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.
Solomé Lemma is a philanthropist, activist, and organizer. She co-founded and directs the innovative Africans in the Diaspora platform that aims to unleash the philanthropic and intellectual capital of the Diaspora to advance sustainable development in Africa. Currently, she is one of the leading forces behind Africa Responds, including #UnitedAgainstEbola. Previously, she served as a Global Fund for Children’s Senior Program Officer for Africa for over five years, managing a large portfolio that included work with over 100 grassroots organizations in about 25 countries. Solome is also co-founder and coordinator of HornLight, an online platform that promotes diverse, nuanced, and dignified narratives on the Horn of Africa. Solome has also worked with the UN Development Programme in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch in New York City, and International Rescue Committee in Liberia. Solome received a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and an undergraduate degree in international relations from Stanford University. Solome was recently recognized as a White House Champion of Change for her work with Diaspora communities and featured in both Forbes and Washington Post. She was also named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on twitter” at @innovateafrica.
DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPIC PARTNERSHIPS
Rajiv is engaged in strategy development, assisting program staff in linking impact evaluation with ongoing program planning and improvement, and positioning IDEX as a learning resource for grassroots development. He plays a leading role in organizing the IDEX Academy and developing learning resources aimed at engaging and educating a new generation of culturally competent international development professionals. He is currently serving as the Coordinator of the San Francisco Local Engagement Group of Exponent Philanthropy and is active with the Harmony Initiative Working Group of the Bay Area Justice Funders Network. A professionally trained historian of international relations with expertise in Modern Europe, South Asia, and the Cold War, Rajiv has designed and taught college-level courses at universities across the U.S. He also led the Indian Diaspora Oral History Project, a community-centered project focused on South Asian immigrants in Silicon Valley, as part of the Silicon Valley Immigration Center at San Jose State University. He brings an in-depth knowledge of program evaluation and policy formulation at the highest levels, along with extensive experience in leadership, critical analysis, research, writing, community outreach, and a deep commitment to peace, justice and human freedom. Rajiv has a BA in English and History from Newman University in Wichita, KS, and a MA in history from The Ohio State University. A native of Bombay, he is a published poet and writer and enjoys cooking, the outdoors, the ocean, reading, traveling and is a cricket fanatic.
Jenesha (Jinky) de Rivera
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Jinky oversees the financial, human resource and organizational effectiveness functions at IDEX. As part of the senior management team, Jinky brings nearly twenty years of experience in leadership, technical expertise and strategic thinking. Their experience directing nonprofit financial operations spans human rights and social justice organizations in the bay area and New York city, including 826 Valencia, Tides and the Audre Lorde Project. Jinky currently serves as the Treasurer on the Leadership Sangha of the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), which strives to foster liberation, personal and interpersonal healing, social action and inclusive community building. Jinky was also the Board Treasurer for Out Right International, a US based international organization that addresses human rights violations and abuses against LGBTIQ people. A native New Yorker, Jinky moved to Oakland in 2004 where they earned their MFA in English & Creative Writing at Mills College. They are the co-editor of the anthology Homelands: Women’s Journeys Across Race, Place and Time (Seal Press, ed. 2007). Jinky continues to write for the stage, page and screen with organizations such as Bindlestiff Studio, National Queer Arts Festival, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP), Voices of our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA), Litquake, Kearny Street Workshop and was once a member of Kreatibo, a queer [email protected] artist collective based in the bay area.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, LATIN AMERICA
A native of Peru, Katherine has been with the IDEX team since 2005 specializing in building partnerships, bridging networks and advocating for social justice giving. Katherine leads IDEX’s programs in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru and has played a leading role in amplifying innovative models and solutions in women’s rights, food sovereignty and economic justice from IDEX Partners in the Global South to key audiences in U.S. and European philanthropy, including millennials and diaspora groups. She is also an experienced alliance builder and has connected like minded Global Northern and Southern organizations and movements so that they can share analysis, take joint action and advance global movements for social justice. Katherine′s most illuminating experience was volunteering with an indigenous women-led organization in Guatemala (and current IDEX partner) called AFEDES for 5 months, supporting their economic development and training programs. Katherine is an advocate in the food sovereignty movement and participates actively in the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance and is the co-chair for the Latin American Funders Working Group, hosted at the International Human Rights Funders Group. She has also written numerous insightful articles and blogs that champion indigenous cosmovision, activism, and highlight how indigenous women’s leadership and resilience is at the heart of dignified livelihoods and a sustainable ecosystem. Katherine earned a Masters in International Relations from San Francisco State University.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, ASIA
Trishala Deb has worked at the intersection of a variety of issues – including immigrant and refugee rights, gender justice, anti-violence and militarization, community organizing based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and supporting the capacity building efforts of emerging grassroots organizations. Previously, she worked the Caring Across Generations campaign – bringing together home care workers, consumers, and families. She also coordinated a program for immigrants at the Audre Lorde Project, a community organizing center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, and trans people of color in New York City; and has worked with the Arcus Foundation and Public Interest Projects. Trishala has served on the advisory board of the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and worked with Migrant Rights International as well as the Steering Committee of Grassroots Global Justice to connect issues of migration, sustainable development, and economic justice with organizations in the Global South as well as the United States.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, AFRICA
As an African of Eritrean origin, Luam has worked in and with social movements on the continent and in the diaspora for close to a decade at the intersections of self-determination, food sovereignty and cultural production. She received a Masters from McGill University with a thesis that focused on the liberatory value of cultural production. Through popular education, Luam has sought to spark insurgent imagination and create improvisations of freedom. She is the co-curator of NSOROMMA, a pan-African arts initiative and has written several publications and articles on radical transformation in Africa. Prior to joining IDEX, Luam worked with several philanthropic and social change initiatives as a researcher and strategist on food sovereignty, youth programming, gender and sexuality.
Stephanie de Wolfe
DIRECTOR OF DIASPORA PARTNERSHIPS
Stephanie de Wolfe is a committed advocate of grassroots-driven change. She grew up moving across Africa, and is a co-founder of Africans in the Diaspora (AiD), which aims to unleash the philanthropic and intellectual capital of the Diaspora to advance sustainable development in Africa. She previously led AiD’s grants program and contributes to its ongoing strategic development. She also worked as a grant-maker for the Global Fund for Children, managing partnerships and exchange with community-based organizations throughout Africa and overseeing the foundation’s digital media projects. Stephanie has led and worked on several campaigns and initiatives focused on inclusion and advocacy of marginalized groups, like the recent Africa Responds campaign which
Joanna Levitt Cea
DIRECTOR OF BUEN VIVIR FUND
Joanna Levitt Cea is an advocate, facilitator and researcher for investment that honors our earth and human rights. As Director of the Buen Vivir Fund for IDEX, Joanna works closely with IDEX partners and funder peers to create new models in both grantmaking and investment. She is deeply inspired by all she continues to learn from IDEX partners in how we can re-imagine an economy that truly supports all of our well being. From 2006-2014, Joanna served as Executive Director of the International Accountability Project (IAP). Under her leadership, IAP won precedent-setting policies for ensuring citizen participation and human rights safeguards at global financial institutions including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and Asian Development Bank. Prior to joining IAP, Joanna worked as a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador with the Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales, and as a John Gardner Fellow with the Center for International Environmental Law, in Washington D.C. She is a Board member of International Accountability Project and an Advisory Board member for the Transform Finance Investor Network. Joanna is also currently a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Global Projects Center, where she is advancing research on emerging best practices for co-creative design of social change.
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Given that her hometown of Bruning, Nebraska, USA has a population of just 248 people, it’s no wonder that Jennifer Lentfer found her true calling in accompanying small, local organizations to be strong forces for social change. Jennifer has worked with over 300 grassroots organizations in east and southern Africa over the past decade. In 2010, she created the blog how-matters.org to help place community-driven initiatives at the forefront of international aid, philanthropy, and social enterprise, and in 2012 she was named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter” at @intldogooder. Jennifer is constantly looking for ways to portray the realities of people’s lives, their struggles, their strengths–as well as outsiders’ roles and mistakes–in an impatient, “silver bullet solutions” world. Jennifer has served with various international organizations in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, and the US, including Oxfam, the Red Cross, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, and Firelight Foundation. With her students at Georgetown University in 2014, she published “The Development Element: Guidelines for the future of communicating about the end of global poverty” and her first book, Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, co-edited with Tanya Cothran, is forthcoming in April 2017.
DIRECTOR OF DONOR ORGANIZING
Jessie Spector invites and engages donors and supporters of IDEX to offer their whole selves in support of social justice. Having worked with individual donors and funders for nearly a decade, Jessie is passionately committed to organizing people with financial privilege to be in solidarity and partnership with frontline communities. Prior to joining IDEX, Jessie was the Executive Director of Resource Generation, organizing wealthy people ages 18-35 to become transformative leaders toward a world with the equitable distribution of land, wealth, and power. Jessie deeply believes in the goodness of all people, and the vital role that people with privilege can play in supporting a more just and peaceful world. Jessie serves on the boards of the Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice and Jewish Voice for Peace. When not organizing, Jessie can be found on long bike rides through New England, baking bread, and eating ice cream.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Whittier College, Veronica has always been committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples in both academia and her own community. Veronica was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Argentina, where she designed and taught a syllabus focused on social issues in media and pop culture. She also organized a video production workshop for both teachers and students. After returning stateside and a short stint at a tech company, Veronica recommitted to social change and joined the IDEX team. She brings an eclectic set of skills to the team, ranging from operational support to handling heavy-duty power tools. On her free time, she enjoys live music, cooking soups, building things, writing about the lessons from the “everyday mundane” that she finds incredibly fascinating.
LEARNING AND EVALUATION MANAGER
Hafsa Mustafa is a seasoned researcher, monitoring & evaluation (M&E) expert, educator, and fundraiser with more than a decade of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and corporations internationally and in the United States. As the Learning and Evaluation Manager for IDEX, Hafsa works on evaluating the IDEX Academy, Buen Vivir Fund, and other programs. Her passion to create sector-wide strategic partnerships and promote data-driven decision-making was born in Pakistan, where she worked on designing tools and M&E systems to address these challenges. Major projects include developing tools and systems for RISEPAK – an award-winning project by John Hopkins University and the World Bank; co-establishing M&E systems at Marie Stopes International for the Buffet Foundation Project; leading a qualitative study for the Kennedy School at Harvard University on the Hajj; and advising a University of Illinois research project on first-generation Sub-Saharan Africans. Hafsa is currently an Adjunct Faculty at the University of San Francisco’s School of Management and volunteers her time by working on pro-bono projects for the American Pakistan Foundation and serving on the boards of the UChicago Bay Area Alumni Association and Collaborative Enterprise Exchange. Hafsa earned her Master’s in Public Policy and Program Evaluation from the University of Chicago, and her Bachelor’s in Economics with a minor in Mathematics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
Masaki was born and raised on O’ahu, Hawai’i, and she brings experience in feminist activism and research, community engagement, and fundraising for women’s rights and social change organizations. She holds a Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies and Religious Studies from San Diego State University in California, and a Master’s in Development Studies from the University of Auckland in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Her thesis research focused on the intersections of gender, climate change, and transnational Pacific Island communities. Prior to joining IDEX, Masaki supported a feminist research project exploring gender inequality in the Pacific Islands through the lens of local marketplaces. Previously, she worked at the Global Fund for Women, focusing on donor stewardship and grant writing. She has also worked for Making Contact/International Media Project, and UpsideDowns Education Trust. Masaki enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly when that entails being in or near the the ocean. She is an avid traveler, reader, and information seeker, and a proud aunty to two adorable nephews.
Dino Foxx, born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, is a nationally presented actor, singer, poet, arts educator and activist. They are a founding member of a Queer Xicana/o Performance Poetry Collaborative and a company member with Jump-Start Performance Co. Their poetry has been published in such collections as Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press), the 19th issue of Suspect Thoughts: A Journal of Subversive Writing (2007), and Queer Codex: Chile Love (Evelyn Street Press/allgo). Dino is the author of When the Glitter Fades (2013) and will also be featured in the upcoming poetry collection Joto: An Anthology of Queer Xicano & Chicano Poetry through Kórima Press.