NCRP’s PowerMoves provides a compelling framework and toolkit for funders to build power, share power, and wield power for equity and justice. This session will explore the Sharing Power module in-depth, offering three living case studies of foundations that turned grantmaking decisions over to the community. Stories will be shared by the funders and community leaders together, highlighting the successes and challenges they encountered along the way and describing how community-powered grantmaking has accelerated their work and deepened their impact. We’ll discuss both what sharing power is and what it looks like in practice and provide a framework to help participants consider how to operationalize it in their own institutions. We will have plenty of time for audience questions and examples –we encourage funders already engaged in power-sharing as well as those new to it to join the discussion.
Hawi Desta, Youth Fellow, Youth Power Fund
Immigrated to the United States in the late 2000s, Hawi Desta got her start in youth organizing through California’s for Justice. Currently, she has just finished up her second year in college as a political science major while simultaneously working as a youth grantmaker. Hawi has served on both sessions of the grantmaking as a youth representative as well as partaking in the design sessions. She is now a Youth Power Fund fellow working to support YO! Cali’s Capacity Building and Power Building strategies and efforts in northern California.
Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE/End Child Poverty and member of the Community Funding Board, Liberty Hill Foundation
Shimica Gaskins is the President & CEO of GRACE/End Child Poverty CA. She has worked in law and public policy specializing in legislative, regulatory, and policy issues associated with criminal justice reform and children’s rights. Prior to joining GRACE, she was executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-California, where she led statewide advocacy, policy, program, and organizing efforts to ensure access to quality affordable health coverage and care for children and low-income families, reform the juvenile justice system, promote educational equity, end child poverty, and improve outcomes for children of color. She formerly served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) where she worked to develop and implement innovative policy initiatives of the department and administration in areas such as smart on crime, law enforcement, and emerging technologies, prison reform, reentry, and issues affecting children with incarcerated parents. Prior to joining DOJ, she was in private practice at Covington & Burling LLP where she managed complex civil litigation. Shimica began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Victoria Roberts on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Shimica serves on the boards of Impact Justice and California Budget & Policy Center, and is a commissioner on the LA County Commission for Children and Families. Shimica earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and graduated cum laude with a BA in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. Her writings have appeared in USA Today, Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Daily News, CalMatters, and legal journals.
Rachel Johnson, Committee Co-chair, Fund for Santa Barbara
Rachel Johnson originally hails from Toronto, ON, and (like so many!) found her way to Santa Barbara for graduate school at UCSB and never left. Transitioning from academia into the non-profit sector, Rachel has amassed over fifteen years of program development and grants management experience in museums, K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and throughout the nonprofit sector. Her professional strengths include strategic partnerships, program development and evaluation, equitable data practices, grantseeking, corporate and foundation relations, and team management. Her personal mission is rooted in equity, social justice, and educational access, priorities shared by the SBCC Foundation and other organizations to which Rachel devotes her time.
Rachel joined the Foundation in 2017 as the Director of Grants and became Chief Program Officer in 2021. Working with nearly every corner of the College, Rachel oversees institutional grants, discretionary and emergency funds, program support funds, and the SBCC Promise team. Over the past four years, Rachel has raised over $2 million in grant funds for the College and distributed millions more back to programs.
Rachel currently serves as the Chair of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s Federal Funding Task Force, which advocates for increased access to federal grant funding for community colleges nationwide, and as co-chair of the Fund for Santa Barbara’sGrantmaking Committee, which funds movement building and equity initiatives throughout Santa Barbara County. Her board service includes the Executive Committee of the Santa Barbara Food Action Network, Stories Portraits, and CalSOAP Santa Barbara. Rachel is also an alumna of the Leading from Within Emerging Leaders Program and the Women in Leadership Program at Antioch University.
Joshua Lee, Senior Program Officer, East Bay Community Foundation
Born and raised in Oakland, Joshua Lee has been leading grassroots organizations in the Bay Area for over ten years. A focal point of Josh’s work has been with youth organizing groups in the east bay such as Youth Together and AYPAL: Building Asian Pacific Islander Community Power, centering the voices and leadership of some of the most powerful yet vulnerable populations in the region in BIPOC young people. Josh recently completed his role as a Multicultural Fellow at the San Francisco Foundation (SFF), where he led their Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund grantmaking. Prior to his role at SFF, he was the Director of AYPAL: Building API Community Power for 5 years. He has a MA from the University of Michigan in Higher Education with a focus on Social Justice, and a BA from UC Santa Cruz in American Studies. After being in the field for many years, harnessing his perspective as both grantee and funder, he is driven by a commitment to building collective strategies towards racial equity, led by those most impacted, towards a Just East Bay
Julio Marcial, Vice President of Programs & Foundation Relations, Liberty Hill
Julio Marcial is Vice President of Programs & Foundation Relations. In this capacity, Marcial oversees foundation relations and strategy; partnerships with government and other sectors; and oversees public policy, research, and evaluation. In addition, Marcial guides the Foundation’s youth and transformative justice portfolio, including the provision of grant-making, network building, public policy, and capacity building supports, which are focused on reducing the size of Los Angeles County’s justice system and establishing a human-focused approach to justice system engagement that truly prioritizes “care first, jails last.”
Julio has significant philanthropy experience, beginning his grant-making career in 1998 at The California Wellness Foundation, a $1 billion health equity-focused foundation in Los Angeles. Most recently, Julio served as a Program Director, where he managed a combined grants portfolio of more than $60 million focused on criminal justice, public safety, and other public health issue areas.
Active in the youth justice field, Julio is an appointed member of the Juvenile Justice Standing Committee of the California Board of State and Community Corrections, and the Executive Standing Committee of the California Youth Reinvestment Fund, which provides cities and counties with $37 million in funding for community-based services to divert youth from formal justice system involvement. He is a 2014 American Express/Independent Sector NGen Fellow and a founding member of the Southern California Latino Giving Circle, which has provided more than $130,000 to immigrant-serving nonprofits. Currently, Julio serves on the board of directors for InsideOut Writers and Represent Justice. Previously, he was on the board for the All For One Youth Mentoring Program, the Los Angeles Music and Art School, Hispanics in Philanthropy, as well as the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families. Julio is also a contributor to the new book, “If We Want to Win,” published by the New Press, which brings together 24 leading figures who propose a collective blueprint for moving forward to a more inclusive and just democracy across the United States.
Marcial earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was awarded an American Sociological Association fellowship to study racial and ethnic disparities in the California juvenile justice system. He has also held a graduate fellowship through the Committee on institutional Cooperation at the Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where his research work focused on the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to addressing childhood exposure to violence.
Eleni Refu, Senior Engagement Associate, NCRP (moderator)
Eleni Refuis the senior engagement associate responsible for leading the engagement strategies of NCRP’s Power Moves project. Having spent the last six years in the charitable sector as a fundraiser and then as a program evaluator, she understands how power imbalances manifest and the kinds of systemic approaches necessary to effectively address them.
Previously, Eleni was the accountability and transparency systems manager at The Ocean Foundation, a marine conservation nonprofit and grantmaker. While there, she spearheaded the organization’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative, which included securing buy-in from their board and working with leadership to assess the organization’s work with an equity and social justice lens. Congruently, she leads an effort to introduce equitable evaluation practices while managing the organization’s internal evaluation system. Before that, she launched her career in the nonprofit sector through a Shriver AmeriCorps Vista fellowship at LIFT-DC, an anti-poverty organization.
Patricia Solorio, Associate Director, Fund for Santa Barbara
Patricia has been with the FUND since 2017 and currently serves as Associate Director. A mother of two, she has a passion for issues related to families and youth and as a daughter of immigrants from Mexico, she has a first-hand understanding of the need to protect and uplift immigrants. Patricia is a bilingual and bi-cultural community leader and native of Santa Maria who has a profound understanding of communities in North County. Prior to joining the FUND, she was with Future Leaders for over 12 years, including as Executive Director for Central Coast Future Leaders. Among her numerous recognitions, in 2016 Patricia received the Working Families Award from the Santa Barbara County Action Network for her many efforts to improve the lives of working families in the region.
This program is open to members and non-members.