Michael Adams is the Chief Executive Officer of SAGE – Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders. SAGE is the oldest and largest organization in the United States dedicated to transforming the LGBT aging experience. In partnership with SAGE affiliates countrywide, SAGE serves countless LGBT older people nationally via technical assistance, trainings and services as well as advocacy at every level of government. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services selected SAGE to establish and run the country’s first and only National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.Michael, a graduate of Stanford Law School and Harvard College, previously was the Director of Education and Public Affairs for Lambda Legal. Prior to that, he was Associate Director of the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. He has served on advisory councils for AARP, the American Society on Aging, and the New York City Department for the Aging among others.
Executive Director, GRIOT Circle
José Albino is the Executive Director of GRIOT Circle. José has been working in the aging field for over twenty years and has been responsible for guiding a diverse number of departments within the aging field including, meals on wheels, senior centers, case management, health wellness, supportive housing and mental health programs. He is intentional about working with and for disenfranchised and marginalized seniors such as immigrants, people of color, those living in poverty and the LGBTQ community.José has a bachelor’s in Psychology from the University at Albany, a Master’s in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University, an Advanced Certificate in Executive Leadership and Non Profit Management from New York University and received his Certification as a Professional Life Coach from The Institute from Professional Excellence in Coaching.
Deputy Director, Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation
Alexis Anderson-Reed is the Deputy Director at the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation. She leads FCCP’s efforts to deliver top-notch programming to help our members be more effective with their grantmaking. Her work superpower is “Empathy and Connection”– she wants to understand our members’ thoughts and feelings and create spaces to build a stronger community for our members. Prior to joining FCCP in 2016 Alexis served as the Senior Director of Programs for the State Voices network and led efforts to support and expand the work of state-based nonpartisan organizations in civic engagement, civic access and civic representation. Alexis brings a deep background in community organizing and over ten years of experience in convening and facilitation of coalitions, public policy, administrative management, issue organizing and strategic planning. She has developed and implemented workshops and curriculum on topics including racial equity, power and privilege, and non-profit management, and has helped create strategic plans and sustainability frameworks for new and established organizations. Previously, Alexis served as Director of Youth Reclaiming Our Communities and as Executive Director of Wisconsin Voices, where she founded the Our Democracy 2020 Table, which works to expand voting rights and strengthen democracy in the state. Because of her work, recent attacks on Election Day Voter Registration were stopped. When not at work, Alexis can be found cheering on the Green Bay Packers and trying out new recipes for family and friends.
Program Officer, The Cleveland Foundation
Kristi reviews grant proposals and provides support to a wide variety of nonprofits. A licensed independent social worker supervisor, she previously worked with Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Office of Family and Community Engagement and served multiple roles at Goodrich-Gannett Neighborhood Center in Cleveland, including Associate Director. Since joining the Foundation in 2012, Kristi has worked closely with the Greater Cleveland LGBTQ community to mobilize resources and now serves as an Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassador. In 2016, she co-led the Out in Ohio LGBTQ Funders’Immersion Trip, bringing local and national funders together for a deep-dive into Cleveland’s LGBTQ community.Kristi holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, a master’s degree in social administration, is a current urban policy doctoral student, and serves on several statewide policy and equity philanthropy committees. Kristi’s work on equity issues has been recognized with awards fromPhilanthropy Ohio and the Human Rights Campaign.
Marco Antonio Quiroga
Director, Contigo Fund
Marco has a long history as an advocate for the LGBTQ, immigrant, and racial justice movements. He is the director for the Contigo Fund, founded in the aftermath of the Pulse massacre as a community-driven participatory grantmaking model to support the recovery efforts and healing of those impacted and building power for historically marginalized LGBTQ communities of color in Orlando and across Central Florida. He has also worked with United We Dream, the American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO, as National Field Officer at Immigration Equality, and Public Policy Director at True Colors Fund. His commitment is a direct result of his own life experiences as an undocumented and queer person of color, including family separation through deportation, poverty, unstable housing and homelessness.
Co-founder, Trans Queer Pueblo
Dagoberto Bailon, is a social justice activist and the co-founder of Trans Queer Pueblo “TQP”. Bailon uses art and culture as the primary vehicles for community building and facilitating social change for transgender and queer migrants of color in Phoenix. He began organizing in 2006 to stop Proposition 300 from barring undocumented students access to in-state tuition. His activism grew from there to include speaking, performing and grass roots fundraising to promote justice, and increase awareness of LGBTQ, transgender, and undocumented communities. Bailon is committed to creating safe spaces for us to examine the complex legal and social issues these communities face as they search for identity and home. TQP’s work includes programs on health justice, family acceptance, community defense, and economic justice.
Director of Programs, Gill Foundation
As director of programs, Brandie Balken manages the Gill Foundation’s team of program officers, ensuring efficient and effective grant-making across all priorities.Previously, Brandie served as a senior program officer, responsible for the management of the national equal treatment and Florida portfolios. Brandie served as the executive director of Equality Utah prior to joining the Gill Foundation team. During her 5 year tenure at the state’s largest LGBT advocacy and policy organization, Equality Utah was able to successfully implement more than 35 individual pieces of LGBT-affirmative policy. Originally from rural Utah, Brandie graduated cum laude from Weber State University. Post graduation, she travelled throughout the West, working for environmental justice and indigenous people’s rights before coming out and returning to Utah to serve the LGBT community.
Executive Director, Campaign for Southern Equality
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is the Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) and a minister in the United Church of Christ. She has been active in the LGBTQ movement since 2004 and founded CSE in 2011. CSE’s work includes the Southern Equality Fund, which provides funding and leadership training to LGBTQ grassroots organizers across the South; the Southern LGBTQ Health Initiative which works to increase access to LGBTQ-friendly primary and HIV care at Southern community health centers; and organizing and litigation to challenge anti-LGBTQ laws in the South. Jasmine was named a 2015 “Faith Leader to Watch” by the Center for American Progress; she has written widely about LGBTQ issues in the South, and is the author of a short story collection, DAMN LOVE. Jasmine is also a County Commissioner in Buncombe County, NC. She grew up in North Carolina and lives with her family in Asheville, NC.
Black-Led Movement Fund at Borealis Philanthropy
Julia Beatty joins the Black-Led Movement Fund at Borealis Philanthropy with an extensive background in community organizing, racial justice advocacy, donor organizing and intermediary philanthropy. She formerly served as the Director of Programs for the Twenty-First Century Foundation, which was a 40-year old Black-led intermediary philanthropy that provided multi-year, general support to grassroots organizations based in Black communities and led by Black people. Julia has most recently worked with national policy organizations to build the organizational and leadership capacity necessary to create and sustain community change. She is the former Director of Grants Development, Evaluation and Communication for the W. Haywood Burns Institute, a national training intermediary that aims to eliminate structural racism within juvenile justice systems. She has also worked with the Center for Social Inclusion to deepen the structural racism analysis of leaders in advocacy organizations and assist them in crafting racially equitable policy strategies on infrastructure issues critical to communities of color. As a funder, Julia’s work after Hurricane Katrina resulted in $4 million in new grants and organizational development resources to local Black-led organizations engaged in racially equitable community transformation efforts in the Gulf Coast. Julia holds a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Masters of Public Administration from New York University. She lives in Harlem, NYC with her wife and two Jack Russell Terriers.
Executive Director, GLSEN
Eliza Byard is the Executive Director of GLSEN, an organization recognized worldwide as an innovative leader in the fight for equity for LGBTQ students and respect for all in K-12 education. She joined GLSEN as Deputy Executive Director in 2001, and has led the growth of GLSEN’s public education and advocacy efforts; youth leadership development programs; professional development training for educators; research and program evaluation capacity; and in-school programming. GLSEN’s initiatives have won measurable improvements in the lives of LGBTQ students across the U.S. and widespread acceptance of the urgency and importance of LGBT issues in education. Byard holds a PhD in US History from Columbia University. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the America’s Promise Alliance and the Board of Directors of the Gill Foundation.
Co-founder, The Knights & Orchids Society Inc
Quentin “Que” Bell is a 30-year-old Black Trans activist, entrepreneur, and mentor born and raised in historic Selma, Alabama. Que received his Bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University in Business Administration and graduated from the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute in 2015. While at ASU Que co-founded The Knights & Orchids Society Inc, a southern centered direct support non-profit organization led by black, queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming people fighting at the intersections of racial and gender justice. Since 2012 Quentin’s goal remains unchanged, to improve the quality of life within the LGBTQ+ community by creating safe spaces that empower, educate, and unite Trans, GNC, & Queer role models of color. Que has dedicated his adult life to actively serving in leadership positions to help advance the fight for LGBTQ equality and inclusion while increasing visibility for Trans men of color. He is a 2016 Transgender Justice Funding Project grantee (TJFP), a 2017 Transgender Law Center National Training Institute for TGNC Leaders member, Gates Millennial Scholar Alumnae, and most recently Quentin was a panelist for TJFP ‘s first million dollar grant making campaign.
Sam Blackwell has been working and volunteering for non-profits and in politics for more than 10 years. Originally from a small town in Wisconsin, Sam has called Minneapolis home since 2006. At Greater Twin Cities United Way, Sam oversees the organization’s funding and partnerships in housing and homelessness. This includes the Arise Project, a pool of funding that supports intentional programing for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and represents the largest investment in LGBTQ issues in the state of Minnesota. Sam got his start in direct service work and tries to keep that experience at the center of his work in philanthropy. He is passionate about racial equity and LGBTQ issues, and is working in partnership with other foundations to move the sector forward. Outside of work, Sam is an avid baker and a semi-committed runner, and will happily talk about Star Trek to anyone who will listen.
Director of Strategic Priorities, Pride Foundation
Katie Carter has been working for social justice as a nonprofit professional for the past 10 years, with a particular focus on LGBTQ and gender 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, communications, and strategy. In her role as Director of Strategic Priorities at Pride Foundation, Katie supports the foundation’s efforts by building community and institutional partnerships, developing creative communications strategies, and mobilizing resources to affect change in the Northwest. Before joining Pride Foundation, Katie was the Development Director at Oregon Tradeswomen. Prior to that, she was the Program Director at In Other Words Feminist Community Center. Katie earned a Master of Arts in Philosophy of Science from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Philosophy from DePaul University. In addition to her professional work, Katie volunteers for a restorative justice organization, facilitating a gender and sexuality seminar for people who are incarcerated.
President & CEO, Gill Foundation
Brad Clark is the President & CEO at the Gill Foundation. He joined the foundation in 2015 as the vice president of partnerships and moved into the role of President & CEO in January 2018. In this role, Brad leads the foundation in executing the vision of Tim Gill and the board through prioritizing, implementing, and measuring the work and grant-making of the foundation.Brad began his career in Iowa. His previous experience was as campaign director of One Iowa where he built a coalition of nearly 100 allied organizations representing more than 200,000 Iowans and built a grassroots infrastructure of more than 12,500 members and 33,000 identified supporters. As well as leading One Iowa’s successful marriage equality campaign, Brad’s accomplishments include a successful safe schools campaign. As the executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, he led a coalition of education, civil rights, labor, faith, and business leaders to help pass a comprehensive safe schools law and civil rights law to protect LGBT Iowans from discrimination.
Karina Claudio Betancourt
Program Officer, Open Society Foundations
Karina is a Program Officer with the Open Society Foundations and works with the Open Places Initiative, a placed-based initiative in three sites: Buffalo, Puerto Rico, and San Diego. She is a skilled community organizer with several years of management, advocacy, policy analysis, fundraising and grant writing experience. She has particular experience working/organizing to empower low wage workers, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and individuals living in the intersection of these identities.Karina most recently hails from the New York City Council, where she served as the Senior Director of the Community Engagement Division in the Office of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. In this capacity, she directed the implementation of a citywide Participatory Budgeting project, as well as the implementation of several pro-LGBTQ rights policies.Karina grew up in Puerto Rico, where she attended the University of Puerto Rico, graduating with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. She moved to NYC in 2007, where she attended New York University and received a M.A. in Performance Studies.
Tori Cooper is an HIV Health Educator at Positive Health Impact Centers in metro Atlanta. Ms. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services and will soon complete her Masters of Arts in Public Health. She has over 25 years of experience in the HIV field beginning as a volunteer during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Ms. Cooper is the first transgender woman certified by the CDC as Lead Facilitator of the WILLOW intervention. She adapted the program curriculum in 2015 making it Transgender specific and culturally appropriate. Ms. Cooper serves on the Jurisdictional Prevention and Planning Group (JPPG) for the Atlanta EMA. She is also actively involved with the Georgia CAPUS anti-stigma campaign, the Clayton County HIV Consortium, Positive Peers of Georgia, the Atlanta Area Outreach Initiative (AAOI), the HVTN AMP Study and she travels extensively speaking across the country on cultural diversity, transgender issues and HIV. Ms. Cooper also serves as a board member of Project AFFIRM. She spends her time working on other community based projects that are focused on the transgender and HIV communities. In February 2016, she was the first transgender woman awarded the Kenneth Robinson Award by AAOI for her volunteer work. In 2016, Ms. Cooper was honored as the very first transgender woman honored as an official AIDSWalk Atlanta Ambassador. Additionally, in 2016, she was awarded the Lisa Newson Award for Community Activism. She is the creator and group leader of the Hour of Power (HoP), an empowerment group for transgender, gender nonconforming and allies. Ms. Cooper believes that empowerment, education and opportunity are three important factors in success. She is driven to empower the transgender and PWA communities by providing invaluable education and greater opportunities to live better lives.
Flozell Daniels, Jr.
CEO & President, Foundation for Louisiana
Flozell Daniels, Jr., CEO & President of Foundation for Louisiana (formerly the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation), is a public policy and community engagement strategist with expertise in community development, resilience building, legislative strategy and leadership development. With a focus on building successful coalitions that increase success in expanding economic opportunity for all, Flozell is accomplished in expanding capacity and outcomes in areas that include community development finance, criminal justice reform, coastal/environmental policy, transit equity and asset development. Flozell has led more than $50 million of award-winning community investment strategies while at the Foundation. Prior to his appointment at the Foundation, Flozell served as Tulane University’s Assistant Vice-President & Executive Director of State and Local Affairs for nine years. Before that, he cut his public policy and community engagement teeth as an Urban Policy Specialist & Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Mayor, Division of Federal and State Programs for the City of New Orleans. In his civic capacity, Flozell currently serves as Ex-officio & Policy Committee Chair of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Board of Directors, where he was honored with the first-ever Distinguished Service Award for board leadership after serving five years as the post-Katrina Chair leading critical recovery efforts. Flozell is also a founding member and Board Chairman of the Orleans Public Education Network; a Mayoral-appointed commissioner for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority; the Supreme Court Chief Justice appointee to the Louisiana Public Defender Board; a founding member of the Greater New Orleans Funders Network; steering committee member of the first of its kind New Orleans White House Local Resource Network; an advisory member of the ResilienceNOLA/100 Resilient Cities Initiative; and, has served as a commissioner of the Mayor’s Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform in New Orleans that led to historic reductions in jail size. Flozell is a 2013 graduate of University of Oxford Said Business School’s Impact Investing Programme, 2011 Fellow of the Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute, a life Fellow of the Louisiana Effective Leadership Program, an alumnus of Leadership Louisiana and a graduate of the Metropolitan Leadership Forum. Flozell has an MBA from the A.B. Freeman School of Tulane University, a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans, and spent six years doing materials research for the USDA. A New Orleans native who was raised in the Freret neighborhood, Flozell has a daughter, and spends free time enjoying second lines, festivals and other celebrations of Louisiana’s amazing culture.
Ryan Li Dahlstrom
Program Officer, Fund for Trans Generations at Borealis Philanthropy
Ryan Li Dahlstrom has worked at the intersections of LGBTQ, youth, anti-violence, and racial justice movements for over 15 years. After many years of fundraising, programmatic and leadership development for a variety of local and national social justice organizations, including the Movement Building Director of GIFT (Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training) in Oakland, CA and Executive Director of TYSN (Trans Youth Support Network) in Minneapolis, MN, he’s now working with Borealis Philanthropy as a Program Officer for the Fund for Trans Generations. Prior to joining the Borealis team, he worked as a Consultant with the Funders for LGBTQ Issues to develop philanthropic strategies for increasing resources to trans communities and movements. Ryan Li serves as the Vice-Chair of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, doing Crossfit, being an Uncle, and spending time near the ocean.
Masen Davis is the Chief Executive Officer at Freedom for All Americans. Prior to joining FFAA, Masen was Senior Director of Special Projects at the Gill Foundation, where he worked to strengthen and diversify funding efforts that would advance equal treatment and opportunities for transgender Americans. Masen served as the Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center (TLC) for nearly a decade, and under his leadership TLC became the nation’s largest transgender advocacy organization. He also has served as co-director at Global Action for Trans* Equality. Masen also worked as a Community Investment Officer, later Development Director, for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.Masen received his Masters of Social Welfare from UCLA, and Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University.
Director of Programs, Urgent Action Fund
Shalini Eddens joined Urgent Action Fund as the Director of Programs in the fall of 2015. She brings to her work a passion for women’s health and rights grounded in her deep belief for justice and equity. Shalini has over 15 years of leadership experience in the grassroots public health sector providing direct services, training, education and advocacy for women living with and affected by HIV within the United States andabroad. Shalini also has expertise in facilitation/training and capacity building, program development and design. An Oakland native, Shalini currently resides in the Republic of Brooklyn.
James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. James oversees litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education around the country that aims to ensure equal treatment of LGBT people and people living with HIV. James was counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won the freedom to marry nationwide. Previously, he represented Edie Windsor in the United States v. Windsor DOMA challenge; was counsel in Schroer v. Billington, where a federal court ruled that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination covers transgender people; and was counsel in successful challenges to bans on adoption and foster parenting by lesbians and gay men in Florida, Arkansas, and Missouri. He has also worked extensively to ensure that claims of religious liberty are not used as an excuse to harm others, including LGBT people. He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School and he clerked for U.S. Circuit Judge James R. Browning on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York.
Aesha Fadeelah Rasheed
Queer Muslims in New Orleans, Co-Founder
Aesha Fadeelah Rasheed is a healer, ritual worker, organizer and hard femme born in Oklahoma and based in New Orleans. Over the years she has launched and led numerous community support projects including publishing the New Orleans Parents’ Guide to Public Schools for 10 years and other efforts to support families and children in New Orleans; creating spaces to celebrate QTIPOC folks such as Black Brown Queer (BBQ NOLA): a meet up for queer people of color and Queer Cartography, a history-telling poster project that centers untold stories of queer and trans folks of color; and, most recently, co-founding QISM, a collective of Queer Muslims in New Orleans. Throughout her liberation work Aesha has woven healing practices as a body worker and caster of ritual spaces in support of collective healing and liberation especially as a member of the SoulShifting community of healers working for global transformation. Aesha also serves on the board of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) – a Southern regional movement organization focused on radical progressive organizing for collective liberation. A writer and recovering journalist, Aesha moved to Louisiana in 2000 to work as an education reporter.
Project Director, Out In The South Initiative
Chantelle joins Funders for LGBTQ Issues after almost two decades working in the nonprofit sector. Her professional career began in the public health field with a focus on community development and LGBTQ youth. She has worked to address issues of affordable housing and homelessness through transforming community based services to better meet the needs of families living in poverty. Most recently, she has been working in the philanthropic sector as a consultant supporting funders concerned about issues of poverty and economic justice. Chantelle has a proven track record of working with groups tackling tough issues such as poverty, homelessness and religious based bigotry in the South.Chantelle is inspired by the legacy of resilience and resistance found in communities throughout the South. In recent years, she and her wife were the lead plaintiffs for North Carolina’s lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on adoption and marriage rights for same sex couples. Years ago, she helped build the first statewide network of LGBTQ affirming faith leaders in North Carolina and worked with nonprofit organizations to build their capacity to address issues of oppression with a focus on institutionalized racism.The descendent of Catholic Cajuns, Chantelle spent the first 25 years of her life in southern Louisiana and has lived in North Carolina for the past 15 years. She and her wife, who is originally from Mississippi, are proud to call the South home. They have two kids that keep them happy and busy on most days. In her spare time, Chantelle likes to go for a run and cook food with friends.
Rebecca Fox works as a Senior Program Officer at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. In this position, she focuses on advancing LGBT issues. Prior to coming to Wellspring, she was Executive Director of the National Coalition for LGBT Health, leading organizations nationwide to work together to improve the lives and health of LGBT people through advocacy, outreach, and education. She was also an adjunct professor at George Washington University. Rebecca serves on the board of directors of Funders for LGBTQ Issues.
Ben Francisco Maulbeck
President, Funders for LGBTQ issues
Ben Francisco Maulbeck has more than a decade of experience as a leader for LGBT rights, racial equity and social change. He has an exceptional track record of building the capacity of nonprofit organizations and leaders, raising money for underserved communities and developing and implementing innovative grantmaking initiatives. From 2007 through 2012, Maulbeck worked at Hispanics in Philanthropy (ȊHIPȋ) in positions of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as Vice President. During his time at HIP, he played a leadership role in launching several new programs and initiatives, including a national Latino aging initiative and a funding collaborative to strengthen education nonprofits in Puerto Rico. He also oversaw the continued success of the Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities, a multimillion-dollar initiative to build the capacity of Latino-led nonprofits, and spearheaded a roundtable of more than 50 philanthropic leaders on LGBT Latino movement-building. Prior to his service at HIP, Maulbeck served as the director of programs for the William Way LGBT Community Center and as a program associate at The Philadelphia Foundation. He also has significant experience providing independent consulting services to nonprofits and funders, specializing in grantmaking, fundraising, and organizational development. His consulting clients have included Philanthropy New York, the Attic LGBTQ Youth Center, Spiral Q Puppet Theater, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Genocide Intervention Network. Maulbeck earned a bachelor of arts at Swarthmore College and a master of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where his areas of study included participatory leadership, social marketing, and international political economy. In 2004 he organized and co-chaired the Harvard University LGBT policy and law conference, with the theme ȊGay Rights as Human Rights,ȋ exploring LGBT rights globally. His volunteer service has included the leadership of the boards of the Gay & Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (ȊGALAEIȋ) and the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (ȊCHAMPȋ), steering both organizations through periods of executive transition. In his spare time, Maulbeck writes fiction under the name Ben Francisco, with stories published in Best Gay Stories 2012, Realms of Fantasy and From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction.
Program Director, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
Lavastian Glenn directs the Program Team and the Foundation’s efforts in mission investing, including program-related investments. Lavastian also is responsible for strategic grantmaking, relationship and network development in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. She supports grantee partners engaged in asset development, community economic development and public policy/systems reform. Prior to joining the foundation in 2007, Lavastian served as Executive Director of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN), a grassroots support organization in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During her tenure, Lavastian expanded NBN’s program activities beyond neighborhood grantmaking to include grassroots organizing, leadership development through the Neighborhood Institute for Community Leadership, technical assistance/project development support, and simultaneous English/Spanish language translation. Lavastian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Wake Forest University and has participated in a number of local, regional and national trainings, including Neighbor Works, the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Crossroads’ Dismantling Racism, the North Carolina People’s Coalition on Giving, Southeastern Council of Foundations Hull Fellowship (2007) and the ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellowship (2012). Lavastian serves on the steering committee of Grantmakers for Southern Progress, a working group of the Neighborhood Funders Group that advocates for increased investments in the South for structural change and equitable outcomes for low-wealth communities.
Storme Gray is Director of Programs at Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, where she leads EPIP’s professional and leadership development portfolio.Prior to joining EPIP, Storme was a Program Officer at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, where she developed programs serving young women and girls of color. Chief among these was the foundation’s Young Women’s Initiative, a city-wide effort to improve educational, economic, and life outcomes for cis and trans young women, girls, and gender nonconforming youth of color.Storme possesses a wealth of knowledge gained from over ten years of philanthropic and nonprofit experience. She’s worked for family foundations, operating foundations, and national infrastructure organizations such as the Council on Foundations.In both her professional and personal life, Storme remains committed to advancing equity. In her spare time, she serves on the board of Women of the Dream, a non-profit organization in Camden, NJ that educates and empowers socially and economically disadvantaged girls.
CEO, Nonprofit & Consumer Services Network (NPCSN)
Sharyn Grayson is a noted public speaker, trainer/facilitator, nonprofit business specialist, grant writer, former educator, Transgender advocate and a highly respected ‘elder’ leader among the national LGBTQI neighborhood and healthcare community sectors. Her many professional business affiliations are extended across the U.S. She has received numerous awards and special commendations for her pioneering achievements in HIV/AIDS services and social justice endeavors – specifically focusing on inclusion and equity for Transgender women and men. Sharyn is also part of a small, but growing, list of minority Transgender women who own and operate businesses across the country. Since its founding in 1985, she has been CEO and Senior Consultant of the Nonprofit & Consumer Services Network (NPCSN). Sharyn is a native of Dallas, Texas and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Management at Southwest Texas State University. After many years residency in California, she now resides in Little Rock.
Associate Director of Programs and Planning, Foundation for Louisiana
Tanya Gulliver-Garcia is the Associate Director of Programs and Planning. Her position includes helping FFL strengthen its capacity to manage various programmatic initiatives while also building an effective evaluation practice. Her projects include the Equitable Disaster Resilience portfolio, the Louisiana LGBTQ Fund, the Cultural Innovation District, work in the Delta Region of New Orleans and a project with the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council. Tanya has lived and worked for most of her life in and around Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her most recent work there included serving as the research coordinator for the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub (COH) based at York University. After graduating university in 1991, Tanya made a commitment to only work in social justice-related work and has focused on poverty, homelessness, LGBTQ rights, community development and marginalization of vulnerable communities. She is on the board of the New Orleans LGBT Community Center and is an active volunteer with the American Red Cross serving as a lead responder for local disasters and liaison to the state Emergency Operations Center.
Co-Director of Project South,
Stephanie Guilloud is the co-director of Project South, and is originally from Houston, Texas with roots in Alabama. Stephanie is an organizer with 17 years of experience and leadership in global justice work and community organizing. At Project South, Stephanie works closely with Southeast regional organizing projects, the Southern Movement Assembly, and membership programs. Stephanie worked as the National Co-Chair of the Peoples Movement Assembly Working Group of the US Social Forum from 2008-2013. She served on the board of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), a multiracial queer organization, from 2005-2014. Stephanie is the editor of two anthologies: Through the Eyes of the Judged; Autobiographical Sketches from Incarcerated Young Men and Voices from the WTO; First-person Narratives from the People who Shut Down the World Trade Organization.
Associate Director for Equity Partnerships, FSG
Efrain brings experience and knowledge from work and research in evaluation, learning, strategic planning, and social justice. At FSG, Efrain has participated in strategy, evaluation and community development projects with a variety of national and regional foundations and nonprofits including the Lumina Foundation, Excelencia in Education, The Gates Foundation, The California Endowment, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Efrain has helped social sector organizations design strategy and evaluation frameworks and has evaluated programs in education, boys and men of color, health, environment, economic development, among other areas. As part of his Equity Partnerships role, Efrain works to develop partnerships in the equity field that can help FSG learn and embed equity into FSG’s strategy and evaluation work. Additionally, he develops conference sessions, blog posts, and webinars that increase the field’s cultural competency when working with the Latino, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ communities. Prior to joining FSG, Efrain conducted field research and evaluation in Central America for the Seattle International Foundation. Efrain also worked for the Department of State, where he implemented a performance measurement system for the visa section of the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico. Efrain holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Management from the Universidad Panamericana in Guadalajara Mexico.
Priscilla A. Hale
Priscilla A. Hale, MSW is currently the Director of allgo and has been with the organization since 1998. She has extensive experience in the areas of community organizing, production of cultural work, nonprofit administration, program development, and implementation. She is an East Austin, Texas native who identifies as a Black Lesbian, partner, mother, daughter, sister and grannie Cilla. She earned her Masters of Social Work Degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX, and her Bachelor’s Degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.
Founding Member, BreakOUT!
Kenisha Harris (She/Her/Hers), is a 30 year old, Black Trans Woman, and born and raised New Orlenian. Kenisha is one of the founding members of BreakOUT! , and has over 12 years of community organizing experience in HIV and AIDS awareness, the criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color, and other social justice issues. Kenisha is also a huge sports and wrestling fan!
Executive Director, Women With A Vision (WWAV)
Deon Haywood is a southern black queer woman, an activist warrior, a mother and grandmother, and a breast cancer survivor. As the Executive Director of Women With A Vision (WWAV) in New Orleans, she led the organization after Hurricane Katrina in successfully striking down a “crime against nature” statute being used to criminalize street-based sex work, thereby securing the removal of more than 800 people from the Louisiana sex offender registry. Haywood has served as a representative from the U.S. South to the Front Line Defenders Dublin Platform and has testified in front of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law. In recognition of her more than two decades of leadership at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice, and anti-criminalization, she has been honored with numerous awards by groups across the United States, including the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and SisterSong.
Program Officer - US Southeast, Foundation for a Just Society
Paulina Helm-Hernández is the Program Officer for the US Southeast at the Foundation for a Just Society. Paulina is a queer artist, trainer, political organizer, and strategist from Veracrúz, Mexico, who has made the US South her home for more than two decades. Paulina was the co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) for eleven years. SONG is a social justice, advocacy and capacity building organization serving and supporting LGBTQ people—poor and working class, immigrant, people of color, rural—in the US South to take their rightful place as leaders shaping the region’s legacy and future. Paulina has a background in farmworker and immigrant/refugee rights organizing, anti-violence work, and gender and sexual liberation work that centers people most affected by poverty, war, and racism. Paulina is always exploring ways to deepen political unity with people and institutions willing to demand and organize for collective liberation, and is a superfan of magical realism and science fiction.
Chief Executive Officer, Pride Foundation
Kris Hermanns has been working for more than 25 years as a policy and program strategist, fundraiser, and nonprofit executive. In her work with Pride Foundation, she has found a calling that bridges two of her passions, advocating for equity and social justice and the field of philanthropy. As the CEO of Pride Foundation, Kris mobilizes individual and institutional resources to affect real change in the lives of people who are most impacted by injustices. Before joining Pride Foundation, Kris was the Deputy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Prior to that, she was with The Rhode Island Foundation, and also worked for Brown University’s Center for Public Service. She earned an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University and a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kris is also a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.
Cristina HerreraFounding Member, Translatina Network
Cristina Herrera identifies as a Translatina who immigrated from El Salvador back in the 1980s. She has been residing in NYC since the mid ‘80’s. She relocated to New York to find herself and to begin her gender transition. Over the years, she has been able to complete her college education by attending CUNY’s Queens College, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Over the years Cristina has witnessed many good things that the transgender community has accomplished. Unfortunately, she has also seen how her community has been targeted, discriminated against, and abused. Over the years she witnessed firsthand how, for many in her community, opportunities don’t come very easily. So back in 2007, she convened a group of friends and decided to establish the Translatina Network. Translatina Network’s purpose is to organize and empower the transgender immigrant community through leadership development and education. Translatina Network is made up of trans individuals working locally and nationally to promote the healthy development of transgender Latina communities. Through the delivery of a wide range of information about services and events, educational outreach, and capacity building resources, Translatina Network supports individuals in maintaining personal wellness and developing leadership skills. This work also allows for the creation of safe and productive spaces for transgender women, free of transphobia and discrimination. Translatina Network addresses the collective concerns of Latina transgender women, including the recognition of their rights, giving a voice to the voiceless, and advocating for change by promoting a direct connection to policy makers.
Mary Hooks is a Co-Director at Southerners On New Ground (SONG), and joined the SONG team as a field organizer for the state of Alabama in March 2011. Her passion for helping people is reflected in her years of community service and mentoring. Mary’s background is in Human Resources and holds a Master of Business Administration with a focus in Human Resources Management and recently obtained her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. Though Mary is new to organizing, her personal story has prepared her for such a time as this. The chapters of her life begin with a life of poverty, being parentless, and shy. Eventually the story unfolds of a rebellious teenager who converts to a devoted Christian in Pentecostal church, who comes out as a lesbian and left without the support of her foster or church family and stricken with tons of Christian guilt. The climax of this story occurs when, in undergrad at a private Lutheran college, Mary begins to redefine her self and discovered a radical desire to be a catalyst for change in the world. Since then Mary has relocated to the hot shades of Atlanta, GA, and has found her niche in organizing with SONG, throwing dope parties and singing with the Juicebox Jubilees, a queer choir, created to provide a safe space for folks to gather their voices together, sip a little wine, and sing songs that uplift, inspire, and liberate. As she continues to navigate through movement work, she hopes that the folks she connects with are inspired to write their stories of self-determination, liberation, and love.
Shin Inouye is the Director of Communications and Media Relations at The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. In that capacity, he is responsible for directing and implementing the organizations’ communications strategy. Inouye served for eight years as an appointee in the Obama Administration. From October 2014 to January 2017, he was Press Secretary and Acting Senior Advisor at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. From February 2009 to October 2014, Inouye was the Director of Specialty Media in the White House Office of Communications. Previously, Inouye was a spokesperson for the Obama-Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee, and for the 2008 Obama for America campaign. Prior to the campaign, Inouye was the Communications Director for Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-8), and was the Senior Legislative Communications Associate at the Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union. He graduated with departmental honors from the Johns Hopkins University, with a degree in political science.
Senior Program Officer, The Simmons Foundation
Kelli is a Senior Program officer with The Simmons Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2012 after more than 15 years engaged in nonprofit advocacy work around issues such as access to health care, community engagement, and youth/young adult leadership.Since joining The Foundation, Kelli has worked extensively on youth, homelessness and LGBTQ issues. In addition to her grantmaking work, Kelli serves on the steering committees for the Houston Continuum of Care and A Way Home America. Kelli also serves on the Out in the South Fund steering committee, a pooled fund focused on LGBTQ issues across the South. In addition to work with the grant portfolio, Kelli has primary responsibility for the Foundation’s communications including website, grants database, annual report and social media engagement. Kelli is a graduate of New York University with a B.A. in Sociology. Kelli is an alumna of Leadership Houston and the ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program. Kelli is a social media aficionado who enjoys reading, politics and spending time with family and friends.
Sandy James is the former Research Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality and the lead author of The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. In his role as NCTE’s Research Director, he led a research team in the development, fielding, analysis, and presentation of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. After spending a decade as a forensic toxicologist, Sandy launched a new career as a civil rights advocate focused on laws and policies that affect trans people. He has worked on numerous projects involving trans-related legislation, policy, and research, including extensive work with data from the 2008–09 National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Sandy has been published in The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law and the LGBTQ Policy Journal at the Harvard Kennedy School. Sandy received a J.D and M.A in American Government from Georgetown University, where he is also currently pursuing his Ph.D.
Program Director, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
Alli Jernow is the Program Director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Program at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. She oversees domestic and international grantmaking in support of LGBTQ human rights, with a focus on intersectionality and movement-building. Prior to joining Wellspring, she ran the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Program at the International Commission of Jurists, where she led on interventions in the landmark cases of Atala v. Chile and Fedotova v. Russia. She is the author of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Justice: A Comparative Law Casebook. In her earlier career as a civil rights prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, she investigated and prosecuted cases of police brutality, labor trafficking, and hate crimes. She has also worked for a variety of NGOs in the US, Europe and Africa.
David J. Johns
Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition
David J. Johns is known for his passion, public policy acumen and fierce advocacy for youth. He is an enthusiast about equity—leveraging his time, talent and treasures to address the needs of individuals and communities often neglected and ignored. A recognized thought leader and social justice champion, David’s career has focused on improving life outcomes and opportunities for Black people. Johns began his next life chapter in2017as the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)—a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission istoend racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ bias and stigma. In2013, Johns was appointed as the first executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Initiative by President Obama. David is currently pursuing his Ph.D. insociology and education policy at Columbia University. Hehas also served asan adjunct professor atAmerican University.
Program Officer, LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund
Shaena Johnson works as the Program Officer for the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 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!
Senior Manager, External Affairs at ViiV Healthcare
Amelia Korangy is a Senior Manager in External Affairs at ViiV Healthcare, where she leads the company’s community giving in the US and Positive Action Programs. Prior to joining ViiV Healthcare, Amelia worked as a Senior Consultant at TCC Group, where she partnered with foundations, companies, and nonprofits to design and implement a range of philanthropic, capacity building and corporate citizenship programs. At TCC Group, Amelia led multi-year capacity building initiatives and philanthropic portfolios in issue areas from the arts to youth homelessness alongside Target, the James Irvine Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other family foundations.Prior to joining TCC Group, Korangy worked to design a national grantmaking strategy to end child sexual abuse as part of a partnered initiative between the Ms. Foundation for Women and the NoVo Foundation. She’s a trained social worker, and has provided direct services to LGBTQ, HIV+, and homeless young people with organizations including the Hetrick-Martin Institute and Young Ladies of Tomorrow. Korangy began her career launching FAIR Girls, a nonprofit social enterprise that supports girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited with economic empowerment and art therapy programs. Amelia graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park as a CIVICUS Associate with a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics, and Rhetoric. She received a Master’s degree in Social Enterprise from Columbia University’s School of Social Work, where she focused on strategic philanthropy. Amelia serves on the Funders Concerned About AIDS Board of Directors.
President, Langer Research Associates
Gary Langer is founder and president of Langer Research Associates, a New York-based firm that designs, manages and analyzes research projects for media, foundation, association, academic and corporate clients. The company directs news polling for the ABC News television network, surveys consumer sentiment weekly for Bloomberg L.P. and conducts in-depth methodological reviews for academic- and foundation-based survey institutions. It specializes in research on public policy, politics, health care, education, consumer insights and international development, and, through its PARC subsidiary, provides a cloud-based knowledge management system for survey professionals and their clients. Langer is a board member of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, the world largest archive of public opinion surveys, and former president of the New York chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. A former longtime director of polling at ABC, his work has been recognized with two news Emmy awards, 10 Emmy nominations, AAPOR’s 2010 Policy Impact Award and a 2015 David R. Ogilvy Award for Excellence in Advertising Research.
Alex Lee joined Funders for LGBTQ Issues in 2017 as its inaugural Program Director for the Grantmakers United for Trans Communities program. An attorney, community organizer and filmmaker, Alex is the founding Executive Director of the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a community-based legal services and policy organization based in San Francisco that works to end the abuse of transgender people in prison. Prior to joining Funders, Alex was a public interest career counselor for law students at UC Berkeley School of Law. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Astraea Foundation and as a grantmaking panel member for the Saguaro Fund of the Funding Exchange. He is currently a Board member for Borealis Philanthropy. As a filmmaker, Alex co-founded the all-queer and trans filmmakers of color production collective Light Show Pictures in 2014. Alex seeks to use mass media to further his activism by sparking conversations with the larger public on complex issues such as alternatives to the prison industrial complex and a world without borders. Alex is a former Soros Justice Fellow and received his JD from UC Berkeley School of Law.
Kennedy “Kent” LoftinChief Development Officer, The Montrose Center
Kennedy “Kent” Loftin is a driven nonprofit development professional who was born in Houston and grew up in East Texas. He works as Chief Development Officer at the Montrose Center – the fifth largest LGBTQ community center in the country and where he is set to break ground on the first affordable and second largest, LGBTQ affirming senior housing center in the South. In response to Hurricane Harvey, Kennedy launched the LGBTQ Hurricane Harvey Relief fund which raised $1.25 million in four months to help LGBTQ and HIV+ Houstonians recover from the disaster. An appointee to Mayor Sylvestor Turner’s LGBT Advisory Board, he is also a sought-after development educator and leader in the industry, with guest teaching at Rice University, Glasscock School Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. He has also worked as the Executive Director of Best Buddies Texas, and as the Chief Development Officer for Interfaith Ministries in 2008.
David J. Malebranche
Associate Professor of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine
David J. Malebranche, MD, MPH, is a board certified Internal Medicine physician, researcher, and public health activist with expertise in HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and treatment, racial disparities research, and LGBT health. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine, has published over 50 articles in medical/public health journals, and is known as a dynamic speaker worldwide. In 2015, Dr. Malebranche authored a memoir about the lessons he learned from his father entitled Standing on His Shoulders, and can also be seen on the “Ask the HIV Doc” series on YouTube.
Director of Programs, Borealis Philanthropy.
Rickke Mananzala is the Director of Programs at Borealis Philanthropy. Prior to joining Borealis, he was an independent consultant for community-based organizations and philanthropic institutions focused on program strategy, capacity-building, and organizational development. Rickke previously served as the Executive Director of FIERCE, a grassroots organization for LGBTQ youth of color in New York City. Prior to FIERCE, Rickke was a Ford Foundation New Voices Fellow at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project where he worked to integrate legal services, litigation, policy advocacy, and organizing strategies by and for low-income transgender people in New York City. Rickke also serves on the board of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. He received his B.A. in political science from Columbia University and Master of Public Administration from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Jermerious Mariquez Buckley
Community advocate, Jackson, Mississippi
Jermerious Mariquez Buckley is a community advocate in Jackson, Mississippi. Jermerious was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi. He is the oldest of four boys, and was raised by his grandmother from the age of five until his adult years. He attended and graduated from Leflore County High School, where at an early age he was always told he have a gift for making the world a better place. Now in his adult life, Jermerious leans for and toward his rainbow family, which he cherishes. He is the proud mother of seven rainbow kids. He has gone on the record saying that his rainbow kids saved his life more than once, because they are his strength when he feels like giving up. Now that he is healthy mentally, as well as physically, he plans to take the world by storm. His passion and love for wanting to see a better world is something that he holds dear to his heart. Jermerious was recently featured in The New York Times Magazine’s “America’s Hidden HIV Epidemic” by Linda Villarosa. This is his first speaking engagement.
Organizing and Programs Director, The Reformation Project
Amelia Markham grew up in Destin, Florida, and is a graduate of Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C., where she earned her B.S. in intercultural studies and Bible. Although coming out prevented her from launching right into local church ministry, Amelia went on to work in international relief and LGBTQ advocacy as the director of outreach for the non-profit Planting Peace in Topeka, Kansas. There, she facilitated operations and programming for their most prominent project, the Equality House, which is better known as the little rainbow house directly across the street from America’s most notorious hate group, The Westboro Baptist Church. Amelia now resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where she spends most of her time building a grassroots network of LGBTQ Christians and allies while attempting to navigate what it means to be an LGBTQ person of faith with mixed-Asian American/Native Hawai’ian ancestry and a “for better or for worse” kind of love for the Southeast.
Program Officer, Borealis Philanthropy
Alejandra Martinez is a Program Officer at Borealis Philanthropy where she manages the Transforming Movements Fund, which supports LGBTQ young leaders working within and across movements for immigrant rights, reproductive justice, and police/criminal justice reform. She comes to Borealis with a background in philanthropy and grassroots community work, primarily in movements for racial and immigrant justice. Previously, she provided program and administrative support to the Four Freedoms Fund, an immigration reform funding collaborative housed at NEO Philanthropy. Alejandra also worked at Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA) in Rhode Island, teaching computer literacy, grant writing and building the membership base. In 2008, Alejandra received training from the Center for Third World Organizing and interned as a community organizer at the Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action in Oakland, California. She graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies.
Communications manager, Arcus Foundation
Andrea Marra is a communications manager at the Arcus Foundation. Prior to Arcus, she oversaw public relations at GLSEN, a national organization focused on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education; was co-director at Nodutdol for Korean Community Development; and served as a senior media strategist at GLAAD. Andrea currently serves on the board of directors for Freedom for All Americans and Just Detention International. She has previously served on the boards and advisory councils of Chinese for Affirmative Action, the Funding Exchange, Human Rights Campaign, and the National Center for Transgender Equality. Andrea has been honored by the White House and the City of New York for her contributions to the LGBTQ community, profiled in The Advocate’s “Forty Under 40,” and listed as one of The Huffington Post’s “Most Compelling LGBTQ People.” She is also a past recipient of the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, the National LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Award, NQAPIA Community Catalyst Award, and the Colin Higgins Foundation Courage Award.
Policy Director, National LGBTQ Task Force
Meghan Maury is Policy Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, and their work spans a broad range of issue areas, but focuses heavily on economic justice, criminal justice, and data collection. Meghan uses their personal and professional experience to inform their work, and is particularly focused on how economic systems and the criminal legal system impact people who live at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities. Through that frame, they have advocated to end the criminalization of homelessness, poverty, drug use, and HIV, and to provide services and supports for the communities most deeply impacted by these systems. Before entering the legal field Meghan lived and worked in a number of fields, spending time managing a restaurant, working at a factory, running a bookstore, trekking over 500 miles of the Appalachian trail, and volunteering in Guatemala, among many other things. Before joining the Task Force Meghan worked with a variety of policy advocacy and legal service organizations, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Citizens for Tax Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic.
Co-Executive Director, Arcus Foundation
Jason brings to the Arcus Foundation a deep engagement with progressive social movements, and extensive knowledge of the ways institutional philanthropy can best partner with, support, and advance these movements. Prior to joining Arcus, Jason worked for nine years at Philanthropy New York, the primary membership association for New York’s philanthropic sector. As Vice President of Member Services there, he conceived and implemented numerous platforms for philanthropic collaboration, learning, and collective action among the organization’s 285 member foundations. He also contributed key leadership in advancing Philanthropy New York’s role as a fulcrum for critical exchange between philanthropic and policymaking leaders. Earlier in his career, he served as the first Director of Alumni and Philanthropic Programs at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), where he built a robust international network of young professionals of color committed to giving back to their communities of origin. He completed his Ph.D. in African American and Early U.S. History at the University of Michigan, and his A.B. (Sociology) and B.S. (Urban Studies) degrees at Cornell University. He has taught at Swarthmore College, the University of Michigan, and Rutgers University.
Program Officer, Third Wave
Joy Messinger is a queer, disabled, femme organizer of spreadsheets, funding, and people to build sustainability, healing, wellness, and power for reproductive justice, queer and trans liberation, and disabled, migrant, and POC communities. As Third Wave’s Program Officer, she oversees the organization’s rapid response, multi-year general support, and capacity building grantmaking for youth-led gender justice activism, organizing, and healing justice. Before joining Third Wave, she spent more than a decade as a youth worker, sexuality educator, social worker, health researcher, and birth doula with reproductive justice, health, education, and social justice groups in the Northeast, South, and Midwest. She holds degrees in public health, community social work, and nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina and the University of Illinois at Chicago and when she’s not working, Joy spends time reading, cooking, gardening, and learning about herbal medicine.
President, Morten Group
Mary Morten is the President of Morten Group (MG), a national consulting firm established in November 2001 to focus on clients in the nonprofit, for-profit and foundation fields. Morten Group provides a customized approach to solve organizational and resource development challenges and to explore new opportunities. Highlights of recent and ongoing work include developing an organization wide racial equity integration process for Pride Foundation in the Pacific Northwest; facilitating a 30-million-dollar merger between two developmental disability organizations, Countryside Association and Little City Foundation; facilitating numerous strategic planning processes and conducting racial equity trainings on behalf of The Chicago Community Trust’s annual forum, On the Table. Previous positions include Associate Director, Interim Executive Director and Board President of Chicago Foundation for Women, the region’s largest women’s fund; and Interim Vice President of Development at Howard Brown Health Center.
Executive Director, Movement Advancement Project
Ineke Mushovic is the Executive Director of the Movement Advancement Project, where she directs MAP’s strategic analyses, LGBT movement analyses, and all inquiries into issues of LGBT movement communications. She is a former McKinsey & Company consultant with 20 years of strategy experience, including a successful stint as Vice President of Strategy for a dot-com start-up and as Chief Strategist for an advertising agency. Ineke’s nonprofit strategy work includes the YWCA, the United Way, and Impact on Education. She has consulted on LGBT issues since early 2005.
Rev. Mykal O’Neal Slack
Community Minister for Worship & Spiritual Care for Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism
The Rev. Mykal O’Neal Slack is ordained clergy with Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and founder and lead organizer of 4Lyfe Ministries, a collective of activist theologians, ministers, vocalists, preachers, prayer partners and teachers from all walks of faith and life. The primary focus of 4Lyfe Ministries is to provide healing work around issues of sexuality and gender identity/expression in communities of various faith traditions. As part of this ministry, he also serves as the Director of Spiritual Outreach for the Trans People of Color Coalition, the only national organization that seeks to promote the social and economic equality of all transgender and gender non-conforming people. In his spare time, he produces and performs in showcases that both raise awareness about the issues that most impact Trans people and generate much needed funds for folks seeking gender confirmation surgeries. Before settling in Boston, he completed his clergy candidacy and served as the Director of Worship and Congregational Care at Vision of Hope MCC in Mountville, PA and a Youth Minister and Staff Counselor at Sylvia’s Place, a shelter for homeless Queer-identified youth as part of his student ministry at MCC New York.
Cindy T. Rizzo
Senior Advisor, Evaluation & Strategy, Arcus Foundation
Cindy Rizzo is the Senior Advisor for Evaluation & Strategy at the Arcus Foundation. Her position focuses on evaluation of Arcus’ program strategies and initiatives with a priority on learning from and improving strategies and activities. Prior to joining Arcus in 2006, Cindy was Director of Grantmaking at the Boston Foundation with a grantmaking portfolio focused on health and human services, homelessness prevention, LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS. She also worked for more than six years at Boston’s Fenway Health Center. She currently serves as a member of the board of SAGE, the national organization that serves and advocates for the needs of LGBT elders, and as a member of the board of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Past board membership includes Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Funders Concerned About AIDS, Massachusetts Health Council, and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. Cindy holds a JD from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston and is a published author of fiction and essays.
Founder and Principal, Converge
Before launching Converge as a Founder and Principal, Takema Robinson was the Principal and Founder of Momentum for Progress, a movement support organization that worked with social justice-oriented foundations and corporations and their nonprofit partners committed to progressive systems change. Takema is a Senior Fellow at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, where she previously served as the Senior Program Associate for Education and Community Change at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Takema is also a Senior Fellow at the Community Democracy Workshop. Takema earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African American Studies from Howard University in Washington, DC and pursued post-graduate studies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. In 2004, Takema was awarded the Echoing Green Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs. She is the proud mama to two boys.
Valerie L. Rochester
Vice President for Program Strategy, AIDS United
Valerie L. Rochesteris a longtime public health professional, with more than 25 years of experience providing programmatic, administrative, and technical support services in the public health field. As Vice President for Program Strategy at AIDS United,she leads the organization’s strategic grant-making, and guides its programmatic responses to the HIV epidemic in communities most impacted. Prior to joining AIDS United, she was Director of Programs and Training with the Black Women’s Health Imperative where she focused on addressing gender and racially based health inequities impacting Black women. She has served on multiple consultation panels to address health disparities convened by the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC), the Office of Minority Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, Office on Women’s Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She has also served on the board of directors of numerous national and community-basedorganizations, including her current tenure as a board member of the National Minority AIDS Council.Because of her commitment to addressing health inequities in communities of color, Ms. Rochester received the Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Hero Award in 2002, presented to her by Congresswoman Donna Christensen.
Senior Program Officer, Gill Foundation
Sara Santos is a senior program officer with the Gill Foundation, responsible for leading the foundation’s state agency, litigation, civil rights, and disrupting discrimination efforts. Sara graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in International Studies and recently earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado. Shortly after graduating, Sara joined the Gill Foundation as an associate. In this role, she was responsible for the research efforts of the programs department. As a program officer, Sara has also worked on the faith, business, and allies portfolios. Originally from southern Brazil, Sara moved to the United States when she was ten years old. She lives in Denver with her husband, his dog, her cat, and their two children.
Community Outreach Manager, Foundation Center Midwest
Serving as a bridge between the nonprofit and philanthropic community, Brian conducts trainings and special programming to connect people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Brian developed and manages the popular series, Rising Tide, which highlights critical social issues and opportunities for philanthropy to accelerate social change. Following the wildly successful Rising Tide Lifts LGBTQ Issues, Brian quickly became known as a local resource in Ohio helping nonprofits and foundations to navigate the LGBTQ landscape, and now serves as an Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassador. In 2016, he co-led the Out in Ohio LGBTQ Funders’ Immersion Trip, bringing local and national funders together for a deep-dive into Cleveland’s LGBTQ community. Brian serves on the Basic Needs Funding Committee for United Way of Greater Cleveland and is involved in community work.
Co-Director, Building Movement Project
Sean Thomas-Breitfeld is the Co-Director of the Building Movement Project and co-author of BMP’s Race to Lead series of reports. Prior to joining BMP, Sean spent a decade working in various roles at the Center for Community Change, developing training programs for grassroots leaders, coordinating online and grassroots advocacy efforts, and lobbying on a range of issues, including immigration reform, transportation equity and anti-poverty programs. Before joining the Center, Sean worked as a Policy Analyst at UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), where he focused on employment and income security issues. Sean earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Multicultural Studies from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. He then received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School, where he now serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service.
Beatriz “Bia” Vieira
California Program Director, GCIR
Beatriz “Bia” Vieira is the California Program Director at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), where she advances GCIR’s programs and initiatives in the Golden State. She joined GCIR in August 2017. Bia brings over 20 years of experience in human rights and advocacy work, including program leadership and management, fundraising, policy development, organizing, public outreach, and constituency building. Bia has helped philanthropic and mission-driven organizations enhance their strategies and scale their impact on a range of issues. Bia previously served for six years as the Philadelphia Foundation’s first vice president for philanthropic services, where she led the foundation’s strategy and distribution of approximately $29 million in annual grants, including a grantmaking initiative addressing the health and wellness of low-income youth of color in Philadelphia. She also currently serves as Secretary on the National Board of Directors of Funders for LGBTQ Issues.
Vice President of Programs and Advocacy, Schott Foundation
Edgar Villanueva is the Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation where he leads grantmaking and advocacy supports for education justice. Edgar is a nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy, previously holding leadership roles at Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in North Carolina and at the Marguerite Casey Foundation in Seattle. Edgar currently serves on the chair of the board of directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy and is a trustee of the Andrus Family Fund. Edgar is also an instructor with The Grantmaking School at the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University and is the author of Decolonizing Wealth: Medicine to Heal Divides & Restore Balance, a new book that offers alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in philanthropy and the social finance sector (available October 16, 2018).
City College of New York, Harlem
Linda Villarosa runs the journalism program at the City College of New York in Harlem and is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. Her story “America’s Hidden HIV Epidemic” appeared recently on the cover of the Times Magazine. Formerly, she edited the health section of Science Times — and wrote dozens of articles for the paper and website. She also served as the executive editor of Essence magazine. Linda is the author or co-author of many books, including the bestseller “Body & Soul: The Black Women’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-being” and the novel “Passing for Black.” She lives in Brooklyn with her partner, two children, dog and cat.
Alfred Walking Bull
Communications Manager, PFund Foundation
Alfred Walking Bull (Sicangu Lakota) is the Communications Manager for PFund Foundation, the regional LGBTQ grassroots community foundation serving the upper Midwest and co-founding organization of the BEtter OUTcomes Initiative. He is an enrolled citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. He has over a decade of experience in journalism, communications and political organizing. His approach to his work within the BEtter OUTcomes Initiative is centered around telling the stories of LGBTQ people, organizations and allies. His cultural tradition of storytelling plays an important role in bearing witness to the lives of LGBTQ Midwesterners as well as creating accessible and universal themes that are both effective and preserve the dignity of LGBTQ, Queer People of Color, Transgender and Gender Diverse and other marginalized communities. He identifies as gay, queer, Two-Spirit and a person of faith. His hobbies include reading, designing and percolating the perfect cup of coffee.
Director of Engagement, Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Kristina Wertz joined Funders for LGBTQ Issues as Director of Engagement in 2013. Kristina oversees the organization’s programmatic efforts to increase the scale and impact of funding for LGBTQ communities through convenings and collective action. Kristina has a deep commitment to social justice with over a decade of experience advocating for LGBTQ communities as an attorney and policy advocate. Her track record includes litigating a number of groundbreaking transgender rights cases and expanding legislative protections for transgender and gender nonconforming people. Most recently, as Director of Policy and Programs and Legal Director at the Transgender Law Center, Kristina lead multidisciplinary litigation, advocacy, and movement building programs. In 2011, Kristina was named on the National LGBT Bar Association’s inaugural list of “Top Lawyers Under 40.” She is a graduate of NYU and Brooklyn Law School. A proud San Francisco native, Kristina is adjusting to country life in upstate New York with her partner and daughter.
Youth Organizer, BreakOUT!
Arely Westley is BreakOUT!’s Youth Organizer dedicated to the Vice to ICE Campaign and growing the organization’s Latinx LGBTQ youth base. Arely graduate the Building Our Power Institute at BreakOUT! as a member before coming on to staff in 2016. Arely graduated the Strive NOLA job training program in 2016, was accepted into the Youth Champions Initiative of Rise Up and the Packard Foundation in 2017 and honored as a Community Leader by Miss Primavera Latinx pageant in 2016. An active member of the Congress of Day Laborers Arely is dedicated to the movement for liberation in all aspects of her life.
Director, LGBTQ Poverty Initiative
Alisha Williams is the Director of the LGBTQ Poverty Initiative. A graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School in 2009, Williams has spent her career in public service law. Prior to joining the Vaid Group, she was a Senior Staff Attorney at the Urban Justice Center’s Peter Cicchino Youth Project. There, Alisha worked with homeless youth, a group comprising a disproportionate number of people of color and members of the LGBTQ community, and advocated on matters relating to immigration and access to federal benefits. Williams served as the former Director of the Prisoner Justice Project at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a leading grassroots transgender legal advocacy and organizing group based in NY. Alisha volunteers with many grassroots groups and individual powerhouses on topics ranging from anti-gentrification organizing to district attorney accountability.
Co-Executive Director, GSA Network
Geoffrey Winder has been working with GSA Network since his time as a youth council leader in 1999 and brings over 15 years of social justice youth organizing experience to his leadership role. He became Co-Executive Director in 2015 and currently supports GSA Network’s California and National program teams in ensuring all LGBTQ youth access to quality education. Under his leadership, GSA Network’s Racial and Economic Justice work developed into a signature program raising GSA Network’s national profile as a voice for LGBTQ youth of color and is largely credited with shifting the national narrative on LGBTQ youth anti-bullying policies and punitive school discipline while highlighting the issues of LGBTQ youth pushout.
Judy has over 20 years of experience working to create a more just and humane world through supporting the leadership of LGBTQ youth of color and people of color. She is currently a program officer at Wellspring Advisors, where she focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, particularly the criminalization of LGBT people of color, and the disproportionate impact of school disciplinary, criminal justice, child welfare, and immigration policies and practices on LGBT people. Judy has led and overseen a variety of innovative juvenile justice advocacy, youth leadership, and arts programs serving LGBTQ communities and communities of color. Previously, Judy served as the Director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York (CA), an independent non-profit focused on criminal and juvenile justice system reform in New York State. Judy also served as the CA’s Associate Director of LGBTQ Youth Issues, advocating for reform and policies that recognize and address the unique needs of LGBTQ youth in the system. She coordinated the New York Juvenile Justice Coalition, a statewide network of advocates, service providers, and community members and co-chaired the Coalition’s two work groups: LGBTQ Youth and Conditions of Confinement. Judy has also worked as the Director of Programs at APEX for Youth, a mentoring and educational services program for underserved Asian and immigrant youth in New York City, and was Associate Director of the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center’s youth services program. Among her affiliations, she served as a member of the Equity Project Advisory Committee, and on the School Climate and Discipline Work Group of the New York City Mayor’s School Climate Leadership Team, a task force charged with developing policy recommendations to enhance the well-being and safety of students and reduce harsh discipline responses and arrests. Judy holds a BA in English from Barnard College, an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and an MPH from Hunter College.
Cara Page is the Director of Programs at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. She is a Black Feminist Queer organizer, cultural and memory worker who comes from a long line of organizers and cultural workers from the Southeast to the Northeast in the US. For the past 20 plus years she has fought for LGBTQI liberation inside of racial, economic and reproductive justice movements focusing on confronting and transforming state/interpersonal/communal violence and generational trauma. She is the former ED of the Audre Lorde Project, and co-founder and former Coordinator of the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective.
Program Manager, AIDS United
Melanie Powers is thrilled to serve as Program Manager for the Southern HIV Impact Fund, bringing to the position 8 years of public health experience in HIV prevention, reproductive justice, and comprehensive sex education instruction and advocacy. As one of many in her generation for whom law school seemed a final option upon discovering limited use for her liberal arts degree, she will be forever grateful for her introduction into public health. Beginning as an administrative assistant at IWES in New Orleans, it became clear that her desire to work for social justice and equity could be realized in the field of public health and better yet, it could be coupled with her personal passion for sex positivity and promoting sexual health. She spends most of her free time laughing and adventuring with her partner, Eve, and pup, Wookie. She also enjoys practicing guitar and dance. Lastly, as a New Orleans native, lifelong Saints fan, and resident of Atlanta since Summer 2017, she feels the following must be stated: Who Dat?!
Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey
Senior Advisor and National LGBT Liaison, AARP
As a trusted strategic partner and community advocate, Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey brings leaders together to build powerful networks of inclusion committed to a more fair and just society for all. Currently as Senior Advisor and National LGBT Liaison at AARP, he serves as a strategic advisor to the Senior Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, as well as various business units across the enterprise. Dr. Quartey is charged with ensuring robust strategy execution in collaboration with Multicultural Leadership staff across five audiences (African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and LGBT), state office staff, and national office staff in an effort to promote AARP’s strategic issues, enterprise-wide priorities, programs, and activities. In addition, he’s charged with overseeing the department’s robust multicultural research portfolio. Previously as the National Strategic Partnerships Manager for the ͞Voices for Healthy Kids͟ Initiative, now a more than $50 million collaboration between the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Quartey facilitated collaborations among national coalitions addressing a range of root cause issues driving the U.S. childhood obesity epidemic. These efforts resulted in dozens of state and local public policy wins across the country, and the development of a growing health equity community of practice. He began his activism at the age of 13 as a student organizer for Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network campaign in partnership with Boys and Girls Club of America. This experience, which gave him national exposure on ͞The Oprah Winfrey Show,͟ sparked the beginning of what has become a purposeful career as an advocate and changemaker. To date two of his proudest political accomplishments include: Serving as an Official California Surrogate for the Barack Obama Re-Election Campaign and scoring an almost 90% community win as lead campaign consultant for a $90 million school bond campaign to improve school facilities in Inglewood– all in the same election cycle. To further his personal mission of building a more safe, just, equitable, and sustainable society for all, he currently serves on the National Foster Youth Institute Board of Directors with Congresswoman Karen Bass, has informed over $3 million in grantmaking as a Liberty Hill Foundation Community Funding Board Member, and plays a growing role in efforts to strengthen the U.S. national security apparatus as a Truman National Security Fellow. He recently joined the Honor PAC Board in an effort to invest in Latino LGBTQ leaders on the frontlines of change committed to public service. Dr. Quartey has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with a Minor Degree in Critical Approaches to Leadership from the University of Southern California, Master of Arts Degree in Social Entrepreneurship & Change from Pepperdine University, and Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership also from Pepperdine University. To date Dr. Quartey has guest lectured at Columbia University, Pepperdine University, and the University of Southern California.
Andrea J Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant whose research, organizing, advocacy and litigation has focused on profiling, policing and criminalization of women and LGBTQ people of color over the past two decades. She is currently Researcher in Residence on Race, Gender, Sexuality and Criminalization at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and was a 2014 Senior Soros Justice Fellow. She is the author of invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, and co-author ofThe Crisis of Criminalization: A Call for a Comprehensive Philanthropic Response and Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women
Felipe Sousa Matos Rodriguez
Manager of Collaborative Partnerships, City of Orlando
Felipe Sousa Matos Rodriguez is the Manager of Collaborative Partnerships for Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Office. In this role, Felipe serves as the point of contact on behalf of the City on all issues focused on the Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC), and the ongoing support of survivors and victims’ families.Felipe manages deliverables, remove barriers, and create qualifiers and quality standards for those served at the OUAC. In this capacity, he advocates and supports the various stakeholders of the mental health and social service systems, the LGBTQ community and communities of color, all whom are integral in the creation of a successful support system.Furthermore, he is also responsible for managing the City’s contract with Heart of Florida United Way and in the monitoring, evaluation and reporting for the Department of Justice’s, Office for Victims of Crime, Antiterrorism Emergency Assistance Program grant. Felipe is a systems thinker, who has experience in building strategic and development plans for non-profits to map ecosystems for support and resources. He has a proven track record of implementing philanthropic strategies to foster innovation and collaboration, among a diverse set of stakeholders.Felipe is an immigrant from Brazil and he came to Miami when he was 14 years old. He has a long record of working on immigrant and LGBTQ rights. In 2010 he walked on the Trail of Dreams, a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to Washington, DC, to share the stories of immigrant youth. He also worked with Presente.org, an organization seeking to solve some of the most pressing issues impacting the Latino community through communication strategies.He co-directed GetEQUAL, a national social justice LGBTQ organization, and he served as the Deputy Managing Director at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth network in the country. He spent 17 months working at ThoughtWorks, a multinational software company, working at the Office of Social Change Initiatives as the Director of Strategic Partnerships.
Loan Tran is a queer and gender non-conforming organizer and writer based in Durham, NC. They grew up in Charlotte, NC after their family migrated from Viet Nam. In Charlotte they began organizing as a high school student, founding their school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance and fighting with undocumented students to end deportations and access higher education. Loan currently works as the Director of Special Projects at the Southern Vision Alliance and Co-Director for SVA’s core high school youth leadership program, the Youth Organizing Institute. Outside of their non-profit job, they are involved in numerous community efforts such as organizing efforts to support alternatives to policing and local work defending several organizers who have been targeted and charged following the toppling of a confederate monument in Durham. Their passions include: popular education, coalition building, long-term power building, cooking, and spending time with their cats.
Member, United Houma Nation Tribal Council
Monique Verdin is a member of the United Houma Nation Tribal Council and apart of the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative core leadership circle of brown (indigenous, latinx and desi) women, from Texas to Florida, working to envision just economies, vibrant communities and sustainable economies. She has intimately documented the complex interconnectedness of environment, economics, culture, climate and change in southeast Louisiana, for decades. Her indigenous Houma relatives and their lifeways at the ends of the bayous, in the heart of America’s Mississippi River Delta, has been the primary focus of her work. She is the subject/co-writer/co-producer of the documentary My Louisiana Love. Her interdisciplinary work has been included in an assortment of environmentally inspired projects, including the multiplatform/performance/ecoexperience Cry You One as well as the publication Unfathomable City : A New Orleans Atlas. Monique is also the director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange. The Land Memory Bank is a series of southeast Louisiana activations sharing native seeds and local knowledge through citizen collaboration, attempting to building a community record of history and present, while seeking sustainable solutions.
Shannon E. Wyss
Program Manager, AIDS United
Shannon E. Wyss is AIDS United’s Program Manager for the Transgender Leadership Initiative, Connecting to Care, and Hurricane Relief Efforts. They support grantees, oversee initiative timelines and logistics, conduct site visits, and provide capacity building assistance. Most recently, they worked for the DC Trust, managing grants and providing technical assistance to programs serving youth of color in Washington, DC. Previously, Shannon worked at AIDS United as a Program Assistant, Program Associate, and Grants Manager. They have been in the field of social justice for over twenty years. Shannon incorporates their values into their jobs and out‐of‐work time. They have published two journal articles, given dozens of presentations, and written opinion pieces about LGBTQ liberation. A strong advocate for all social justice movements, they volunteer with transgender and gender non‐conforming children, facilitate an anti‐racist book group, photograph marches and rallies, and engage in other activities that seek to eliminate marginalization and oppression in the US. Shannon has been genderqueer‐identified for almost twenty years and out of the closet under varying labels since 1993.Shannon has a BA in International Studies from Vassar College and an MA in Women’s Studies from George Washington University.
Executive Director, Third Wave Fund
Rye Young is the Executive Director of Third Wave Fund which supports and strengthens youth-led gender justice activism focusing on efforts that advance the political power, well-being, and self-determination of communities of color and low-income communities. He has been involved with Third Wave since he started there as an Abortion Fund intern in 2008 and worked to bring trans-inclusion to Third Wave’s reproductive justice framework and grantmaking. Rye currently serves on the Board of Directors for Funders for LGBTQ Issues, the Groundswell Fund, and Funders Concerned About AIDS, and is a former board member of the New York Abortion Access Fund. Rye got his start in organizing at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice where he was a Grace Paley Organizing Fellow. Rye is passionate about expanding opportunities for communities who are most affected by oppression yet remain marginalized in our movements and in philanthropy. He received a B.A. from Bard College in Arabic Language, Culture, and Literature, and attended the Institute of Culinary Education.