RESTORE OAKLAND PROGRAM MANAGER, ELLA BAKER CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Nwamaka is excited to bring over 10 years of experience in working on social and economic justice issues and campaigns that help support the sustainable and equitable development of thriving and prosperous communities. She is currently a Next Economy Innovation Fellow for the Movement Strategy Center.
As the Director of Programs at EcoDistricts, Nwamaka was responsible for leading Target Cities – a pilot program designed to support 11 innovative neighborhoods in 9 cities across North America in applying the EcoDistricts Global Protocol to help accelerate and achieve their district-scale sustainability goals.
As the Director of Programs at Transform Finance, Nwamaka helped to design and launch the inaugural Transform Finance Institute for Social Justice leaders. The Institute was created to educate and train social justice community leaders about how to best leverage impact investments to deepen their social impact for transformative social change. Nwamaka worked at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights for over six years in a range of positions spanning from Policy Director, to Campaign Director and Deputy Director. During her tenure at the Ella Baker Center, Nwamaka helped to support the launch of the Oakland Green Jobs Corp and later went on to develop the organization’s Oakland-based Soul of the City civic engagement campaign.
She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member to Oakland Rising Action and a Board Member of People’s Grocery. Nwamaka is also honored to support the work of Roots of Success as an Advisory Board Member and Wellstone Action as a Trainer. She graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and African American Studies and holds a Master’s of Public Administration specializing in Financial Management from San Francisco State University.
INTERIM CEO, SOLIYA AND VP OF STRATEGIC INITIATIVE, SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND
Fahad Ahmad is the Interim CEO of Soliya, an innovative nonprofit that empowers young adults from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia to use dialogue and new media technology tools to establish cooperative and compassionate relations between these societies. At Soliya, Fahad provides strategic direction, oversees global programming, manages organizational finances, drives technology strategy, and works with the development team to generate support from foundations, governments, and individuals. Fahad is leading Soliya through an integration with Search for Common Ground, where he has been cross-appointed the VP of Strategic Initiatives. He is the cofounder of a Toronto based consultancy that provides strategic planning and program evaluation services for social sector and arts nonprofits. Fahad’s commitment to global justice and peace-building has seen him work closely with several organizations in the US, Canada, and India focusing on promoting social justice and diffusing identity conflicts. Prior to joining Soliya, Fahad worked for eight years as a computer hardware engineer. Fahad has lived and worked in the Middle East, India, Canada, and the US. His diverse professional experiences and international background have made Fahad an insightful and adaptive problem solver. Fahad holds graduate degrees from York University in Canada (MBA) and the University of Wisconsin in Madison (MS) as well as a BS from Aligarh Muslim University in India.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IDEX
Rajasvini Bhansali is the Executive Director of International Development Exchange (IDEX) and a passionate advocate for participatory grassroots-led social change and movement building. In a wide-ranging career devoted to social, ecological, and economic justice, she has led a national social enterprise, managed a public telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years, an experience she credits as motivating her to work to transform international development and philanthropy towards more people-centered practices. Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master′s in Public Affairs (MPA) with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor′s degrees in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley. Vini has been involved in community organizing and volunteer board roles for the last two decades. Currently, she serves on advisory boards for the Agroecology Fund and the Women’s Building in New York City. Vini guest lectures in the Master’s Program in Ecological Sustainability at the University of Vermont and she also served as a Social Entrepreneurship (SEERS) fellow at Stanford University in 2016. In 2015, she was honored with a Leaders in Action award by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). Vini is also a published poet, essayist, storyteller, popular educator and a trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. When not engaged with community organizations, Vini can be found hiking, cooking and dancing with friends.
ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT, KHEPERA CONSULTING
Gregory Hodge works with a range of groups from small non-profits and foundations to public agencies, particularly school districts, with Khepera Consulting as a community builder, strategist, meeting designer, facilitator and coach. He has served as lead consultant on the Equal Voice for America’s Families Campaign, an initiative of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, and the 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys, two national initiatives. His clients include The California Endowment, the Association for Black Foundation Executives, Sierra Health Foundation, and Oakland Unified School District’s Office of African American Achievement. As a leader in his community, Gregory served two four-year terms as a member of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education beginning in January 2000, including a year as president of the board. He served nine years on Workforce Investment Board, City of Oakland. In addition, he serves as the Chief Network Officer for the Brotherhood of Elders Network, an intergenerational network of African descent men. Hodge has also worked as an attorney in private practice handling a variety of civil litigation matters. His involvements include work with African American youth as a teacher and mentor; minister at the Wo’se Community; drummer with Bantaba Dance Ensemble; board chair of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, National Equity Project; board chair of The Restoration Association for Improving the Landmark 16th Street Station (RAILS), a Friend of the Esalen Institute and member of the national Annenberg School District Reform Task Force. Greg is a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow and a recipient of the Gerbode Fellowship. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He is a proud father, active gardener and lives in Oakland, California.
Sasha Rabsey, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors
FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, HOW FUND
Sasha Rabsey is the Founder and Director of the HOW Fund and HOW Fellowship, which support international mentorship programs for girls, and is co-founder of the innovative Present Purpose Network, a group of highly engaged women funders in the US and Europe making critical grassroots grants through informed collective giving. Current HOW Fund and Present Purpose Network grantees include, for example, an anti-sex-trafficking program in Vietnam, a mentorship program for adolescent girls in Nairobi, and a leadership program for young Pakistani women. In addition to providing program grants through the HOW Fund and Present Purpose Network, Sasha’s HOW Fellowship program recognizes and supports grassroots leaders working with young women on issues of education, social justice and reproductive health. Sasha blogs and is a frequent speaker on the empowerment of women and girls internationally, and she consults on effective philanthropic engagement with grassroots organizations.
Julian Rhoads, Secretary of the Board of Directors
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT, THE ASIA FOUNDATION
Julian is the Executive Assistant to the President of the Asia Foundation. Previously he served as the chair of IDEX’s Young Professionals Group, made up of passionate individuals from a variety of backgrounds who are dedicated to grassroots poverty alleviation and social justice in the Global South and raising awareness and funds for IDEX partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Gerald Richards, Chair of the Board of Directors
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, 826 NATIONAL
Gerald Richards is the Chief Executive Officer of 826 National With twenty years of management and development experience at national nonprofit organizations, including the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship where he served as the Executive Director of the Bay Area office, Gerald is a respected trainer and sought after speaker on topics of youth and education access. He has also served as an education expert for national marketing campaigns promoting creativity in and outside the classroom. In 2008, he was named one of 101 African-American Champions for Youth in the Bay Area. Gerald’s nonprofit career also includes positions with the United Negro College Fund; University of California, San Francisco; the J. David Gladstone Institutes; Chicago Panel on Social Policy; and The Cradle Foundation. In addition to serving on the IDEX board, he currently serves on the board of the Woodland School, and previously served on the boards of Juma Ventures and KIPP SF Bay Academy. Gerald holds a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
FOUNDER & CEO, SYNC IT COMMUNICATIONS
Susan Rosenberg is a human rights and prisoners rights advocate, adjunct professor, communications consultant, award-winning writer, public speaker and a formerly incarcerated person. Her recently published memoir, An American Radical, details her 16 years in federal prison as well as her conclusions about her prison experience and her past. She was released from prison in 2001 through executive clemency by then President Bill Clinton. Upon her release she worked at American Jewish World Service for 12 years beginning as a writer then becoming the Director of Communications. Post-AJWS Susan has worked extensively in the nonprofit communications field with a focus on human rights and international development. She is the founder of Sync It Communications, a communications-consulting group. She is also an adjunct professor at Hunter College and a member of the prison writing committee of PEN America. Susan lives in New York City with her partner.
CEO, OPPORTUNITY COLLABORATION
Topher Wilkins has been hosting people in collaborative environments for the purposes of social change for nearly a decade. Starting with the Highland City Club, which he co-founded in Boulder, Colorado, to managing Dunton Hot Springs, and finally with the Opportunity Collaboration, Topher is passionate about creating high-end, high-impact gatherings. In addition to holding IDEX’s Executive Director, Vini Bhansali, in high esteem as a courageous and impactful leader, Topher is attracted to IDEX because of the radically innovative and ground-breaking approach they have developed towards supporting grass-roots practitioners in the fight against global poverty. Topher holds a Master’s in Education from the CU Boulder and a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Pomona College. He and his wife, Jorian, live in Santa Cruz, California, where they are raising their family of three young boys ~ Booker, Dunton and Justus.
Ada Williams Prince
PROGRAM OFFICER, MARGUERITE CASEY FOUNDATION
Ada Williams Prince is a Program Officer with the Marguerite Casey Foundation. She identifies potential grantees and solicits and develops grant proposals, conducts site visits and prepares grant recommendations for the foundation’s West region. Before joining the foundation, Ada was the director of policy for OneAmerica (Seattle), where she helped build its immigrant integration strategy, worked on its education portfolio for K-12 racial justice, and spearheaded internal planning of a gender equity policy. Previous to her work with OneAmerica, Ada was the senior advocacy officer for the Women’s Refugee Commission in New York City, leading advocacy efforts to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugees and displaced persons. She has also worked at the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Survivors, Save the Children UK, Refugees International, and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance/USAID. She is a board member of the Women’s Funding Alliance and iLEAP and has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Wandsworth Women’s Aid UK, a domestic violence shelter. She previously served on the board of directors of Neighborhood House and on the board of the Refugee Women’s Alliance (Seattle). Ada holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, and a Master of Arts in Development Studies from Bradford University, England.