Staff and Board
J. Bob Alotta | Executive Director | bio
Graham Bridgeman | Development Officer, Individual Giving | bio
Sangeeta Budhiraja | Director of Programs | bio
Namita Chad | Program Officer | bio
Michelle Clarkin | Director of Development | bio
Mónica Enríquez-Enríquez | Program Officer | bio
Ariel Federow | Development Assistant | bio
Sarah Gunther | Associate Director of Programs | bio
Zavé Martohardjono | Senior Communications Officer | bio
Joy Michael | Senior Accountant | bio
Kellea Miller | Program Manager, Global LGBTI Human Rights Partnership (Consultant) | bio
Katherine Pease | Senior Advisor, Global LGBTI Human Rights Partnership (Consultant) | bio
Zahara Raine | Deputy Director | bio
Lolan Sevilla | Program Associate | bio
Naomi Sobel | Donor Engagement Coordinator | bio
Rebecca Wisotsky | Executive Coordinator | bio
Katherine Acey | Executive Director Emerita | bio
J. Bob Alotta | Executive Director
J. Bob Alotta is the Executive Director at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, a global foundation based in NYC that provides critical resources to LGBTQI organizations and individuals around the world. Bob is a lifelong activist and an accomplished filmmaker with a track record of leading exponential organizational growth and capacity building through visionary management and fundraising. She builds strong partnerships with diverse communities, grantee partners, donors, institutional funders, and corporate stakeholders. Bob served for four years as Board Chair of FIERCE, a longtime Astraea grantee partner, helping to build the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color. On behalf of the FIERCE Board of Directors, Bob was awarded the Stonewall Foundation's 2009 Alan Morrow Prize for Excellence in Board Leadership. Bob also served for six years as grant reviewer for Open Square Foundations' Community Fellowship Program, and has consulted for Swarthmore College, Williams College, WITNESS, and the Prison Moratorium Project. Prior to joining Astraea, Bob served as Director of Digital Media and Content for Zeitbyte Digital Media and as Director of Digital Technology for Film at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Bob's documentary and narrative films have aired on Democracy Now, GRITtv, and PBS, and have screened at festivals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.
Graham Bridgeman | Development Officer, Individual Giving
Graham Bridgeman is a development and communications professional with almost a decade of experience in the non-profit sector. He comes to Astraea after serving as the Senior Development Associate for the Legal Action Center, a New York-based non-profit working to address discrimination experienced by people with HIV, criminal records, and histories of addiction. During his tenure with LAC, Graham managed the annual campaign, co-produced LAC’s gala, lead two website redesigns – including developing graphics and external communications tools - and managed the production of the organization’s best-selling book on Federal drug and alcohol confidentiality laws.
In addition to his work at Astraea, Bridgeman volunteers as the Director of Development for the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, and sits on the boards of both Middle Collegiate Church (where he serves on the Communications and Financial/Stewardship teams), and the Collegiate Church of New York, where he chairs the Board of Deacons. Graham also helped organize the first New York Social Change Camp, leading a session on Social Media Pushback that asked participants to think about the intersection of privilege and Web 2.0, as well as developing strategies to utilize social media tools for social justice initiatives.
sangeeta budhiraja | director of Programs
Sangeeta brings over a decade of movement building experience and philanthropic advocacy skills to the Astraea Foundation as a seasoned activist, organizer, educator and advocate. Sangeeta joins the Astraea Foundation after four years as Program Officer at the Ms. Foundation for Women, where she managed the Foundation's Movement Building, Southern Strategy, and Economic Justice Initiatives. During her time as Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Sangeeta served as member of Astraea's International Funds panel. She also worked as a consultant to the International Fund from 2005-2007, and has worked with many of Astraea’s international grantee partners. Sangeeta’s expertise with international women's human rights, sexual rights, racial and economic justice is paired with a strong base in local movement building. She is a community board member of the Open Meadows Foundation, served on the board of FIERCE! and Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ), and has been a consultant to the Urban Justice Center and Desis Rising up and Moving (DRUM). She also participated in the Bridge Builders Leadership Development cohort of the Women's Funding Network. Sangeeta is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Urban Studies Department at CUNY Queens College. She holds a Bachelors degree in Women's Studies from Hamilton College, was a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship recipient, and earned a JD from CUNY School of Law.
Namita Chad | Program Officer
Namita is a queer South Asian activist with over a decade of experience working with grassroots, LGBTI, immigrant and feminist groups including the Audre Lorde Project, DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), and SALGA (the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association). At Astraea, she coordinates grants administration and data analysis, and is the program officer of Astraea's Emergency and Movement Resource Funds. She has also spent considerable time as an audio/visual tech assistant and movement security volunteer. She is currently a board member of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, and lives in Queens, a borough for which she has much affection.
Michelle Clarkin| Director of Development
Michelle Clarkin brings over a decade of experience in fundraising, strategic planning, and communications to her role as Director of Development with Astraea Foundation. Her areas of expertise include women’s philanthropy, arts management, and stewardship for public foundations. Prior to joining Astraea, Michelle developed successful major gifts and planned giving campaigns for Ms. Foundation for Women and Barrington Stage Company. In addition, her fundraising work at Smith College helped secure one of the largest gifts in the history of the college in support of needs-based scholarships. Michelle’s career also includes work as a columnist for the LGBTQ publication Outlines (now Windy City Times) and as the director and producer of a nationally recognized documentary about a performance artist living with HIV. Michelle holds a B.A. in Communications and an M.A. in Documentary from the University of London, Goldsmiths' College. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts and the Norwalk River Watershed Association. She currently serves on the Development Committee of Ms. Foundation for Women.
mónica enríquez-enríquez | Program Officer
mónica enríquez-enríquez is a queer Latina, born and raised in Colombia who migrated to the U.S. in 2001 and who brings to Astraea an extensive background on grassroots organizing both from within the US and on the international front. mónica was the Co-Coordinator at Streetwise and Safe (SAS), a collaborative multi-strategy initiative to develop leadership skills among LGBTQQ youth of color who are criminalized for their involvement or perceived involvement in the sex trades. In 2006 mónica worked at the Global Fund for Women as part of the Latin America and Caribbean Region Program team and in 2010 at the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) learning how to mobilize communities to resource movements and organizations. mónica also comes to Astraea with an in-depth practice of media and culture activism; art is for mónica a vital place for community participation as well as a critical site to question institutional oppression and challenge normative constructions of gender, desire, citizenship and nation. mónica has been a part of the International Fund Advisory Board of Astraea Foundation and is on the Davis Putter Fund National Scholarship Board. mónica earned an M.F.A in Digital Arts and New Media from University of California Santa Cruz in 2008 and is a member of Community United Against Violence, the NY Coalition against S-Comm, and the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project as a festival curator and volunteer.
Ariel Federow | Development Assistant
Ariel Federow is an activist and artist whose work has taken several forms: community fundraising, membership organizing, and social justice theater and arts work. Originally from Seattle, she performs around New York City, and has worked extensively with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice to create theater that addresses issues of inequity and liberation. Ariel is also a member of an informal network that raises funds for grassroots nonprofits by throwing house parties and public events. She holds a BA in English and Dance from the University of Washington.
Sarah Gunther| Associate Director of Programs
Sarah Gunther comes to the Astraea Foundation with extensive experience in philanthropic advocacy, social justice grantmaking and sexual rights work. She joins Astraea after serving as the Director of Africa Programs at American Jewish World Service (AJWS), where she oversaw a $3.6 million grantmaking program to grassroots organizations pursuing sexual health and rights, natural resource rights and economic justice, and civil and political rights in Africa. In addition to directing the Africa program and leading a team spanning six countries, Sarah played a key role in developing AJWS’s global sexual rights strategies with a focus on LGBTQI rights, trans justice, and sex worker rights. Before taking up that role, Sarah built AJWS’s grants portfolio in East Africa as a program officer. Prior to joining AJWS, Sarah managed microenterprise development programs in East and West Africa at international NGO Trickle Up and worked in Uganda with grassroots groups focused on women’s rights and sustainable livelihoods. She holds a B.A. in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies and African American studies from Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing a M.A. in human rights studies from Columbia University. She is passionate about getting resources into the hands of LGBTQI activists and transforming philanthropy so it advances movements for racial, economic, and gender justice around the world. She is thrilled to join the Astraea community.
Zavé Martohardjono | senior Communications Officer
Zavé received a B.A. in International Relations with a focus in Political Economy from Brown University in 2006. While studying development, he became interested in new media outlets as platforms for political education and organizing. Returning to New York City, he began working in video production and youth-media training alongside the filmmakers of New Children/New York. He then went on to study Writing and Directing Documentary at the City College of New York, receiving his M.F.A. in 2009. Zavé has since worked professionally as a producer, director, shooter, editor, and webcasting technician for documentary film projects, grassroots organizations, individual artists, and corporate clients both in freelance positions and as Associate Producer and Editor at Zeitbyte Digital Media. He has also been involved in media-activist and arts projects as an artist, curator, and producer, collaborating with the MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival, P.S.1, FIERCE, Into the Neon, Accidental Movement, Theater Transgression, and the EMERGENYC program at the Hemispheric Institute at NYU.
Joy Michael | Senior Accountant
Joy was born on the island of St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. Growing up in a family of ten, she graduated with honors in the summer of 2006 from Monroe College, earning a BA in Accounting. While completing her studies, Joy shared her love of math as a tutor at the Boys and Girls Club and Jefferson Elementary School in New Rochelle, NY. In her spare time she enjoys reading, swimming, listening to music, and traveling. Her next goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant. Joy believes in equal rights for all and that no person should be discriminated against based on their race, religion, gender, or sexuality.
Kellea Miller| Program Manager, Global LGBTI Human Rights Partnership (Consultant)
Kellea Miller is a women's rights professional with expertise in global grantmaking, monitoring and evaluation, and strategic development and communication. She has worked for a range of non-profit organizations and bilateral agencies, including Global Fund for Women, the International Accountability Project, UNIFEM/UN Women, and Oxfam America. Starting in 2009, Kellea helped architect and manage the Fund for Gender Equality, a $65 million United Nations grant program to advance women's economic and political empowerment globally. Kellea holds a BA in Public Policy and Feminist Studies and a Masters in Sociology and is currently completing a PhD in Sociology. She is personally, politically, and professionally committed to LGBTQI rights and racial justice, and has believed in Astraea’s mission since she learned about the organization more than a decade ago.
Katherine Pease| Senior Advisor, Global LGBTI Human Rights Partnership (Consultant)
Katherine joined Astraea as a consultant to the Global LGBTI Human Rights Partnership in 2013 because of her expertise in the areas of LGBT philanthropy, human rights, grantmaking, and project management. In addition to her work as Senior Advisor at Astraea, Katherine consults with numerous foundations, grantmaker networks, nonprofits, and public sector agencies.From 1995-2001, Katherine was the first executive director of the Gill Foundation in Denver, Colorado. In 2001, the Gill Foundation provided over $11 million in grants to LGBT and allied nonprofit organizations while operating a comprehensive training and technical assistance program to help people in the nonprofit sector become better fundraisers and managers. In 2001 the Gill Foundation had an asset base of approximately $260 million and a professional staff of 42 people.Katherine regularly presents at and moderates public discussions in the nonprofit sector on diverse topics, ranging from race and ethnicity in nonprofit organizations, to the future of philanthropy in the U.S. and globally, to the power of public/private partnerships to create enduring change. She has served on numerous boards and advisory boards and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Global Greengrants Fund. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Colorado College.
Zahara Raine has over a decade of experience working with non-profit and non-governmental organizations in the arts, education, and social justice. She most recently worked at Movement Strategy Center managing a range of fiscally sponsored projects, both local and high-profile, with small to multi-million dollar budgets. Previously, she held a national position at Lambda Legal, and designed, launched, and ran African Services Committee’s first education program for HIV+ and immigrants. She was also on a community grantmaking committee at Foley, Hoag & Elliot law firm in Boston. In 2000, Raine worked in advocacy around violence against women and girls at the United Nations in Kathmandu, Nepal. Later returning to the U.S., she ran an education program for hundreds of immigrants throughout New York City, and organized with various feminist, racial justice, and LGBT communities, including ACT-UP.
Raine spent four years as second-in-command to the Founder and Executive Director of African Film Festival, worked in education at Global Film Initiative, was a programmer at MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival, and was on the curating and communications committees of the Queer Women of Color Film Festival.
Currently Raine participates on the Liberty Hill Foundation's Queer Youth Fund’s grantmaking committee and she is an active member of the Audre Lorde Project’s Board of Directors. Raine provides strategic planning and development as an advisory board member for the Queer African Youth Networking Center and also contributes to their quarterly magazine. In her spare time she consults for independent artists, is a freelance writer and photographer, and produces and directs video and film. Raine received her Bachelor's of Arts degree in African American Studies at Columbia University, and her Master's of Arts in Non-Profit Management at the Graduate Institute for the School of International Training.
Lolan sevilla | program associate
Lolan Buhain Sevilla comes to Astraea with over a decade of experience in multisectoral grassroots community organizing & non-profit service, primarily around issues of anti-violence, Human Rights, and LGBTQI people of color liberation. She has a passion for developing organizational infrastructure and strategizing systems that enable organizations to focus on programmatic & campaign goals. Lolan is a queer butch cultural worker who roots her art in community, study and practice. She is a member of Filipinas for Rights & Empowerment-GABRIELA USA, and the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. Lolan was co-founder of Kreatibo, a queer Pin@y Artist Collective, and has been published in Maganda Magazine, The Womanist Journal, Cheers to Muses: Contemporary Works by Asian American Women (2007), and TAYO Literary Magazine. Her first collection of writing, Translating New Brown (2005), was followed by the co-editing of Walang Hiya… Literature Taking Risks Toward Liberatory Practice (2010). She recently completed a Hedgebrook Writing Residency to work on her first novel.
naomi Sobel | Donor Engagement Coordinator
Naomi Sobel is a writer, organizer, educator, and queer femme with roots in New York, a soft spot for Chicago, family in the Bay Area, and a home base in Somerville, MA. She has deep roots in progressive Judaism and a burgeoning interest in harnessing her class privilege for radical social change. She serves on the board of the Edmund and Jeannik Littlefield Foundation, based outside San Francisco, and 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. She most recently spent two years running the teen program at Temple Israel of Boston; prior to that, she held positions at The Nation and Boston Review magazines, and at Jewish Funds for Justice (now Bend the Arc). Naomi is thrilled to be joining the Astraea team as a staff member and is excited to be part of this community.
Rebecca Wisotsky, a queer, Puerto Rican Jew from New Mexico, with New Yorkers for parents, has been working towards social justice since she was first able to say “justicia”. Rebecca brings to Astraea over 10 years of experience in movement building work through counseling, community organizing, program development, training and facilitation. The primary focus of her work has been in reproductive justice, LGBT youth organizing, anti-violence and immigrant rights.
Most recently, as Program Coordinator at the Audre Lorde Project (ALP), Rebecca developed and managed the 3rd Space Support Program to create sustainable methods of community-based support for LGBTSTGNC People of Color. During her time at ALP, she became a fellow in the Selah Leadership Program, a national network of progressive Jews who work for social justice. Previous to ALP, Rebecca worked at Social Justice Leadership designing political education and leadership development curriculum and national youth trainings. Rebecca started her political work in Seattle, WA with the Seattle Young People’s Project as an adult ally and later served as a board member. While in Seattle she also worked with the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse as a Community Advocate. She has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Multi-ethnic Practice from the University of Washington.
Katherine Acey | Executive Director Emeritus
Katherine Acey served as the Executive Director of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice for twenty-three years (1987 – 2010). Under her stewardship Astraea established the nation's first Lesbian Writers Fund in 1990, created the International Fund for Sexual Minorities in 1996 and in 2006 launched the U.S. Movement Building Initiative to support people of color LGBTQ organizations to collectively build their power and voice.
From 1982 – 1987 Katherine was the Associate Director of the North Star Fund in New York City, overseeing its grants programs and participating in donor engagement and fundraising. She was involved in the Women's Funding Network since its inception, serving as a founding board member and chair. She is also a founding member and past chair of the Funders for LGBT Issues and has served as a board or advisory member to countless organizations. Current affiliations include: Board Member and Treasurer for both the International Network of Women’s Funds and Political Research Associates; Steering Committee, Public Foundations Project; Advisory Committee, Pipeline Project; and Advisory Committee, OSF LGBT Initiative. Until her departure from Astraea she served on the Steering Committee of the Global Philanthropy Project: Expanding Resources for LGBT People.
The Women’s Funding Network honored Katherine for her leadership in building a multi-cultural women's funding movement. Other honors include the Cross Cultural Black Women's Studies Institute for International Women's Leadership Award, the NYC National Organization for Women Susan B. Anthony Award, the Women & Philanthropy LEAD Award, the FEX Vision Award for achievements in social justice, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Liberty Award and the Women e-news 21 Leaders for the 21stCentury Award.