justice change to communities of color who live in rural areas.

Meghana Rajanahally | Finance & Operations Manager, Thrive Philanthropy 

Meghana was born and raised in South India, and moved to Aotearoa to become a marine biologist. She studied climate change in the Antarctic and then spent 7 years as a social justice community organizer across the world to find a more meaningful way to create an equitable world.  She is committed to looking at issues with an intersectional lens and based in decolonisation and transformative justice. She currently works as Finance and Operations Manager at Thrive Philanthropy that  amplifies just food systems and accelerates alternatives to industrial  animal agriculture by strengthening frontline organizations across the world, while also working as an operations manager for A Just World and Citizens for Animals, organizations working towards food system reform in India. She currently resides in Te Whanganui a Tara where  she enjoys dancing with Wellington Batucada and loves diving and swimming in the ocean.

Cade Rosenberg | Grants Manager, The Colorado Health Foundation

Cade’s passion for service and mission-driven work centers on the ideal that true change occurs through dismantling the power differentials that exist for those with lived experience to lead and inform decisions. They are a grants manager at The Colorado Health Foundation, which works to create health equity for all Coloradans, by serving those who have less power, privilege, and income, and prioritizing communities of color. Cade oversees data collection and reporting to analyze and address gaps in community representation. Their philanthropic experience has focused on reproductive health and access, organizational capacity building, STEM, LGBTQIA+ rights, racial justice, and health equity. Cade earned their MPA at The University of Washington through the Peace Corps Masters International program where they served as a community public health Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique, and their BA in Government from The University of Texas at Austin.

Elsa Saade | Senior Program Officer, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights

Elsa is a Lebanese cultural and social activist, aspiring historian, political artist, and mobilizer based in New York City. As of 2019, she came to Urgent Action Fund with a wealth of lived experience on the frontlines in Lebanon and the Middle East at large, as well as deep knowledge and connection to the history of the lands she was raised in. She holds a Masters’ Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, focused on the concept of silenced histories and the case of the disappeared in post civil war Beirut. In her free time she is a puppeteer and musician, and she supports frontline groups in strengthening their fundraising and philanthropic knowledge.

Francesca Santos | Program Officer, Rural Climate Partnership

A Mojave High Desert native, Francesca is a new economy architect dedicated to building diverse, equitable, and sustainable economies that safeguard people and the planet. As a Program Officer at the Rural Climate Partnership, she resources rural, community-led projects that advance climate justice.With a rich and varied background in economic justice and community development, Francesca spent her career decolonizing wealth, advancing worker power, and reimagining the future of work for low-income communities of colors. Prior to RCP, she worked at Rural LISC, where she supported workforce initiatives that championed quality jobs, worker voice, and accessible benefits. A PhD student studying solidarity economies and a Cooperative Leaders and Scholars Fellow, she is a fierce advocate for employee ownership models as drivers of sustainability, innovation and equity. As a Chicana, formerly homeless youth, survivor of domestic violence and daughter of a single-parent household, Francesca’s work is firmly rooted in intersectionality, joy and grace.

Sona Smith | Birth Justice Program Officer, Ms. Foundation for Women

Sona is a Chicago native. She is an equity and justice-centered philanthropic leader with over 15 years of progressive leadership experience in the nonprofit sector. For more than a decade her work centered on young people in Chicago. In fact, she credits Chicago’s youth for radicalizing her and helping her to find her way to the reproductive justice movement. Currently, she serves as a birth justice program officer for the Ms. Foundation for Women. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing the birth justice grantmaking strategy with the goal of increasing financial and capacity-building resources for grassroots, women-of-color-led organizations implementing birth justice strategies to address race-based disparities in birth experiences and outcomes. Her work is informed by her lived experience as a Black mother of three amazing children and as a birth worker who has experienced firsthand the systemic inequities in accessing reproductive care for herself and families she has supported.  She is passionate about ensuring that those most impacted by birth injustice are supported, well-resourced, and trusted to implement community-driven strategies and systems of care to advance Birth Justice and Equity. In addition to her work, she enjoys the Black arts and culture, gardening, spending time with her partner, friends, and children, and exploring ways to connect to ancestral spiritual practices, nature, and community to support healing justice and care.