The Diverse City Fund is a collective of three main groups (our Board of Instigators, Grantmaking Teams and Staff) that together help drive our mission, accomplish our goals and practice community-based philanthropy.
Meet our people…
Board of Instigators
The Board of Instigators (BOI) is a group of volunteer activists, organizers, and DC area residents who commit to multi-year terms. Collectively, they are responsible for steering our strategic planning, participating in the broader philanthropic community, fundraising, and the designing our grant programs. Click photo for bio.
Prior to joining Ed Forward, she was the founding Executive Director of My School DC, the common application and lottery system for district and public charter schools in Washington, DC. She grew up in Ohio and has lived in Chicago and Bangalore, but has been proud to call DC home since 2009. Sujata holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from the University of Chicago and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
She also serves on the boards of the Paul J. Aicher Foundation/Everyday Democracy, which works to advance deliberative democracy and improve the quality of public life in the United States; and Women’s Equity Center and Action Network with the mission to provide women of color with tools and resources to facilitate their engagement in the policymaking that affects their daily lives.
He grew up in California and has had the privilege of calling DC home since 2016. Jordan holds a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology from Whittier College, and a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition from George Washington University. He is a life-long learner committed to changing institutional policies, practices, and procedures with a truly intersectional equity lens (race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age) that allows individuals, families, and communities to thrive.
Throughout her professional career, she has served various marginalized populations primarily comprised of communities of color. A large portion of her career has been spent designing, managing and implementing programs designed to meet the multifaceted needs of the underserved. She has years of organizational experience providing case management, crisis intervention, supervision, group facilitation, training, consultation, and project management within organizations serving domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, perpetrators, and vulnerable populations within DC. Ms. Dawson is deeply committed to the development of anti-violence prevention and intervention efforts designed to address the intersecting issues of racial, gender and economic oppression. She currently serves as the Deputy Director of the DC Rape Crisis Center. Ms. Dawson is also a former 2020 Leadership Education and Advancement of Professionals (LEAP) fellow, a program funded by the Office of Violence Against Women. Ms. Dawson holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland with a specialization in Social Action and Community Development.
She has been with Jews United for Justice since 2010. Before then, she worked in dialogue and education on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict both in the US and Israel/Palestine, studied in yeshiva in New York, and worked as a professional theater artist, teacher, and community organizer in Hong Kong and Philadelphia. She studied theater and education at Swarthmore College and was a Fulbright Fellow in Sri Lanka. Rebecca lives in Petworth with her partner and child, and spends a lot of time building radical religious community.
Richael brings to the Board of Instigators over a decade within the healing justice movement as a former organizer, and has been shaped by queer Black feminist lineages. They commit their time in the healing arts as a folk healing practitioner within the conjure tradition, healing culture facilitator and consultant, writer and essayist, performance artist, radical lawyer, among other roles. They are eager to deepen conversations on themes of reparative justice and other futurist lens around resources and where they go.
Her natural ability of connecting individuals to perceptions outside of systemic socializations, (racism, classism, misogyny, etc) have led to her experience as an advocate, a trainer with both Jobs With Justice and P.I.S.A.B., volunteering with groups who understand the value of having a community member perspective at the idea phase of creation, and working full time as a consultant throughout local and national groups. Nkechi currently uses her real life narrative to help organizations rethink, explore, and reshape what they offer to their communities. She now extends her full expertise as a consultant and sits on the boards of The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Diverse City Fund, and as a co-owner of Service to Justice. (www.service2justice.com)
She is also a lover of creativity, eating, coffee with creamer, and is an author, currently working on a number of books.
Through his past roles at The Washington Peace Center, The Potter’s House Cafe and Bookstore, and The Festival Center, he worked to support and grow local movements for justice. His approach to radical politics is informed by religion, queer theory, and post/colonial studies. On quiet days, he enjoys reading and long distance running.
For 10 years, Farah directed the tenant organizing program at the Latino Economic Development Center, where she led affordable housing campaigns, supported tenant associations to preserve their housing, and became a local tenant rights and affordable housing nerd and champion. Farah is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker, with a focus on trauma-informed community building. She is currently working as a consultant supporting local social justice organizations and can regularly be found at playgrounds and story times (with her toddler), writing on big pieces of paper, and teaching empowerment self-defense.
Before receiving her Master of Library & Information Science degree from the University of Maryland, she was a researcher in the labor movement for nearly ten years, supporting strategic organizing campaigns in the healthcare and retail industries. She got her start in social justice organizing by working on the living wage campaign at Swarthmore College, from which she graduated in 2004. Cathy grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia and has lived in DC since 2006.
She trains and facilitates conversations for non profits and groups around racial equity and inclusion; community organizing and client engagement; advocacy; strategic growth and planning and navigating change and conflict. Nicole is a proud graduate of Trinity University (Washington DC) with a degree in Political Science. She is an AmeriCorps Vista Alum. She is a poet and believes in the power of the arts to transform lives and communities.
Included in his diverse work history have been stints as Director of the DC Mediation Service, Senior Manager for Curriculum and Training at NeighborWorks America, Head Track and Field Coach at Catholic University, Lead Community Organizer for PACT US, and a founding member of the Spiritual Warrior Society. As a lifelong resident of the Last Colony (Washington, DC), he is extremely interested in and committed to helping grassroots organizations fulfill their mission and goals for the betterment of the city. In addition to his professional experience, he also had the opportunity to travel internationally in his youth as a track and field athlete, which opened up his desire to experience and learn from other cultures. Continuing to both be a lifelong learner and teacher is his major life goal.
She serves the public interest sector (nonprofits and government) working independently and with RoadMap (www.roadmapconsulting.org), the premier network of social justice consultants – serving on its core team and racial justice action team. Using an intersectional lens to support power-sharing, she directed a $4 million collaborative at Ms. Foundation for Women, co-authored Embracing Cultural Competency and created the Cultural Competency Institute to promote equity. She played a key role in forming Diverse City Fund, and Train the Movement (offering training/facilitation to strengthen racial justice activism). Brigette has taught at universities in Philadelphia and DC, worked as a journalist covering Capitol Hill, and done public policy advocacy as an attorney for a national association. Brigette is a graduate of Howard University (B.A.), Georgetown University (J.D.), and University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D. studies). She continually cultivates skill and enriches perspective through communities of practice such as Art of Transformational Consulting, Gestalt Center for Organization Systems Development, and Shannon Leadership Institute.
She has 10 years of experience fundraising and organizing in behind-the-scenes roles to support movements for racial and social justice in DC and nationally. Prior to joining Building Bridges, she served as the field associate at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and then as donor relations Manager at Higher Achievement, an education nonprofit for middle school youth in DC. Originally from Georgia, Beth has Bachelor’s degrees in History and Sociology from the University of Georgia. She has called DC home since 2011 and spends her time gardening, hosting friends, and participating in the Ward 4 Mutual Aid network.
As an independent consultant, she helps organizations make sense of their financial information, guiding them to use the information to drive strategic decisions. Since 2009, she has consulting on a wide variety of projects, including strategic business plans, interim CFO and CEO, review of financial management systems and implementation of changes, endowment tracking and planning, and sustainability and alternative revenue proposals. Before starting her own consulting business, Jane served as the Chief Operating Officer for the District of Columbia Primary Care Association (DCPCA). In the private sector, she served as CEO of a DC and Maryland based health insurance organization focused exclusively on enrolling low income Medicaid recipients. In the government sector, she started the managed care program for DC Government’s Medicaid program in the mid-90s. She is a former adjunct faculty at Georgetown University teaching Strategic Planning and Health Promotion to Health Management and Administration undergraduates.
Diana most recently fundraised on behalf of disenfranchised migrant and women workers from Mexico, Honduras, Uzbekistan, and China. Currently, she is committed to helping address the income disparity for DC Latinas and advancing the voice and position of women of color within the philanthropic and non-profit world. She currently serves as an Advisory Member to the Non-Profit Worker’s Union and as American University’s Latinx Alumni Alliance Co-Chair.
DC Fund Staff members primarily facilitate our daily operations, grants management and provide capacity building and professional development support to our grantees. Click photo for bio.
Tamira Benitez is a near life-long Washingtonian who immigrated from El Salvador at 13.
Displaced from her country after a US-sponsored decade-long civil war, Tamira and her family found their first home in a rent-controlled efficiency apartment near Mt. Pleasant. She quickly realized her new city had resources but these were inaccessible to poor residents like her. She spent most of her teens learning English, caring for her two younger sisters, and working to become the first one of her family to attend college. After graduating from college, Tamira returned to DC to fight for social change.
Tamira brings over ten years of nonprofit experience, where she led teams in helping communities of color (the global majority) preserve affordable housing, start and grow their businesses, and create communities of opportunity. She also brings policy experience from her most recent work with Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George and her work mobilizing communities to strengthen housing and immigrants’ rights.
Tamira served in various leadership positions at the DC Council, the Latino Economic Development Center, the Small Business Development Center, and the Local Initiative Support Corporation. She also served in community groups and committees such as the DC Language Access Coalition, DC Coalition for Immigrants’ Rights, and DC Fund’s Grantmaking team.
Tamira is a graduate of the University of San Diego where she obtained a Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She holds a Bachelor’s in International Relations and a Bachelor’s in Japanese Language and Culture from Beloit College.
Tamira lives in the Brightwood neighborhood of NW DC with her wife and dog where they spend their free time gardening, having bonfires, and cooking with friends and family.
Before joining the Diverse City Fund staff, Rubie served as Deputy Director of the Moriah Fund in Washington, DC. She was responsible for directing and managing the foundation’s economic justice and reproductive justice grantmaking nationally and in the DC region.
Prior to joining Moriah in 1999, Rubie served as Co-Director of Women Work!, a national women’s workforce development organization. Rubie received a Master in Public Administration degree from American University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College. She is a founding member of both the Black Philanthropic Alliance and Black Benefactors. Rubie is also a former DC Fund Board of Instigators member.
The Grantmaking Teams are made up of local activists and organizers, all of whom identify as people of color. These individuals receive stipends to cooperatively review and choose our grant recipients.
- Travis Ballie
- Tamira Benitez
- Thomas Blanton
- Alana Brown
- Anj Chaudhry
- Michele Crymes
- Winnie Huston
- Kristi Matthews, L. Miller
- Nia Nyamweya
- Brenda Perez
- Roberto Tijerina
- Jabari Zakiya
- Facilitator: Ericka Taylor