About Us

Photo: Bethanie Hines

Our Vision

Thriving Communities.

We envision a country where we are all at home. A world where we take care of each other, respect each other, and where everyone is better off. Where we recognize the shared leadership and sacrifice of people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ and Indigenous people in building this country. When we join together and fight for every single one of us, we can build a nation that works for all of us — a world where all families have the rights, recognition and resources they need to thrive free from oppression.

Our Mission

Forward Together unites communities to win rights, recognition and resources for all families.

We transform culture and policy to work for all of us nationwide. Since our founding in 1989, we have continually fought to dismantle the ways our society marginalizes us based on race, sexuality, and gender. Today, we build courage and foster connection among our multi-racial community of changemakers to secure the rights, recognition and resources all families need to thrive.

Our Approach

At Forward Together, we don’t focus on one sector or issue, we see how all of our lives are interdependent. We focus on changing the ground on which we fight for the rights, recognition and resources for all families and people.

Courage

We build the courage of leaders — women of color, non-binary people of color and Indigenous people — to transform the culture of shame and stigma that prevents so many of us from claiming our voice and power. We use art, media and storytelling to counter misrepresentation of our communities and unapologetically tell the truths of our own lives.

Connection

Relationship building is the bedrock of our work. We connect individuals and organizations across issues and communities because our movements are stronger when we move forward together.

Change

We believe in people power and know that change starts locally. We work with our grassroots leaders and partners across the country to lead campaigns and create tools people can use to strengthen their own communities. By working with the people whose lives are most impacted by injustice, we build power, transform culture and create policy for lasting change.

Courageous Practice

The visionary and innovative work of building a strong and vibrant intersectional social justice movement requires us to physically move people, move institutions, and change the way the world works. Too often in our work, we are “in our heads,” focusing on conceptual ideas and frameworks while ignoring the physics of social change work. Courageous Practice provides us with a powerful way to learn and gain new insight through physical movement and by reconnecting our bodies with our minds. The practice grew out of Forward Stance, highlighted in the video to the left. Forward Together uses Courageous Practice in all aspects of our work, and also trains allied organizations in the practice to support their movement-building efforts.

Our People

Staff

Kemi Alabi
Editorial Manager, Chicago

Kemi Alabi joined Forward Together in November 2014. As Editorial Manager, they help lead Echoing Ida and engage its growing Truth-Teller Network. They also document and share Forward Together’s story of courage, connection and change. A writer, editor and teaching artist, Kemi has spent the last decade amplifying the voices of Black women and non-binary folks. After studying political science and philosophy, they learned the power of words to conjure new worlds. Since then, they’ve worked with organizers in housing rights, the movement for Black lives, and queer and trans justice to strategically communicate visions of liberation. Kemi’s writing and editorial work appear in The Guardian, The Washington Post, Blavity, Catapult, The Toast and Winter Tangerine.

Adriann Barboa
New Mexico Field Director, Albuquerque

Adriann Barboa joined the Forward Together team in 2012, as Field Director for the Strong Families New Mexico program. Adriann works with families and communities across the state of New Mexico to bring about culture shift strategies that recognize the many kinds of families across her home state, and create new policies centered in the lived experiences of everyday New Mexicans. Adriann is a connector, an organizer, a trainer and loves to spend her time with families and communities working together toward building the world we all want to live in. She brings together a strong network of organizations and individuals in New Mexico that are modeling how to leverage their people power for the greater good. Adriann brings 15 plus years experience in the direct service and social justice sectors, working primarily on issues of gender, reproductive, anti-violence, education and youth and criminal justice in indigenous and communities of color. She is a proud mother of two loving young adults that bring her so much joy and keep her grounded.

Micah Bazant
Artist-in-Residence, Oakland

Micah Bazant joined Forward Together as Artist-in-Residence in March 2017. They bring more than 10 years experience making art in collaboration with social justice movements. Prior to coming on staff, Micah worked as a freelance graphic designer, artist and art director. In 2014 they worked with Forward Together and trans justice organizations across the country on the Trans Day of Resilience Art Project. In 2016, Micah initiated the Trans Life and Liberation Art Series, celebrating the existence and resistance of trans activists and artists of color across the U.S. They love drawing, growing and eating food, animal-related adventures, and speculative fiction.

Vivek G. Bharathan
Information Technology Manager, Oakland

Vivek joined Forward Together in May 2017 and supports us as we use technology in our work, maintaining our current resources and finding new ways for us to fulfill our mission across our various locations. He came from roles in web development, web strategy and IT at Race Forward, Diablo Valley College, the University of Pennsylvania and Brooklyn Law School. When he’s not crawling under desks or talking his colleagues’ ears off about digital security, Vivek plays tenor sax with the Laney College Jazz Orchestra. He is an immigrant from India and grew up in Tucson, AZ. If you’d like to send Vivek a PGP-encrypted email, you can find his public key at https://keybase.io/vbharathan/key.asc (fingerprint: BE1E 57B9 3818 3451 0C61 55E5 218A C601 5924 9436).

Moira Bowman
Deputy Director, Portland

Moira Bowman joined Forward Together in November 2007 and works primarily from Portland, Oregon. As Deputy Director, Moira builds and manages an effective staff team and plays a lead role in the strategy and implementation of the Strong Families initiative. Relying on more than 20 years of experience working with social justice nonprofits, Moira also provides technical assistance to a number of our allies. Moira has been active in the social justice movement for the last two decades on issues of economic and racial justice, LGBTQ rights and gender justice. She brings extensive experience in movement building, organizing, political education and technical assistance. As Director of the Gender Justice Program at Western States Center, Moira worked to build regional capacity (in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming) to counter the Right’s agenda and to build progressive power for low-income families, communities of color and LGBTQ communities.

Jessica Lopez Collins
New Mexico Program Director, Albuquerque

Jessica joined Forward Together as the New Mexico Program Director in July 2015. She ensures that the Strong Families network in New Mexico is vibrant and connected while moving policy and culture shift work that meets the needs of all New Mexico families. Prior to joining Forward Together, Jessica spent twelve years at Media Literacy Project where she led the Girl Tech program for young women of color that centered on reproductive justice and video production. She also designed curriculum, taught classes to middle and high school students, and trained nationally and internationally in media literacy and media justice. Jessica brings experience in educating and organizing on media access issues, program planning and evaluation, and creating beautiful resources that are accessible to New Mexico communities. She recently served on the Board of Directors for Young Women United for six years. When not at work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her two sons, Luca and Micah, reading nonfiction, and hiking in the mountains.

Manuela Delnevo
Development Assistant, Oakland

Manuela joined Forward Together as a Development Assistant in September 2017. She manages the donor database, ensures donors are thanked promptly and accurately, and supports logistics for fundraising events. Prior to working at Forward Together, Manuela completed her Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. As a graduate student, her research focused on the colonial underpinnings of global development initiatives, particularly those centered on women and girls’ empowerment in the global South. She previously worked as an English and Spanish teacher in Vietnam, the UK and Gabon, learning with and from students of all ages and backgrounds.

When she is not crafting thank-you letters, Manuela loves to sing, dance, practice yoga, Skype her family and friends, and eat delicious food with her partner.

Jackeline Durón
Oregon Field Organizer, Portland

Jackeline (Jakki) joined Forward Together as the Oregon Field Organizer in November 2017. As the Field Organizer, she engages Oregonians primarily in Portland for healthcare access, family recognition and safe communities. Originally from Reno, Jakki studied Spanish and women’s studies at the University of Nevada where she began organizing around reproductive justice and immigrants’ rights. Most recently, Jakki served as a Raíz Organizer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America where she worked with Latinx communities on fights for reproductive health, sex education and access to care. When she’s not at work, you can find Jakki traveling, trying new Thai places, binging Netflix shows and tweeting.

Kelly Francisco
New Mexico Program Assistant, Albuquerque

Kelly joined Forward Together in August 2013. She passionately works to increase visibility of the Strong Families New Mexico program by strengthening and documenting efficient information systems, relationship building, and event planning to amplify staff capacity and partner networks.

Kelly proudly represents herself as a Diné Woman, residing from northeastern Arizona, she is Kinłichíi’nii (Red House Clan) and born for Naakaii Dine’é (Mexican People Clan). She presently lives in Albuquerque, where she completed her BA in Psychology from the University of New Mexico (UNM). While at UNM, she was very active in various capacities with several student organizations and in community organizing. Kelly currently serves as an active board member of the Native American Voters Alliance Education Project and is a co-author of Native Americans and the University of New Mexico. Outside of work, she enjoys being outdoors, playing volleyball and softball, and watching the sunrise.

Jeana Frazzini
Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Portland

Jeana joined the Forward Together team in March 2017 and works primarily from Portland, Oregon. As the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Jeana is passionate about building relationships to mobilize financial resources that power the work of Forward Together and our movement. Most recently, Jeana served as Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon, where she successfully built the organization into a nationally recognized LGBTQ powerhouse, known for innovation, intersectionality and bold policy wins. During her tenure, Jeana led a transformative process to integrate racial and transgender justice into the organization’s culture and priorities. She positioned the organization to play an essential role in the national strategy to win the freedom to marry and worked statewide to advance transgender health access, immigrant rights and economic justice campaigns. Jeana built relationships across the LGBTQ and allied movements, channeling the influence, resources and energy of partners toward education and policy campaigns that profoundly shifted the landscape for LGBTQ people, couples and families. Outside of work, Jeana enjoys 80s dancing and pinball with her husbian, Collin, and adventures with their two amazing sons, Emmett and Griffin.

Leslie Griep
Director of Finance and Operations, Oakland

Leslie joined the Forward Together team in October 2014 as the Director of Finance. Throughout her career, she has worked in a variety of not-for-profit organizations in accounting, administrative and program positions. She is a licensed CPA (Inactive) in the State of Oregon. Her activist interests include affordable housing, economic and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and anti-violence work. When not in front of multiple spreadsheets, Leslie bikes, runs, eats and watches movies (with a particular soft spot for sing-along musicals).

Kalpana Krishnamurthy
National Field and Policy Director, Portland

Kalpana joined Forward Together in 2013. As the National Field and Policy Director, Kalpana directs our state-based organizing and civic engagement program, in addition to our national policy work. From 2005 to 2012, Kalpana directed the racial justice and gender justice programs at Western States Center, including developing two state-based report cards and a program to support LGBTQ people of color. Kalpana has been a youth organizer and reproductive rights organizer and worked in philanthropy at both the Third Wave Foundation and the Ms. Foundation for Women. She remains active in philanthropy and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. She is a knitter, cook and avid reader. She is the mother of two fabulous boys, Sachin and Kavi.

Alanna Kwoka
Individual Giving Manager, Oakland

Alanna joined Forward Together as the Individual Giving Manager in July 2016. She is excited to inspire and thank people who invest in grassroots organizing and community-led change. Most recently, she stewarded donor-advised fund holders at the San Francisco Foundation and worked with them to give locally. Previously, Alanna worked at The Boston Women’s Fund, which makes grants to grassroots social justice organizations led by women of color. She earned a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brown University. Alanna can often be found going on lunchtime walks or curled up with a fantasy novel. She would like you to consider making a donation to Forward Together today.

Diana Lugo-Martinez
Movement Building Director, Yonkers, New York

Diana joined Forward Together as the Movement Building Director in December 2017, working from Yonkers, New York. As the Movement Building Director, Diana advances efforts to build, expand and engage in effective, collaborative movements, including working with over 200 organizations in the Strong Families network. Diana brings over a decade of experience in civic engagement, politics, academia and leadership development on a variety of social justice areas. Prior to joining Forward Together, Diana was the Senior Director of Community Engagement Programs at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), where she managed the Community Mobilization department and oversaw the strategic implementation of organizing, civic engagement and leadership strategies to ensure optimal impact and alignment with advocacy. She previously served as an administrator at New York University, and has also served as an adjunct at the school’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, teaching service-learning courses on civic engagement and women’s movements on sexual and reproductive health in the Caribbean and Latin America. Diana holds an MPA in Health Policy and Management and an MS in Global Affairs.

Outside of work, Diana serves on the SisterReach Board of Directors and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Yonkers Public Library. When not building with movement folks, you can find Diana reading about reproductive justice, race and class while drinking café, or hanging out with her familia, also while drinking café.

Erin Malone
Communications Director, New York City

Erin joined Forward Together in April 2016 as the Communications Director working from Brooklyn, New York. As the Communications Director, Erin develops strategies to spread Forward Together’s message of empowering families with the rights, recognition and resources they need to thrive. She oversees all aspects of the organization’s communications and is the first point of contact for media inquiries.

Erin comes to Forward Together from the labor movement where she worked as a communicator for 1199SEIU. As a seasoned communications strategist, she has lead communications campaigns to win paid sick days and living wage legislation, secure affordable housing, keep hospitals open, secure strong union contracts, and provide medical relief in Haiti. Erin has previous experience as an organizer working to build union and community coalitions in the Bronx and Newark, organize tenants at the University of California-San Diego and as an educator fighting for access to higher education and the retention of underrepresented students. She is also a communications trainer with degrees in advertising and communications and several years of teaching experience.

When not nerding out on the latest trends in communications strategy, you can find her on the dance floor or roaming the streets of New York with her camera.

Bianca Mounce
Data and Analytics Strategist, Chicago

Since 2013, Bianca has empowered electoral campaigns, companies and nonprofit organizations to strategically use data. After working on President Obama’s re-election campaign as a Field Organizer in Tampa, FL, Bianca continued immersing herself in data-driven campaigns and nonprofit work. She was previously the National Data Manager at Organizing for Action where she oversaw reporting, training and data for grassroots staff and volunteers. She then worked at Civis Analytics as a Client Success Analyst working with a diverse portfolio of clients on how to leverage the Civis Platform and data best practices. A native Oregonian, Bianca lived in the United Kingdom for five years and has traveled to 21 countries. She likes to think she is equal parts coffee expert, yogi and proud Portlander.

Rosa Yadira Ortiz
Grants Manager, Portland

Rosa joined the Forward Together team in April 2016 as the Grants Manager working from the Portland office. As the Grants Manager, Rosa helps to develop, implement and administrate institutional fundraising strategies for Forward Together and its programs. Most recently, she served as the Development and Communications Director at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health where she implemented new strategies and systems to secure necessary resources to sustain programming and developed an organizational approach to grassroots fundraising. During her time at ICAH, Rosa served on the leadership team of the organization where she nurtured a supportive, inventive and dynamic team with an equal focus on the big and small picture, grounded in the organization’s mission and values. Prior to ICAH, Rosa served as the Development and Communications Manager at Western States Center where she focused on grants management and social media communication. Rosa is committed to volunteering in philanthropy and has been part of the grant making committee of McKenzie River Gathering (MRG) Foundation and the pilot Giving Project of the Crossroads Foundation. She holds a double BA in Latin American and Latina/o Studies and Spanish from DePaul University and an MA in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University. Rosa is a Mami of twins and enjoys powerlifting and Virgen de Guadalupe iconography.

Michele Ruffin
Oregon Campaign Manager, Portland

Michele Ruffin joined the Forward Together team as the Oregon Campaign Manager in November 2017. Based out of Portland, she leads the state-based program in Oregon toward policy wins and effective culture shift campaigns.

Prior to joining Forward Together, Michele spent over two years on Governor Kate Brown’s team managing campaign schedules, cultivating relationships with organizational leaders, and assisting policy development. She comes from a strong campaign organizing background in both issue advocacy and state elections, but her heart has only one mission, to build political power for queer and trans Oregonians of color and their families.

Michele is a coffee drinking, comic reading, phone banking, campaign nerd who enjoys time with her wife and chosen family.

Prerna Sampat
Digital Strategist, New York City

Prerna Sampat joined Forward Together in December 2017 as a Digital Strategist based in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, she had previously helped shape a number of campaigns for economic justice, racial justice, immigrant rights, worker rights and trans liberation. Working at the global LGBTQ rights organization All Out, Prerna led a culture shift campaign to make digital spaces more inclusive for TGNC people, resulting in the expansion of Facebook’s gender categories from two to more than seventy. At ALIGN, Prerna led digital communications for a pivotal campaign that mobilized thousands of workers and community leaders, successfully driving Walmart out of New York City. In 2015, Prerna joined The Worker Institute at Cornell University, where she developed digital strategies to boost enrollment, taught workshops on digital organizing and authored pieces interrogating the laborer’s role in the immigrant rights movement. Prerna was among the founding members of the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) and Trikone Chicago. She has previously served on the Movement Building Team at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and currently serves on the Catalyst Action Committee of New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG).

Maria A. Santos
Administrative Coordinator, Oakland

Maria joined Forward Together in January 2016 taking on the role of Administrative Coordinator. Born in the Philippines, Maria immigrated to the United States when she was seven years old, settling with her family in Arizona and eventually moving to the Bay Area in high school.  Maria earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies. Prior to joining Forward Together, Maria worked with multiple community-based organizations in San Francisco providing support and facilitation of services ranging from after school programs to workforce development training. At Forward Together, Maria’s role includes not only ensuring that administrative systems run smoothly, but also providing programmatic support to staff and directors. Maria is passionate about Filipino food, cold brew coffee and baked treats. She can spend hours wandering around bookstores and craft stores.

Eveline Shen
Executive Director and Board President, Oakland

Since Eveline’s leadership began in 1999, Forward Together has become widely recognized for its innovative role in the Reproductive Justice Movement — working with grassroots communities; providing thought leadership; developing effective tools and resources for evaluation, training and documentation; and organizing for long-term systemic change. In 2010 Eveline and other leaders launched the Strong Families Initiative, which now works with over 170 organizations to change the way people think, feel and act in support of families. Eveline served as Principal Investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. Eveline is a recipient of the Gerbode Fellowship, was named one of Women’s eNews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, was awarded the 2015 San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award, and was awarded the Lani Shaw Award for Courage and Compassion in the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice by the Funders for Reproductive Equity in 2017. She holds a Master of Public Health in Community Health Education from UC Berkeley.

Jainan Singh
Senior Accountant, Oakland

Jainan joined Forward Together in August 2014. He gained his professional experience in business and accounting with diversified businesses, including nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jainan is highly efficient, detail oriented and passionate about business and accounting. He is also used to producing high-quality work in a time-sensitive environment. Jainan received his Bachelors of Accounting and Economics at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji where he gained most of his professional experience. He is excited to learn, grow his skill set and provide quality service to the organization. His favorite recreational activities include cycling, golf and movies.

Cecy Velasco
New Mexico Field Manager, Albuquerque

Cecy Velasco joined Forward Together in January 2016. As the New Mexico Field Manager, she engages and builds with members across the state through events and workshops and digitally through email, text and social media. She also helps grow and support the Strong Families New Mexico statewide network. Cecy earned her BA in Psychology and Family Studies from the University of New Mexico (UNM). While at UNM, she organized on campus for immigrant rights and education access, mentored freshmen students, and interned for the Strong Families New Mexico program. Cecy is the proud daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrants. After growing up and living all over the Southwest, she is happy to call Albuquerque home as it holds a special place in her heart. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her orange tabby cat named Chubby, taking long naps and binge-watching shows on Netflix.

Board

Kay Fernandez Smith
Board Chair

Kay Fernandez Smith, a former Fulbright Hayes Scholar to the Philippines and a San Francisco Foundation Fellow, has worked with grassroots groups, public agencies, and philanthropic organizations to advance equitable development. She is currently the Director of Community Benefits and Social Responsibility at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she oversees the country’s first community benefits program administered by a large public utility. Prior to joining the SFPUC, Kay was Deputy Director at PolicyLink where she launched the Promise Neighborhoods Institute, a national intermediary focused on supporting antipoverty programs modeled on the academic and life success of low-income children. She holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Kay joined the Forward Together board in 2011.

Eveline Shen
Executive Director and Board President, Oakland

Since Eveline’s leadership began in 1999, Forward Together has become widely recognized for its innovative role in the Reproductive Justice Movement — working with grassroots communities; providing thought leadership; developing effective tools and resources for evaluation, training and documentation; and organizing for long-term systemic change. In 2010 Eveline and other leaders launched the Strong Families Initiative, which now works with over 170 organizations to change the way people think, feel and act in support of families. Eveline served as Principal Investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. Eveline is a recipient of the Gerbode Fellowship, was named one of Women’s eNews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, was awarded the 2015 San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award, and was awarded the Lani Shaw Award for Courage and Compassion in the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice by the Funders for Reproductive Equity in 2017. She holds a Master of Public Health in Community Health Education from UC Berkeley.

Liza Fuentes
Board Secretary

Liza is a Senior Project Manager at Ibis Reproductive Health. Prior to that she was a fellow at the City University of New York Institute for Demographic Research, and was a researcher at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Her research has focused on the effects of immigration and health policies on Latina and immigrant reproductive health, clinician training in reproductive health, and abortion access. She is also interested in issues around the role of social scientists in the movement for reproductive justice. She is the current chair of the board of directors of Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a board member of Forward Together, and is a former member of the boards of the National Network of Abortion FundsNew York Abortion Access Fund, and the DC Abortion Fund. Liza is a doctoral candidate at the CUNY School of Public Health and has a Master of Public Health from Columbia University.

Sojeila Maria Silva
Board Treasurer

Sojeila is passionate about social change, and she’s passionate about using finance as a tool to make that change happen. Currently a Partner at Small Hill Partners — a firm specializing in finance and strategy work with nonprofits — her experience in management, finance and consulting is broad and deep. For more than three decades Ms. Silva had been an activist, staff person, board member, CEO and consultant in areas as diverse as health education, housing development, microfinance and labor in both the nonprofit and public sectors. Ms. Silva is a successful and widely respected Interim Executive, but she remains passionate about face-to-face consulting and innovation in the field. In her volunteer activities she has supported industry organizations, the international microfinance sector, and local schools, and she has served multiple terms as a City Planning Commissioner. When she isn’t working she can be found with her nose in a book, hanging out with friends and family, or tinkering. She received her Master of Business Administration from UCLA.

Rosie Abriam
Board Member

Rosie is the former President/CEO for The Center for Asian Pacific American Women. “The Center” is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building leadership capacity within our communities. Previously, her career spanned multiple disciplines across government and corporate entities. Rosie holds multiple patents in manufacturing, software and laser applications and led projects in the US, Europe, Asia and South America. She left the technical sector to provide opportunities for women and our communities.

Rosie has taught martial arts for over 25 years and is a Gura Fifth Degree of the Kamatuuran School of Kali. She is a 2002 Fellow of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute (APAWLI). As a result of her APAWLI project, she co-founded Rosemary Pai, Inc., a small business focused on marketing and distributing products from artists and startup businesses. She is a recipient of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in America award.

Mia Birdsong
Board Member

Mia has spent more than 20 years fighting for the self-determination and pointing out the brilliant adaptations of everyday people. In her current role as Co-Director of Family Story, Mia is updating this nation’s outdated picture of families in America. Previously, Mia worked as the Vice President of the Family Independence Initiative, where she created and curated the Torchlight Prize.

Mia, whose 2015 TED talk, The Story We Tell About Poverty Isn’t True, has been viewed over 1.3 million times, has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Salon and On Being and has guest lectured at UC Berkeley. She co-founded Canerow, a resource for people dedicated to raising children of color in a world that reflects the spectrum of who they are. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and an inaugural Ascend Fellow of The Aspen Institute.

Mia is a modern Renaissance woman. She has spent time organizing to abolish prisons, teaching teenagers about sex and drugs, interviewing literary luminaries like Edwidge Danticat, David Foster Wallace and John Irving, and attending births as a midwifery apprentice. These are some of the many reasons that Mia was recognized as one of Colorlines’ “15 Remarkable Women of Color Who Rocked 2015.”

Yee Won Chong
Board Member

Yee Won Chong is a trainer, strategist and social entrepreneur. His consulting practice aims to increase organizations’ abilities to fulfill their purpose by focusing on movement building, becoming more strategic, and creating inclusive organizational culture. He has trained employees of government agencies and colleges to create transgender-inclusive workplaces, coached community-based organizations on using racial equity strategies, and led nonprofits through real-time strategic planning.

Yee Won is passionate about using storytelling to change hearts and minds. His TEDx Talk, Beyond the Gender Binary, is used widely to spark discussions about gender. He is currently working on Trans Dudes with Lady Cancer, a film documentary highlighting his personal experience navigating the healthcare system as a transgender patient. Yee Won’s Say This, Not That startup is an award-winning idea dedicated to bringing greater language consciousness and compassion to communication.

Dennis Quirin
Board Member

Dennis Quirin is the President of Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG). NFG is a national membership association of grantmaking institutions that are committed to improving the economic and social conditions of communities of color and low-income communities across the U.S. As President of NFG since July 2013, Dennis has lead an extensive organizational change process that has resulted in doubling the programming and membership of NFG. Dennis comes to this position with two decades of experience as an activist, organizer, fundraiser and grantmaker working for social change.

He has extensive experience working in a variety of roles with nonprofits, designing and implementing strategic programs, and working effectively with diverse stakeholders. Prior to his work at NFG, Dennis designed and led the Race & Equity Collaborative at the Proteus Fund, a multi-city funding strategy supporting the growth of city-level alliances working at the intersection of racial justice and voter engagement.

As a bridge builder between sectors and strategies, Dennis has worked with some of the most respected social change organizations and leaders in the country, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, SCOPE/AGENDA, Californians for Justice, and California Forward. Dennis began his philanthropic experience working at The San Francisco Foundation funding hundreds of social justice organizations in the Bay Area.

Dennis has served on the boards of Intersection for the Arts, Californians for Justice, Northern California Grantmakers Emergency Loan Fund, Civic Engagement Fund for AMEMSA Communities and Bay Area Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. He currently serves as a trustee of the Common Counsel Foundation and as an Advisor to the Bay Area Justice Funders Network.

Edith Sargon
Board Member

Edith has spent the last 15 years organizing, training, facilitating and working to build power for and alongside working people, young people, immigrants and queer folks. She has worked within nonprofit organizations and unions, and she is currently working independently to support individuals and teams be the most strategic, powerful and authentic they can be. She is drawn to working with those who are audacious enough to believe that we won’t just win, but who can see the world we want and need for ourselves and for our ancestors who struggled and celebrated before us.

Latonya Slack
Board Member

Latonya Slack, certified executive coach, trainer and facilitator, is principal and founder of Slack Global Consulting, specializing in co-creation, visioning and assisting individuals and organizations with planning and navigating critical decisions.

She served as Senior Program Officer for California Democracy Program supporting civic engagement, community organizing, voter engagement and capacity building with the James Irvine Foundation for seven years. While at the foundation, she was elected vice chair then chair of the Southern California Grantmakers board.

Prior to working in philanthropy, she was Executive Director of the California Black Women’s Health Project, where she created a comprehensive policy advocacy program, a mental health initiative and an Advocate Training Program. She has also worked for SEIU as a community political organizer, engaging community, religious, labor and health organizations on healthcare justice. After graduation from UCLA School of Law, she worked with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as a Consumer Law Advocate, and through the AmeriCorps Legal Corps, helped community groups in South Los Angeles establish nonprofit organizations.

Additional Affiliations: Los Angeles Social Justice Consultants Network, Liberty Hill Foundation, California Association of Nonprofits

Shiree Teng
Board Member

Shiree Teng has worked in the social sector for 30+ years as a social and racial justice champion — as a front line organizer, network facilitator, capacity builder, grantmaker, and evaluator and learning partner. Shiree brings to her work a lifelong commitment to social change and a belief in the potential of groups of people coming together to create powerful solutions to entrenched social issues.

Today, Shiree leads two statewide Developmental Evaluation teams, both of which are funded by The California Endowment. The first DE team is to track the progress of TCE’s Sons & Brothers statewide advocacy and youth healing and leadership efforts; the second is to support the LCFF community-parent-caregiver-student engagement work in Kern and Riverside Counties. Shiree also leads an evaluation team for East Oakland Building Healthy Communities. Shiree leads by serving, using a culturally based approach and relying on core competencies of strategic thinking, listening and synthesizing, connecting, and defining and measuring success.

April Veneracion-Ang
Board Member

April has over 15 years of experience working in the government and the nonprofit sectors in San Francisco where she has achieved major political and legislative wins in housing, land use and development. Her work with grassroots leaders, nonprofit professionals, elected leaders and high level executives in San Francisco and the Bay Area for the past 20 years allows her to bring diverse perspectives to complex policy and political issues. April most recently was Senior Aide to San Francisco District Six Supervisor Jane Kim. Her legislative portfolio included land use and development, urban planning and transportation. April received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside, and her Master’s degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She lives in Oakland with her husband Eric, mother in law Feliciana and is mom to Niall and Gracie. She currently works at HMS Associates providing strategic advice to a select group of for-profit and non-profit groups.