Kerry Ashforth joined the Astraea Foundation in 2019 as Interim Director of Programs. He has worked for over 25 years to protect and promote the human rights of gender and sexual minorities, including by increasing resources dedicated to supporting transgender and intersex communities and issues. Most recently, he managed the Global Equality Fund (GEF), a public-private partnership housed at the U.S. Department of State. With more than 20 government, corporate, and NGO partners, the GEF supports advocates and allies dedicated to protecting and defending the human rights and fundamental freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons around the world. Prior to his work with the GEF, Kerry served as a grants and knowledge manager at the Arcus Foundation, and as an international philanthropy and corporate social responsibility associate at American Express. His work as a community organizer started in Massachusetts, through then-Governor William Weld’s Safe Schools Program, where he facilitated anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia trainings for thousands of students and faculty members at schools across the state. He also served as Student Pride Coordinator at GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, helping to strengthen a national network of student activists. Kerry recently completed a sabbatical year, where he studied professional pastry arts at the International Culinary Center. He holds a B.M. in Music Theory and Composition from New York University, and a M.S. in Organizational Change Management from The New School University.
Sandra Nathan is excited to be joining Astraea as Interim Executive Director for the next 9-12 months, leading the organization through a transition period. During this period, Sandy will work with the Board and staff laying the groundwork for the next permanent Executive Director.
Sandra comes to Astraea with extensive executive leadership experience in philanthropy, government, and the nonprofit sector. She currently serves as Principal and CEO for Apodictic Consultants, providing strategic consulting and transitional leadership to philanthropic institutions, nonprofits and government with an equity and social justice lens. Most recently, she served as the Interim Executive Director for Philanthropy Southwest, providing transitional and strategic leadership, enabling the organization to successfully position itself for new leadership and growth, and deepen its commitment to equity.
Prior to starting her consultancy, Sandra served as Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Services and Community Investment for the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) in Tucson. There she was chief strategist for the foundation’s grantmaking, community investment opportunities and led the organization’s use of diverse capital streams. She also oversaw the work of CFSA’s affiliated partner organizations, including the African American Initiative, the Alliance (LGBTQ) Fund, the Latino Giving Circle, and the Santa Cruz Community Foundation.
Prior to that, Sandra was the Vice President of Grants and Loans at the Marin Community Foundation, where she oversaw grantmaking for the Buck Trust, an endowment of over $900 million. She oversaw grantmaking in excess of $20 million annually, all in support of MCF’s strategic initiatives, community grants, and loans.
Sandra’s background also includes executive leadership in nonprofits at the national and local levels. She served as Executive Vice President for the National Council on Aging in Washington, DC; as Regional Director for AARP in Dallas, Texas; and Washington Director for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Sandra has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of San Diego, a Master of Arts in Public Administration from National University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Christian Education. She also holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Harvard Business School.
With a passion for board service, Sandra serves on the Board of Directors of Northern California Grantmakers, UC Berkeley Pacific School of Religion, the Tohono Chul Park Foundation, Equality Arizona, and provides pro bono consultant support to Tucson Senior Pride.
Dondy Marie Moreland joins Astraea as a development professional with over 10 years of grassroots fundraising experience. Dondy Marie most recently served as the Development Director at People’s Action Institute, a national grassroots organizing network, and People’s Action, a national political advocacy organization, with an annual budget of $17M. While there, she directed the multi-year development strategy and ‘organized money’ to mobilize institutional and independent resources—prioritizing QTPOC and POC-lead powerbuilding organizations—and to deepen the impact of member-led strategies. Dondy Marie has also trained hundreds at national and regional conferences, inspiring both action and funding, and has provided technical assistance to over 45 member organizations and allied groups. In her time working with grassroots movement networks, Dondy Marie was recognized for her ability to develop and implement innovative, comprehensive, outcome-oriented development and marketing plans that exceeded the organizations’ annual revenue goals and developed the core competencies of their development teams—each has been invaluable to the organizations’ sustainability and culture of fundraising across the organization. Dondy Marie has a deep desire to partner with institutions and individuals to challenge systemic oppression and bring liberation to LGBTQI communities through value-aligned resources that fund their invaluable grassroots organizing. She holds a B.A. from Temple University and lives in Bergen County with her partner, daughter and 2 dogs.
Kyli comes to Astraea with a background in grassroots social justice movements, art, and dance. She is grateful to have learned alongside folks at The Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE), a comprehensive trauma-informed leadership and physical empowerment organization based in Brooklyn, NY that centers the needs and power of folks who experience intersecting identity-based oppression and interpersonal violence. After building strength in CAE’s programs, she spent five years there growing into roles spanning development (with an emphasis on government funding), communications, office administration, and data manipulation. She holds a BFA in Dance with a minor in Gender Studies from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to her work supporting grantmaking at Astraea, she makes and performs dance-based work throughout NYC and abroad. She is originally from Alaska.
Biola Odunewu is a multi-channel communications specialist and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in strategy, operations, marketing, and product development. For more than a decade and prior to joining Astraea, she owned and managed a successful and popular neighborhood cafe in Brooklyn providing a haven for food, a safe space for ideas or the solitary cup of coffee. Before that, she worked as a writer and executive producer for a wide range of traditional and new media platforms (both national and international), including CNN, ABC and HyperTV Networks, creating featured stories and content, interactive programming for live weekly broadcasts and more. Biola received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism (with a concentration in International News and Politics) from Georgia State University. She is originally from Nigeria and has lived in New York for 25 years. In addition to English, Biola speaks Yoruba.
Hanna is a queer activist and unapologetic anti-zionist Jew from Los Angeles with ten years’ experience in grassroots organizing for environmental defense, reproductive rights, prisoner support, migrant justice, tenants’ rights, and elevating sexual assault survivors in alternative communities. While pursuing her undergraduate studies, she worked within her student government and statewide student association to advocate for affordable tuition and policy wins for accessible services to low-income, undocumented, and trans students. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Portland State University, where she discovered her love of grant writing. Hanna is excited to cut her teeth in nonprofit development for Astraea and to expand her ability to facilitate change for an organization that reflects her values. She digs film, photography, diy, punk, and retracing her family’s roots in Brooklyn.
Mihika is a human rights and gender justice advocate, dedicated to uplifting and amplifying the voices of intersectional feminist communities worldwide. She believes in the distinct power of storytelling to create policy and culture change around gender norms and injustices. Mihika joins Astraea after completing a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, and specializations in Technology, Media, and Communications, and Gender and Public Policy. She has a background in strategic communications, grassroots advocacy and has previously worked with the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in New York to convene their annual NGO conference, which brings together over 100 global gender rights organizations on the sidelines of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Mihika is a proud South Asian woman, who was born in India, raised in the UAE, and feels most at home in New York.
Lame Olebile is a Pan-Africanist, queer feminist passionate about social justice. Her experience is in human rights with a strong background in LGBTQI issues and a wealth of experience in the LGBTQI movement. Formerly a human rights projects officer with the Ngamiland Council of NGOs, she led a human rights education project on LGBT, disability and children’s rights in the district. As the coordinator of Pan-Africa ILGA, she worked closely with LGBTQI organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of her role as coordinator of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, LEGABIBO, she initiated a strategic litigation project where LEGABIBO challenged the government of Botswana’s refusal to formally recognise the association. Olebile also worked at the Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre as the research and mainstreaming officer where she worked on lesbian women’s sexual health issues. Prior to that she was an advocacy officer and researcher with the LEGABIBO and conducted advocacy projects locally, internationally and at the United Nations for the same organisation. Olebile completed her studies in Political Science and Administration and is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy degree in Natural Resources Management. Her main interests in social justice are issues of sexuality and gender. Olebile is also an adviser for the FRIDA, Young Feminist Fund.
Jay-René Kouassiaman is an African American man of trans experience. He has worked closely with LGBQ and Trans/GNC youth and adults of color for 12+ years, in a variety of roles, including health educator, case manager and community organizer. Jay-René is committed to advancing the inclusion of LGBQ and trans/GNC people in schools and communities, both personally and professionally. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Critical Psychology from California Institute for Integral Studies.
When not working, Jay-René enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, global travel and off the beaten path adventures, exploring the local art scene, and eating delicious snacks.