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Trainers | Unconscious Whiteness for Board Members & Trustees

Ali Sirkus Brody and Alison Traina use a humanizing and healing approach that calls white people to be gentle and patient with ourselves while still choosing discomfort and taking meaningful action - a way of engaging that goes against everything white supremacy has taught us.

Alison Sirkus Brody

Ali Sirkus Brody, M.A., is a Senior Philanthropic Advisor at the San Francisco Foundation where she partners with donors on their philanthropic journeys and connects them to giving that brings meaning and purpose.  Ali helps individuals and families create giving plans and grantmaking strategies that maximize philanthropic impact. She centers equity in her work, supporting donors to move resources into the hands of communities and organizations on the frontlines of social change. 

Ali has worked for nonprofits and foundations for more than 20 years. Most recently, Ali founded Greater Good Philanthropy, a consulting firm on a mission to inspire progressive philanthropists to become actively anti-racist partners in our shared pursuit of equity and liberation.  

Ali is a certified life coach and a 21/64 certified philanthropic facilitator and trainer. She holds an M.A. in Nonprofit Management from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her free time, Ali enjoys dance, travel, hiking, weaving, singing around the campfire, and raising her two sons to be intersectional feminists. 

Alison Traina

Alison Traina , M.Ed.,CPC, is someone who’s a huge fan of speaking in the first person.

I’m a Bay Area-based coach, consultant, and educator who’s committed to creating a more just world for all of us, not just some of us. One of the through-lines of my work and education has been understanding whiteness so I can identify and interrupt white supremacy: in myself, first and foremost, and in the relationships and systems I participate in. Most of my work is with white people and white-led organizations who understand that white supremacy (they may call it racism) is real and harmful, but they aren’t sure what to do about it.

I have a specific interest in working with white philanthropic leaders to reimagine philanthropy, redistribute wealth, and cede power to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. I do this work because…

…even though racial oppression has been the default setting in our country since its inception, it’s actually optional.

…I believe white people can play a critical role in dismantling racially oppressive structures.

…I want to build a world where BIPOC experience liberation every day.

I value listening deeply, from a place of curiosity and empathy, and I ask questions that stop people in their tracks. I tend to notice what others miss, helping my clients connect the dots between their thoughts, beliefs, goals, and actions. I’ve also been described as “warmly demanding”: I hold my folks to high standards while cheering them on along the way.

I believe this work is both strategic and emergent; we can simultaneously set concrete goals while creating space for what needs to be voiced and acted upon. Some of my recent clients and partners include: Stanford University, Camelback Ventures, Airbnb, Earthjustice, The Equity Lab, Contra Costa County, and a variety of philanthropic organizations.

 I completed my Certified Professional Coach certification through Leadership That Works (backed by the International Coach Federation). I earned a master’s degree in Education from Vanderbilt University, where I focused on learning, diversity, and urban studies; I also hold a BA in Sociology with a minor in Ethnic Studies from UC Davis (special shout-out to Davis, where I started learning about systemic oppression as a wee 17 year-old!).