Samantha Lowery

Samantha is an operations professional who has 5+ years of experience in the non-profit industry. She began her professional career as an Americorps member focused on educational equity and has since held positions in frontline fundraising and fundraising operations. Her passion lies in making data accessible and efficient for her team and organization.

Samantha holds a business management degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, with a minor in music.

Hlompho Mokoena

Hlompho Mokoena, Program Officer, is a South African Black, genderqueer, non-binary intersex person. Hlompho is a feminist and human rights activists working on gender, gender identity, and sex characteristics as they intersect with race, class, the law, and technology. He brings over 10 years’ experience in community organizing, capacity strengthening for social justice, policy review and participatory grantmaking, with a specific focus on LGBTQI+ issues, public health, and digital rights. He is committed to strengthening the work of LGBTQ+ organisations in Africa. Hlompho has worked for organisations such as The Engine Room, The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern and East Africa (ARASA) and Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA). He has also served as an advisor in several participatory grantmaking boards such as the Intersex Human Rights Fund and Mama Cash’s Community Committee. When not working, Hlompho enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his partner and two kids.

Jovita Jonas

Jovita joins the finance team with 12 years of experience in corporate accounts payable and finance. She previously worked in the advertising, production and wine industries. Jovita brings excitement for non-profit and advocacy work to Astraea.

Erik Roldan

Erik Roldan (he/him) comes to Astraea after 20 years of working with and for LGBTQI+ communities in various capacities as a communications professional. Prior to joining Astraea, Erik helmed internal and external communications for Howard Brown Health, the midwest’s largest healthcare organization serving the queer community. He also worked as a Public Information Officer in the Midwest Regional Office for Lambda Legal, supporting marriage equality and transgender rights in state and federal courts. He has also worked as a DJ, radio host, and sound designer. Erik is deeply passionate about working collaboratively towards a future guided by justice and intersectional feminism. He lives in Chicago with his two tiny dogs, and has a passion for music, art, and fashion.

Dawn Farthing

Dawn holds an MA in International Politics from American University and has spent the last 5 years using her grants management skills to further the missions of progressive nonprofits. She brings experience as a Spanish language interpreter and her dedication to intersectional queer liberation to all aspects of her work at Astraea. In her free time, Dawn enjoys camping, swimming, travel, and spending quality time with her cats and dogs.

T. Ayoka Turner

Born and raised in Bed Stuy Brooklyn and on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Ayoka has spent her life fighting to improve the conditions for poor and working-class communities of color like the ones she was raised in.  She has over 30 years of experience working with young people, organizations and communities to fight for social and community change.  Ayoka has consulted and worked with a wide variety of local and national organizations including, Black Lives Matter Global Network, Causa Justa:  Just Cause, Center for Young Women’s Development, Center for Third World Organizing/CTWO and the Black Organizing Project.  Ayoka served as adjunct professor in the Metro Academy for Success program at San Francisco State University from 2017-2021.  In May 2016, she completed a Masters of Divinity at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA.  Currently, Ayoka serves as the Vice President of Operations for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.  She lives with her son Khalil in West Philadelphia.

Kristin Gardner

Kristin serves as the Vice President of Strategic Engagement at Astraea, where she leads development and communications. In this role, she collaborates across teams to mobilize resources and tell the stories of Astraea’s work and grantee partners.  

Kristin comes (back) to Astraea as a non-profit executive with a passion for working at the intersection of social justice and philanthropy. In addition to her previous role managing Astraea’s individual giving, she has held positions at organizations across New York City including Arthritis Foundation, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, and The New York Women’s Foundation. Most recently, she served as Managing Director of Development and Communications at City Year New York–an organization focused on education equity–overseeing fundraising, external engagement, and communications. 

She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Communication Studies, with a focus on gender and intercultural communication, from Texas Tech University. She currently resides in Manhattan with her partner, Loren, and their two dogs and two cats.

Dana Zhang

Dana Zhang graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism in 2018, then she set out to find a place where she feels like she can help make a meaningful, tangible effect on the world around her. Driven by her love for creative pursuits that also align with acknowledging and addressing pertinent issues plaguing our socio political climate, Dana wanted to find ways to give back to the communities that inspire us and aspire to create better and more equitable lives for everyone. A fake New York-native because she has spent half her life in Staten Island, and so cannot give directions to anywhere by subway when asked, in her free time Dana loves watching gaming streams and writing fiction stories.

Sarah Myers

Sarah has lived and worked in all four corners of the United States and has spent two decades working in public education. As a recent graduate of Western Governors University, she hopes to use her degree in Marketing and Management to bring a voice to the marginalized and unheard. Sarah is passionate about social justice, education reform and LGBTQ+ equality. In her spare time, you’ll find her snuggled up with a book next to her plants and cat or on a long nature hike with her granddogs and husband.

Sanjar Kurman

sanjar kurmanov is a native kazakh-kyrgyz trans activist with 10 years of experience in feminist LGBTQI rights activism, particularly specializing in trans rights. He was born Muslim and raised in the post-soviet Kyrgyzstan. In October 2021, Sanjar has moved to the US for love. Sanjar held several executive, decision-making and advisory roles: former director of Labrys Kyrgyzstan, member of a Grantmaking Panel at International Trans Fund, an interim Board member of Trans* Coalition in the CCAEE, the project manager at Transgender Europe and Com Com member at MamaCash. Living with multiple identities of being a Muslim, immigrant, Queer Central Asian and a trans person, my lived experience has been shaping the ongoing fight to end violence and discrimination against people with intersecting identities.