Kolibri Foundation Publishes Statement of Evolution & Commitment

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Kolibri Foundation Publishes Statement of Evolution & Commitment

We are writing to share exciting news about Kolibri Foundation’s evolution and commitment.
We are grateful to be able to officially announce our newly appointed Board and Staff.

Our new formation is looking forward to working together to develop and execute on our plans to redistribute approximately 35 million dollars over the next five years at the intersections of gender, racial and economic justice organizations and communities that center deeper healing and the ending of systemic and interpersonal violence.

While the Kolibri Foundation started as a project of Eileen, Steve, and Leo Farbman, we have spent the last two years transitioning from an inherited family foundation into the Kolibri Foundation, with guidance from Thenjiwe McHarris, Cara Page and Lorraine Ramirez as well as our consultant Molly Schultz Hafid. We are thrilled to now officially announce that Thenjiwe, Cara and Lorraine are joining our team and bringing their visionary and creative leadership to the Foundation as members of our Board of Directors. We’re grateful for the ways we have been able to build trust and a shared vision together over the past few years. To further ensure movement leadership and right balance we plan to expand the board to nine members by adding three additional Movement Directors by the end of Summer 2022.

Thenjiwe McHarris (she/her) is a movement-building powerhouse. She is the co-founder of Blackbird and helped build the Movement for Black Lives. Thenjiwe has more than 15 years of experience in organizing, coalition building, global solidarity and international advocacy work.

Cara Page (she/her) is a Black Queer Feminist cultural/memory worker, curator, and organizer. For the past 30+ years, she has organized liberation movements in the US & Global South at the intersections of racial, gender & economic justice, reproductive justice, healing justice and transformative justice. She is founder of Changing Frequencies, and co-architect and co-founder of the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective.

Lorraine Ramirez (she/her) is the Executive Director of Funders for Justice and has worked in social justice philanthropy for nearly 20 years, in the areas of LGBTQ rights, gender justice, racial justice, immigrant rights, abolition and anti-violence organizing strategies, and housing and the foreclosure crisis. Lorraine has also been a member / board member of many movement organizations, including Trans Queer Pueblo, the Justice Committee, and the Audre Lorde Project. Core to both her movement and philanthropy work are fundraising and resource mobilization, safety & security, and deep collaboration.

As a Board, we are committed to building a leadership team of Board, Staff, and Advisors who are structurally accountable to movements and communities both as individuals and as an organization. Guided by this commitment, we are also thrilled to share that we have welcomed Chi-Ante Singletary as our Director of Programs and Roberto Tijerina as our Director of Administration. Chi-Ante and Roberto will join Afia Reynolds, our Administrative Associate.

Chi-Ante Singletary (she/her) is a proud scholar and Queer Black Feminist. As a Spelman Collegegraduate, her love for Black Queer Feminsit theory blossomed into a career focused on creating and supporting Black Liberation spaces globally. Chi-Ante has worked as a southern organizer and donor strategist for many organizations including Solidaire Network, Youth Engagement Fund, Girls Inc. and Neighborhood Funders Group. Through her work, Chi-Ante has supported
communities of color across the South to have access to resources and develop strategies focused on building political power, making long term systems change and building transformative relationships between donors and grassroots organizers. Chi Ante is the co-founder of Cypress Fund and the Grove Action Fund, organizer collaboratives and political homes for donors focused on building people power throughout the Carolinas. Bringing together donors, organizers, and community leaders across race and class, the Funds build relationships and grassroots power by putting decision making in the hands of trusted organizers to fund organizing in their communities and by shifting the organizing landscape through donor organizing and education.

Roberto Tijerina (el/he/him) is a queer, Latino, first-generation child of immigrants, organizer and keeper of the heart-space. Since becoming politicized in his childhood by interpreting for his community, Roberto has worked as an organizer connecting his queer, immigrant, multilingual experience to broader racial, economic, and gender justice movements. His experience includes working for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Highlander Research and Education Center, the Audre Lorde Project, and Southerners on New Ground (SONG). Learning at the feet of many and by doing the work, he has helped to develop a Language Justice frame that informs current movement work. He understands organizational finance and operations work as both political and as organizing work. His political north star has always been the question “Are you willing to be transformed in the service of the work?”, and he is excited for that possibility as he
steps into resource redistribution work.

Afia Reynolds (she/her) is a creative theologian who lives in the space where faith and justice overlap. She studied at Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York and has over ten years’ experience working on justice initiatives with faith-based organizations. Some of these organizations include the Higher Education & Leadership Ministry of The Disciples of Christ, and the National Benevolent Association. These experiences have created a passion for politically and spiritually informed justice work, that aims at fostering a liberative society where diverse experiences are honored at all times. Afia is also learning to play the banjo and is a guest writer for an online column that focuses on theology, politics, and current events.

Kolibri Foundation is leaning into this experimental project with a collective sense of curiosity, humility, and intention. The engagement of paid staff marks a milestone in the intentional process of transitioning from family foundation giving to centering movement leadership. It also kick-starts the material phase of building infrastructure and designing processes aligned with our values and our giving goals. Staff and board members are currently engaged in a deliberative process for a formal launch in 2022.

We welcome your thoughts and emails as we continue to build. The Kolibri Board and Staff can be reached at welcome@kolibrifdn.org.

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