Katherine Acey is a beloved, exceptional leader. A key visionary in both fundraising and grantmaking, she is regarded as an expert in the social-justice-feminist funding movement. During her 23 years as Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Katherine has left an indelible mark on philanthropy and the LGBTI movement in the U.S. and around the world. On December 15, Katherine will be stepping down as Executive Director. We want to offer you a special opportunity to honor her work, wisdom and leadership.
Thank you for your tireless work for all these years! We met in 1995 and your wisdom, humor and love have deepened my commitment to social, racial, and economic justice. I have loved working with you all these years in all the different ways and will look forward to many years of partnership ahead.
With all my love, Surina
Katherine, as many will attest, you have been a valued friend and leader in progressive philanthropy, lesbian activism, and social justice struggles for three decades. But I just cannot ignore one of the main things I have always loved about you: your incredible sense of style! Thank you for making our world better and more beautiful. xo Marcie
Katherine, you define the terms colleague and friend, connections to you that I have cherished for more than 22 years. While I know in my head that you will continue to lead in new and meaningful ways, there is a part of me that cannot help but feel the loss of your soul and laughter and spirit in such an important position as Astraea. Yet, we will all survive...and continue to laugh and change the world around us. Much, much love, Paula Ettelbrick
For years, your work in the world has been an inspiration to me, but it's been the care you've shown and the interest you've taken in my life and in Sonia's life that has meant so much to me. Your advice and council has been so helpful, and delivered with the honesty and sense of calm that comes with wisdom. I am honored to think of you as a friend, and as my sister. You are a great asset to life on this planet.
With huge respect and lots of love,
The world's a better place
I am still so amazed at how much I and my communities have benefited from the heart-centered work that Acey and the hard working folks at Astraea have done to support and uphold the expressive power of feminist progressive LGBTI's around the world. I bring with me all that I learned working with Acey and the amazing people I met while I worked at Astraea and it makes me the success that I am today. Thank you.
Keeping Transnationalism REAL.
Dear Katherine, I have learnt so much from my brief interactions with you. I love the way you helped shape Astraea's commitment to transnational Queer/social justice politics. Several LBT formations are up and running in Asia because of Astraea's vital support. Your work, dedication and style will always inspire and frame my work :)
You dreamt of making a difference to millions of women and communities around the world, and 'Yes You Did.' As first grantees of ASTRAEA, Artists For Recognition and Acceptance(AFRA-Kenya) we already feel the difference made by your tireless fundraising and grant making. Without your dedication, we wouldn't continue with our working of ensuring justice for LBT women in Kenya. Though we haven't met in person, your work has touched as in a way we would never have words to describe. Thanks and God bless you.
Thanks, Katherine, for the 2 decades of wonderful work at Astraea and the work you did for the lesbian movements before that. I know you will continue to be active in some way.
You have left some very large shoes to fill, but I'm delighted that you feel free to move on to other things. May only happiness lie ahead of you.
To the Rock Star of Women's Funding Community!
Thank you, Katherine for everything I have learned from you and through you in the past eight years. It has been the greatest honour to be in the same spaces and meetings with you and see your sharp mind and intuition work the magic. I am looking forward to see what you do next and I still have very compromising photos of you from few trips that are waiting just the right moment to be exposed! much much love and no good byes!! Angelika
A Lifetime Achievement Award
Your contributions in helping to launch, staff, lead and navigate The Astraea Foundation to what it is today, clearly with a lot help from many others, is nothing short of a lifetime achievement for which you should feel great pride. Your political insights and leadership in movement building, your vigilance to have cross-class and cross-race representation in leadership, your fundraising acumen,and the vision to help Astraea grow from local to global are extraordinary accomplishments. Your tireless and passionate leadership gift to Astraea will go on giving to build the movement. Thank you!
You personify all that is great in a human being. Thank you for all you do for social justice and social justice philanthropy. An honor to know you and call you comrade, colleague and friend. Hugs, Margie
You did it! You left your mark on the world and changed a lot of people's lives in the process. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and commitment to making women stories just a little bit more vision to the world. You are appreciated in ways that I cannot express through words but action. Your legacy lives in all of us and what we do through our own projects and organizations. I wish you well with your future plans.
With Peace, Love and Truth
Angel/ Queer Black Cinema
You should be so proud of the wonderful organization and network that you have created over this many years. I am constantly wowed by your work with Astraea.Love, NF and LB
What's up, sister sledge!
Way to rock it for queer women everywhere. If we could bottle your awesomeness, we'd tip this world on its axis. xxooo
You continued the emphasis on Astraea always being multi-cultural and multi-generational. And, years ago, you and the Board began the move to equal emphasis on international needs. All of that emphasis and evolution has been/is wonderful.
Katherine - Thank you so much for all of the warmth and support you've shown scrappy organizations like GIFT and new leaders like me. It means a lot to us that a rock star like you has shared your time, wisdom, laughter, and resources. With love, Priscilla
Indeed you are a key visionary in both fundraising and grant-making, rightly regarded as an expert in the social-justice-feminist funding movement; and a great person as well. Brava! Nona
Known you as a friend, a supporter of queer movements worldwide, a donor, a fellow-shopper and as a wise woman....thank you for having been around, for being the support to so many people and organizations all over the world, thank you for the enthusiasm and the fire that you ignite in people's lives and thanks for being a friend.
You know its never goodbye, those boots are meant to keep walking and that's what you are going to do. See you in India soon!!! love and hugs.
It has been amazing to work with you and learn from you for the last four years. I will deeply miss your wisdom, passion, laughter and dedication to Astraea's mission. You have taught me more than you know. -miles
Katherine, I met you only once, at the Harnessing Change gathering in Bangkok in 2004, but you left an indelible impression on me and continue to inspire through the legacy you leave at Astraea. Tough, funny and committed are all words that come to mind, or, as we say in Jamaica, "Likkle but tallawah" which means small in stature, yet strong and powerful. Thanks for all the support.
A huge, huge congratulations from your many fans, friends and loved ones in the North Star community. It is hard for us to separate Acey from Astraea, but we know that the community which you have helped build over the last two decades will sister on and be even bolder as a result of the global network you've helped to create and lead. Much love and best wishes to your successor. Know that we will be here for you and her.
Making It Possible For Others
Your work in organizing, fundraising, and movement building has made so much possible for so many organizations and individuals. Your vision has truly helped build the support and opportunities for liberation-based work all over the country. Thank you for all your contributions!
I bow to the goddess in you. Blessings to you and many thanks for your generosity, for getting the job done with such style and grace and for your beautiful spirit. Sending you love and light on the next part of your journey. Shay
Ever the fearless leader, visionary and amazon warrior, you have led Astraea in becoming a globally recognized, respected and admired organization.
A quote from Robert Kennedy is so very fitting of you: "Some people see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."
Our links go back to 1991 where your knowledge, candor and wisdom were an intricate part of shaping the 'Executive Director's Support Group'
Wherever your steps take you, your model of social-justice-feminist funding will carry on.
Sisterly love and best always,
MUCH THANKS to Katherine from Japan
Thank you so much for Katherine Acey's contribution for her 23 years as Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. I really appreciate Astraea to PA/F SPACE in Tokyo. Especially PAF SCHOOL wouldn't have continued without your support. I can't take part in today, but please send her my very sincere thanks, honer and love from Tokyo. Hitomi Sawabe
You're an anchor, a compass, a visionary, a trooper, an ally, a connector, a thinker, a laugher, a leader, a dear, dear friend.
Love and thanks for now and always! Nancy
Acey, You are a Rockstar!
Katherine, Thank you so much for all that you have brought, and continue to bring to multiple movements for social justice! Your leadership, vision, passion, and dedication are an inspiration. And, um, thanks for giving me my first job in NYC ;-)
Katherine, We'll miss you profoundly in this role, but I look forward to seeing your love light shine in a new corner of social justice work. Thank you for all the years of inspiration and perspiration on behalf of lesbians everywhere!
We are so glad to have you as a friend
Katherine - I am so glad I have had the opportunity to get to know you and to work with you. It has been a great. I know we will stay in contact as you travel down the next branch in what I call the tree of life. Beth and I wish you much happiness.
Congratulations, Katherine, on all you have done with Astraea and best wishes for all that is yet to come.
Please remember only the triumphs, because there was nothing else. Please remember the friends, because that's all you created. Please remember the changes, because every day you helped create one. Please remember the love, because that's what your work inspired.
Thank you for all you've given over the past two and a half decades. You are a modern day saint.
Enjoy the time that is now yours. Have the time of your life.
Your vision, leadership, humor and warmth are greatly admired. KUDOS for all your wonderful work in the world.
I'lll never forget closing down the bar at WFN's conference in hysterical laughter, like tears running down face, listening to your stories! Your beautiful gift of humor and soul has clearly anchored you through many a fierce fight on behalf of all of us out here. May it reliably guide you to your next passions, and with love. Thank you for doing what it takes.
Dear Katherine, If they gave Oscars for being a huge inspiration, for changing the world in real and tangible ways, for making waves that will not stop, for a huge heart and the wisdom to go with it, you would have one shining at you every day. Remember the victories and all the lives you have touched, all over the world. Thank you for putting yourself out there on behalf of all of us. You are one of my personal sheroes. With love, Susan
To Astraea's (outgoing) Executive Director:
Dear friend and comrade of Grupo de Mujeres de la Argentina (GMA)*,
We are saddened to hear you’ll be leaving ASTRAEA but if this is a decision that will help you grow personally and socially, we support your decision. We want you to know that you have our moral support in this new phase of your life.
We take this opportunity to thank you and to salute the entire ASTRAEA family, for everything you have done for our organization. We met you through a grant request to support our work, our commitment, and struggle on behalf of our incarcerated community members. Today our relationship has blossomed into friendship and accompaniment in our fight in the world to ensure that our group is fully respected in the social and political system.
To think that without knowing our organization (when you first funded us) you made a gamble on our future growth. Today, thanks to your support, we have reached important social and political heights, such as the OAS, the UN, and in our country, where officials now know us.
Thanks to all of you there is now a certain respect for the lives of people facing poverty, health challenges, and imprisonment, all of which we each have suffered. Each day we are spokespeople for what our families and friends experience daily.
GMA has grown thanks to ASTRAEA, since you have provided the support for our many activities. This is the reason why we will always be with you, as an institution and with each of you personally. We will be out in the world working alongside our ASTRAEA family.
As director of this organization, I take this opportunity to say, “Gracias!” and I hope that at some point in our lives I can get to give you a warm big hug. The ASTRAEA family helps ensure that people can see a change in social systems and the State as a whole. We will forever be grateful.
* tribute translated and edited from the original Spanish version
Katherine, we send you warm regards and farewell, as you leave ASTRAEA today. Happy Holidays!
Katherine, THANK YOU for all your hard work -- and your grace throughout each moment of it. You're an inspiration to Kathy and me and we're so glad to know you. Enjoy these days. You are a tremendously accomplished woman and a real friend to all who meet you. Wishing you the very best, Summer and Kathy.
Deepest gratitude for actualizing the Dream! We could only imagine, but you did it! With love, Joan
Thank you for your brave and amazing work in the world. You are a real hero and I hope you will write your WHOLE story one day for everyone to see.
Oh Babe, what the hell am I gonna do, what are we all going to do without you. Your wisdom, your humor, your thoughtfulness, your consideration, your commitment and intelligence--all unmatched. You have been there for me so many times. I am a better person and a better member of this movement because of you. Much love my dear sister.
An amazing chapter has been written and now closed...but it is likely just a prologue to the new and amazing adventures that lie ahead for Astraea. Thank you for all you have done for women-loving-women around the world.
With your vision, energy, patience, persistence and sacrifice, Astraea grew from our days of no office, no staff, to an international force for justice. Congratulations on a special job well done.
Much love and great respect.
--Sandra and Juanita
My dear, dear Friend, I echo all that has been or will be said about your remarkable journey with Astraea, with the women's funding movement, and in the social justice arena. You've been literally a rudder at times, helping us at Astraea keep our true course, live our feminist values, and find our way when it seemed so difficult.
Whatever you do and wherever you are, your bootprints are there, whether visible or not. I want to see you soon in Santa Fe!
Oh, dear Katherine...where do I begin to express my appreciation for your leadership, your camaraderie, your heart, your sisterhood, your deep commitment, your guidance and advice, your humor, your fierceness, your fantastic fashion sense, and your burn-the-floor dancing? And where do I end? I can't. My gratitude is infinite as is my love and respect. Thank you, Katherine, for doing your very best for so long. I toast to the past, and your legacy. And, looking ahead...there's a lot to come, I know. Please travel forward with peace, satisfaction and rejuvenation. Onward, with love.
Grace, Gratitude & Generosity
With the announcement of our new ED, it seems like you really are moving on! Congratulations, dear friend. You have been a beacon of hope for people in every corner of our LGBT community and in every corner of the world. You have led with fierce grace and a huge heart. I don't know anyone who has worked harder. Thank you for teaching and encouraging me as a philanthropist, for helping me know and express true generosity. Your impact on my life and on our communities is deep. Kate joins me in sending you our heartfelt thanks, with great pride and much excitement for your future. I love you, Lé
Mezmerized By Your Leadership!
Kathy ... I first met you when you were just trying to get Astraea off the ground. Back then, I didn't quite understand your vision but knew that your work was important that would someday elevate the lives of lesbian women everywhere. What started as a local endeavor grew in a way that could only impress everyone and anyone who had the privilege to meet you. And while I stayed on the outskirts, you stayed there right in the middle of the field, plowing every field that would create the road so many of us now follow, to which we can now all enjoy the soft smooth road you paved. Whatever you choose to do hereafter is yet another rainbow for you to conquer. Brava, sistah gal, brava!
We want to thank you for the founding role you played and for your leadership throughout all these years. Astraea's contribution has been vital to sustaining our work for the right of all lesbians and bisexual women to a life free from violence. We think that Astraea has played a pioneer and unique role in supporting lesbian organizations and thus allowing our growth and that of other groups. All the best for your new present and future. Love, Desalambrando Team– Bs.As.
In a long and brilliant philanthropic career, what most stands out for me is Katherine's leadership in bringing an explicitly progressive clarity to Astraea's mission, reframing the organization as working also for economic justice. Thank you, Katherine.