Reema Ahmad is a community organizer with experience in political, electoral, and issue-based campaigns. Reema was born and raised in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious family in Milwaukee. She credits her strong belief in civic responsibilities and community-built power with social activism growing up, as well as coming of (political) age post-9/11 in a tight-knit American Muslim community with a history of educational outreach. In her first job after college, working in government affairs, she saw firsthand the consequences of political dis-engagement on the ability of minority communities to see their concerns taken up by elected officials. Identifying a need, Reema collaborated with community leaders to found Project Mobilize, a 501(c)4 organization dedicated to increasing civic participation and representation from politically marginalized communities across Chicago. The effort increased political participation from American Muslim voters by 54 percent and saw 2 of its first-time candidates elected into local offices. Reema later joined Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago, where she led the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment [PAVE] Coalition of 13 social service community-based organizations. She directed strategic community outreach for the Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia mayoral campaign in Chicago, mobilizing political support, money, and votes from across Middle Eastern, Asian, Arab, and Muslim American communities. More recently, Reema was campaign manager for a state representative race in Chicago and the second most diverse district in the country for a grassroots Asian American and Muslim American candidate. Reema is passionate about creating the authentic relationships and mutual investments between diverse communities that will be essential in the next 30 years as the U.S. becomes a minority-majority country. She firmly believes this job will be rooted in community organizing and driven by young people: paving the way for future generations to keep the baton moving forward.
Cliff is a cofounder of Black Voters Matter Fund, which builds community and organizational capacity related to Black voting power. He is also principal consultant at Strategic Cliff Notes. Cliff hosts a weekly radio show in Atlanta, has served as an instructor of African-American Studies and has contributed articles to The Guardian and other online publications. Cliff previously lived in historic Selma, Alabama, where he focused on bringing financial resources to Alabama’s blackbelt region. He incorporates a community organizing perspective based on more than 20 years of social justice Activism. Cliff attended Cornell University, where he obtained his B.S. in Applied Economics and an M.P.S. in Africana Studies. He also has an M.B.A. from the University of Alabama.
Adriana is a campaign/community organizer with a focus in field strategy. After campaigning all over the east coast, she shifted her focus and efforts into working with our labor brothers and sisters and their political movements. She also has also dabbled in the technological aspect of political work by working with companies such as NGPVAN. At this point in time, she is focused on being a support (thru MVP) for other groups doing amazing work on the ground.
Roksana Borzouei is a community organizer with experience in directing electoral and issue-based campaigns and field programs around labor, immigration and racial justice. A writer, organizer and former social justice educator, Roksana was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up in Tampa, Florida navigating life in post-9/11 America as an Iranian-American. She is committed to supporting youth leaders in growing a strong movement. She has previously worked as an organizing fellow for the 2012 Obama for America campaign and as a policy intern for the National Iranian American Council. She designed NIAC’s youth and student engagement program that serves as their organizing model today. As a student organizer, she worked to build a coalition of Southwest Asian and North African students to receive institutional support and to begin organizing together around shared struggles. Recently, she was a research aide to Dr. Neda Maghbouleh for her book “The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race.” Roksana holds an AB in International Relations from Brown University.
Eric has been an organizer for the past 22 years, starting on campus at the University of Wisconsin. Co-founded United Students Against Sweatshops in late 90s and organized students nationwide around international and domestic labor issues for several years. Organizer with SEIU since 2001. Led property services organizing in Florida for 10 years including a two-month strike of University of Miami janitors and groundskeepers in 2006 to form a union and a successful organizing drive of UM’s food service workers in 2013. Director of SEIU Florida State Council starting in 2014, working to build a statewide community union and political strategy with SEIU members and community allies. Now focused on working with labor, community, and political organizations to build progressive infrastructure across Florida toward a long-term vision of economic and governing power.
As a National Organizer at Resource Generation for four years, Iris developed the skills to mentor, fundraise and organize young people with wealth who care deeply about social justice. She then started her own business to make more impactful one-on-one change for philanthropic leaders and individual donors. Iris is a certified coach (CPCC) in the Co-Active model.
Iris is excited to join the MVP team to help donors boldly fund the grassroots organizing that will help win 2020 election, and to support donors to take on political giving for the long-haul. We got this!!
LaTosha Brown is an award-winning community organizer, philanthropic consultant, jazz singer and political strategist with over twenty years of experience working in the non-profit and philanthropy sectors on a wide variety of issues related to social justice, economic development, leadership development, wealth creation and civil rights. She is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, principal owner of TruthSpeaks Consulting, Inc., and a founding member of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. For more than 25 years, she has served as a consultant and advisor for individual donors, various public foundations and private donors. Throughout her career, Ms. Brown has distinguished herself as a trusted expert and resource in community organizing, rural development and special programming for a number of national and regional philanthropies. She has consulted and advised foundations including the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, the Black Belt Community Foundation, Friends of New Orleans, New World Foundation, Open Society Institute, Surdna Foundation, Community Foundation of South Alabama, Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, Ibis Partners Investment Group and the Tides Foundation.
Andrea Catone is an organizer, network analyst, and movement strategist with a passion for helping grassroots leaders build relationships and capacity. Andrea has spent more than 9 years building and studying movement networks, including co-founding networks of progressive grassroots leaders like Action Together Network (ATN). Guided by her training as a sociologist, Andrea observes and analyzes network activity to assess needs and respond with targeted resources, connections, and support. As a public scholar, writer, and doctoral candidate at Rutgers University, Andrea also devotes time and research to intervening in and breaking cycles of the effects of trauma by investigating how these consequences operate socially, epigenetically, and across generations.
Regina has been serving in leadership roles at social justice non-profits, electoral campaigns, and film impact companies for over 15 years. She has led political, policy, film impact, and organizing teams at organizations like Planned Parenthood, the L.A. LGBT Center, Freedom to Marry, Blue State Digital, Brave New Films, and Shella Films (UNREST, 2017). She has a speciality in persuasion messaging around divisive issues, deep canvassing, building and managing strong grassroots teams both online and offline to make concrete change, and designing and implementing issue and candidate campaigns that deal with economic, racial, health, and environmental justice. She is a Los Angeles native who has a B.A in Urban & Environmental Policy from Occidental College and currently lives in Boise, ID.
Robbie Dunning is a poet, performer, artist and educator who works with MVP to support operational work, as well as develop and maintain graphics. Born and raised in rural Virginia, Robbie believes in the power of representation, storytelling, and creative community. They prize working with writers and performers of all ages to help hone their craft and clarify their stories. Robbie holds a Bachelor of the Arts in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College. You can find their design work woven throughout the Movement 2016 Annual report and a variety of MVP logos and presentations. More information on their poetry and performances can be found here.
Elizabeth Fernandez is a writer, communicator, and longtime activist who has spent years supporting immigrant communities, LGBTQ rights, domestic violence survivors, the labor movement, civic engagement, and more. Born and raised in South Florida to immigrant parents, she developed a deep passion early on for creating change in her community that drove her to service. She’s worked with broad coalitions of nonprofits and community groups on voter education and GOTV campaigns, led online mobilization efforts that have garnered worldwide attention, and has helped register thousands of new voters while serving on the board of Engage Miami, a nonprofit dedicated to youth civic engagement. Through her volunteer work, she has supported a wide range of nonprofits, including Women in Distress, Code for Miami, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Her experience includes more than a decade of working in communications, publishing, and media, including previously serving as communications manager for Florida Immigrant Coalition and FLIC Votes, communications director of SEIU Florida, and managing editor of The New Tropic. She’s also been selected for fellowships with the New Leaders Council, the Center for Community Change Action, and the ReFrame Mentorship program. Currently, she and her wife live in Orlando, Florida.
John executes the daily operational and financial needs of Movement Voter Project and its many programs. He holds a B.A. in Business from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he also studied Social Thought & Political Economy. He has nearly 20 years of management experience in different industries. John is originally from Texas, but grew up in Cambridge where he first developed a love of coffee and a commitment to social and environmental justice. Outside of work John is an endurance athlete and lives with his family in Northampton, MA.
Dr. Franklin is the President of Ktisis Capital through which he serves as a strategic advisor to a mix of progressive individual donors, families, foundations and philanthropic collaboratives including the Movement Voter Project, Peterffy Foundation, Conflict Transformation Fund, and the Progressive Political Power Fund. He also serves as the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy. As holder of the nation’s first endowed chair focused on community philanthropy, he engages in research, teaching, service, and thought leadership to explore and advance the field, nationally and internationally. He serves as board chair of the Proteus Fund; co-founder and chair of the Solidaire Donor Network; and on the boards of the Threshold Foundation and Michigan Civic Education Fund. He is an advisory board member of Our LGBT Fund at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and is a member of the Smithsonian’s Philanthropy Working Group, Threshold’s High Impact Documentary Funding Circle, Democracy Alliance, West Michigan Progressive PAC, and WINGS: Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. Prior to his appointment as the Kellogg Chair, he served as Executive Director of Bolder Giving, an organization that inspired people to give big & take more risks with their philanthropy and was credited by Melinda Gates as an inspiration for the billionaire Giving Pledge. He received his PhD in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where he also held an appointment for ten years as an award-winning adjunct professor teaching about philanthropy and social change.
Michael Gast is a social justice donor organizer and fundraiser. Michael got his start with Resource Generation (RG) in 2002 when he attended his first Making Money Make Change Retreat. Since then, he has organized thousands of young people with wealth to use their resources and privilege in support of equity and justice, moving tens of millions of dollars towards social change causes nationally and internationally. He spent 6.5 years as a staff person with RG, first as Family Philanthropy Coordinator, organizing young people involved in their families’ funds, and then as Co-Director and Associate Director. Since leaving RG in 2014, Michael has been Interim Development Director at generative somatics (gs) and with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) as well as a development consultant with both Thousand Currents and Chinese Progressive Association. In these positions, he has led highly successful individual donor campaigns, helped build major donor programs from the ground up, and supported and trained leaders in making successful individual fundraising asks. Currently, Michael is working with Justice Funders to help East Bay Community Foundation develop a new model for progressive donor organizing inside a community foundation. Michael is a 5th generation San Franciscan, and lives in Oakland with his wife and three year old son.
Amber Goodwin has spent the last 18 years working for advocacy, grassroots, and electoral campaigns. Since 2016, Amber has also served as the Founder and Executive Director of the Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF) and the Community Justice Reform Coalition. She started her career working on legislative affairs for Congressman Robert Menendez and Congressman Donald Payne. Amber has held political positions and appointments at the Wendy Davis for Governor Campaign, SEIU Justice for Janitors Campaign, Obama for America, the Texas State Legislature, Grassroots Solutions consulting firm, and Mobilize.org. Named to the 2018 Essence Magazine “Woke 100”, 2017 Root 100 List of the most influential African Americans, the 2016 Women’s “Power50” list for Walkers Legacy, she is a Next Gen Fellow with the University of Texas Strauss School for International Security and Law. Amber has been profiled in Forbes, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Grio, Newsweek, and various other news outlets. She was awarded the 2012 Google PDF Fellowship award, and has traveled as a delegate to both Taiwan and Vietnam on behalf of the United States for bi-cultural exchanges.
Korina is a graduate from Arizona State University with a BS in Human Communications and a minor in Political Science. She often shares her personal story of navigating the education system as an undocumented/DACA student because her journey to finish college led her to the world of community activism and organizing. It was in the tight knit community of social justice organizing in Arizona that she found her calling as a community organizer and where she found her new chosen family. Korina served as Campaign Manager for the Instate for DACA and the Let Dreamers Drive efforts, two important advocacy campaigns in her state to help move the rights of immigrant youth forward.Her passion for education equity led her to co found Undocumented Students for Education Equity and to mentor undocumented college students on the power of organizing. In 2016 she was part of the historic BAZTA Arpaio movement which helped successful end the reign of the infamous sheriff. Her most recent endeavors have included working on state wide and city electoral campaigns as a Field Director and Advisor. She enjoys writing during her downtime and is published by several online publications and most recently in a collective of social justice resistance essays. “Doing work with a sense of purpose is important to me, and I am fortunate to have the privilege to pursue this type of work that fills my soul everyday” – Korina Iribe
Since 2006, Tony Mack has consulted to grassroots organizations, providing strategic support around what is now called integrated voter engagement — electoral organizing, policy advocacy and grassroots base-building. Since early 2017, he has also been advising progressive donors around 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) funding strategies. From May – November of 2016, Tony ran a coordinated campaign of New Hampshire’s c3 and c4 base-building organizations to increase turnout among the lowest turnout voters in the state’s urban communities. From 2012 to 2016, Tony served as Director of the Massachusetts’ State Voices affiliate, the MA Voter Table, a network of community-based c3’s doing civic engagement organizing in low-income communities and communities of color. From 1998-2005, Tony worked for Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, first as an organizer and then regional director, organizing residents of low-income communities and progressive coalitions around economic justice issues and elections. Previously, he spent five years working in international development, as a consultant and program officer collaborating with non-governmental organizations in Latin America. He has a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University.
Jamila Martin is a founding Co-Director of 482Forward, an education organizing network in Detroit. She was born and raised in Boston, MA, and graduated from Harvard with a BA in Government. After organizing in college with United Students Against Sweatshops, she became a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Jamila spent the next decade organizing parents, students, educators, and community members in Detroit to win strong and equitable public education. Jamila loves dogs, pizza, and home renovation shows.
Alex is a designer, developer, and organizer based in Madison, WI. He has built sites and web tools for organizations including Movement Voter Project, Democracy in Color, VOTE MOB, Student Power Network, #NoRA, and Ready for Warren. Alex has previously worked as a field organizer for Bernie 2016, a researcher and organizer with Corporate Action Network, a writer at Environment America, and as a cook. Alex also serves on the Board of Directors of the World Fellowship Center, an activist retreat and family vacation center in the White Mountains. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University.
Jodeen has nearly two decades of experience leading movement and field building initiatives that center gender and racial equity. Whether it be through building national field infrastructure, running national civic engagement programs, or organizing and advocacy, Jodeen is recognized by the field for leading innovative projects that build cross-sector strategic partnerships and advance values-based campaigns. Her past experience includes Program Officer at the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund where she led work funding voter participation, civic engagement and state-based strategies. She previously served as the Vice President of Campaigns & Partnerships at Demos, Campaigns Director for the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, and Deputy-Field Director for MoveOn.org. She also serves on several boards, including as the Board Chair for the Movement Strategy Center.
As a SouthWest born Chicana from a family of sheep ranchers, Jodeen brings a strong movement building orientation to her work, and is a practitioner of social change strategies that integrate normative and cultural change work with systems change and structural transformation. In 2017 she and her partner launched a major new collaboration called Baby Alé. They are parenting from Brooklyn, NY but as frequently as possible they escape to her natural mountain habitat in Colorado and New Mexico.
Originally from Ciudad Juarez, in Chihuahua, Mexico, Myrna Orozco immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 4. She has been organizing locally and nationally for over a decade and has joined MVP as Director of State Partnerships. Before joining MVP she worked as the Sanctuary Communications and Organizing Associate for Church World Service (CWS), where she helped coordinate the National Sanctuary Movement. In this capacity Myrna worked with coalitions across the country and provided training and technical assistance for those engaging in Sanctuary work. She also began a leadership development program for people directly impacted and continues to carry on some of that support in her current role at MVP. Myrna has also served in various capacities with immigrant rights organizations, serving as the Associate Director for the United We Dream Network (UWD) and as board president for the Immigrant Justice Advocacy Movement (IJAM). IJAM is the only immigrant-led, interfaith, community organization that is solely focused on immigration issues in the Kansas City metro area. She is a recipient of various awards including the prestigious Ohtli Award presented by the Mexican Embassy as well as the First Annual John Backer Award from Church World Service for outstanding advocacy for immigrants’ and refugees’ rights. Myrna currently resides in Houston, TX.
Carolina is originally from Coahuila, Mexico and at the age of 4 migrated with her family to Southeast Texas. She began organizing in her rural town to create solidarity between marginalized communities and has organized nationally and locally for 10 years. Before joining MVP, she served as the Education Equity Manager for the United We Dream Network (UWDN) where she led national and local campaigns to increase access to higher education for undocumented immigrant youth. Prior to that, she served as the Own the Dream Coordinator and led national DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) programs in Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, and Arizona. In 2013, she co-founded the Houston site and chapter United We Dream Houston to serve, empower and organize families beyond DACA. Due to immense curiosity and commitment to her community, she has worn many hats in the movement including trainer and data manager. She graduated from Lamar University with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish and lives in Houston, Texas.
Montague Simmons, is a community organizer and human rights activist. As MVP’s Local Justice Director, he supports and connects local justice alliances, as well as local criminal justice related electoral and advocacy campaigns (ie. district attorneys, sheriffs, judges, closing jails, and passing state and local policies). A native of St. Louis, Montague has worked to build movements locally and nationally that are rooted in building Black political power and self-determination, advancing the leadership of oppressed nationalities and gender identities and centering the most marginalized. During the Ferguson Uprisings, Montague was a co-convener of the Don’t Shoot Coalition and at the time led the Organization for Black Struggle. Since leaving OBS he has continued to work to build just economy, confront police violence and to build alternative structures to advance participatory and protagonist democracy.
Montague is also a leader in the campaign to Close the Workhouse, which aims to close the horrific medium security facility in St. Louis, end the city’s unconstitutional pre-trial detention practices, and shift public safety resources toward a focus on Community Wellness. He continues to be a part of the growing ecosystem of organizations that are the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). With its beginnings in the Ferguson Uprisings the M4BL has engaged some of the most brilliant and visionary Black thinkers and organizers of our day and through cooperation and coordination has now taken the mantle to continue our generations long fight for liberation.
Kati Sipp is the Principal of New Working Majority, a consulting firm. She is also the editor of the blog Hack the Union, which focuses on the intersections of work, organizing and technology. Prior to her work with NWM, she served as the Managing Director for the National Guestworkers Alliance. She founded the Pennsylvania affiliate of the Working Families Party, and spent nine years working for SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, serving as the statewide Political Director and Executive Vice President of the local.
Kati began working with SEIU in California in 1997, where she was an internal organizer, working with classified school employees. She left California in 1999 to move back to the East Coast, and worked for the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, where she organized mothers who were affected by changes in the state’s welfare policy. After leaving PUP, she spent time as the director of the Jobs with Justice affiliate in Philadelphia, before going back to SEIU.
Kati is the proud mother of Alina and Isaac. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.
Eugenio Smith, a Wisconsin-born social justice advocate, brings over 14 years of community and political organizing, social justice education, training and facilitation, leadership development and organizational coaching experience to their consulting work. Eugenio, who uses they/them pronouns, currently supports leaders and social justice organizations to create engaging educational and political campaigns that forge results by lifting up intersectional frameworks with high-impact skills building. Eugenio served the reproductive justice movement as Capacity Building Manager for Western States Center where they worked with organizations to be more inclusive for all and to become reproductive, LGBTQ, immigrant and racial justice champions. Prior to Western States, Eugenio was Program Director at Equality Utah, where they worked to advance LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy. Before moving west, Eugenio worked for Equality Maryland, focusing on coalition building, leadership management, community education, and organizing for transgender inclusive nondiscrimination policy, the DREAM Act, and marriage equality in the legislature and at the ballot box.
Naomi Sobel has ten years of experience in the donor organizing and social change sectors. A writer, organizer, fundraising coach, and queer Jewish femme, she grew up in New York and now lives in Boston. Most recently, Naomi spent five years on staff at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, raising funds from individual donors to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. Naomi serves on the board of a family foundation, the Tikkun Olam Foundation, and on the steering committee of Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue; she also spent two years on the planning committee for Making Money Make Change, an annual gathering where approximately 100 young people explore issues related to wealth, privilege, philanthropy, and participation in grassroots movements for justice and equality. Naomi holds an AB in Gender Studies and Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago and an MA in American Studies from Columbia University.
Lisa is a lifelong activist who started out at age 16 as a rural youth organizer for Young Democrats of Oregon. She is known for her outstanding contributions to the environmental movement in Russia, where her 30th birthday was celebrated on national TV.
As Principal of Philanthropy Vision – a consultancy for family foundations and individual donors – since 2002, Lisa is focused on the question of “gaps,” where a little bit of money, strategically applied (to a group you’ve probably never heard of!) can swing everything. Lisa has been giving workshops on political giving for progressive donors since 2016.
Lisa has also advised larger philanthropies such as Hewlett Foundation, John and Wauna Harman Foundation, Global Greengrants Fund, Changemakers, and Women’s Funding Network. She is part-time Executive Director at Callison Foundation, which funds educational equity and senior services in the Bay Area. A Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy and a Certified Coach, Lisa holds a B.A. from Amherst College.
Lisa brings passion, irreverence, and an adventurous perspective to her work. A fan of the path rarely taken, each summer she designs and attempts a unique, solo off-trail backpacking route across the Sierra and back. She lives in Oakland, California.
Joshua Vincent is a musician and a community organizer. He previously served as a lead organizer and African American outreach coordinator for the 2008 Obama for America campaign (Obama 1.0) and as the State Coordinator & Political Director for the NC NAACP in 2012. In 2014 Josh was the Field Director for Ignite NC and currently works for the Movement Voter Project. As a musician, Joshua has worked with Grammy award winning poets, vocalists and producers such as J. Ivy, Tarrey Torrae, and Buckwild and 9th Wonder. Joshua is also one half of the musical production/hip hop duo Beatnam Vets. They have opened for artists such as Erykah Badu and Lupe Fiasco. Josh and his brother co-wrote part of the score for the second season of Arron McGruder’s The Boondocks on Cartoon Network. Recently, the twin scored the first documentary on the uprising in Ferguson called “Ferguson a Report from an Occupied Territory”, featured on the Fusion Network.
Billy has 20 years of experience in journalism (published in Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc), social entrepreneurship (co-founded several organizations including the League of Young Voters, Ready for Warren, Solidaire, and Rebuild the Dream), philanthropy (co-founded Solidaire and consults for individual donors and family foundations), and consulting (Obama Campaign, MoveOn.org, Rock the Vote, Ohio Democratic Party, Green For All).
The core of their work focuses on the lived and inherited experiences of women of color and queer + trans people. Over the years, Syd has worked extensively with young women, queer folks + emerging artists as a counselor and coach, as well as a philanthropic advisor and giving coach to families + young inheritors working to align their resources and power with social justice values. They are the author of several books and curriculum on philanthropy and healing justice, such as: The World Belongs to Us: Young Women, Leadership + Philanthropy (2003), Legacy + Innovation (values based giving in families) (2007), and Release: A Bulimia Story (2018). In the early 2000s, Syd served as a Senior Program Officer at the Women’s Foundation of California then later joined Changemakers as their Program Director. Syd also was on the board of Resource Generation for several years and was an early contributor to the racial justice and donor of color organizing work with RG.
In all areas of their work, Syd supports individuals and communities in balancing the energies of their bodies that are rooted in trauma, limiting beliefs and negative emotions that may be creating internal resistance to a sense of wholeness, spiritual well-being and liberation.