Naa Hammond is a Black, African, immigrant, queer femme, and a Senior Program Officer with Groundswell Fund, a public foundation that strengthens U.S. movements for reproductive and social justice. Prior to joining Groundswell, Naa worked in research and communications for Funders for LGBTQ Issues, an organization that works side-by-side with funders and movement organizations to mobilize philanthropic resources that enhance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. Naa currently serves on the boards of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and Funders for Reproductive Equity. Over the last decade, Naa has worked in development and grassroots fundraising with several U.S. organizations committed to gender, racial and economic justice, including FIERCE, Third Wave Fund, Queers for Economic Justice, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Naa holds two B.As in ‘Social and Cultural Analysis’ and ‘Urban Design and Architecture Studies’ from New York University. She manifests her passion for community healing through her work as an herbalist and a doula-in-training. Naa was born and raised in Zimbabwe, as the child of proud Ghanaian immigrants. She now lives in New York City with her partner.
Alison is a veteran creative director specializing in creative leadership. She has over twenty years experience building and leading large, diverse teams and providing creative strategy, relevant storytelling, and integrated advertising for global businesses, including Barneys New York, Gap, Sony Music, and Crate&Barrel. She has served as representative, business manager, and executive producer for musician and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello since 2006, realizing 250% growth over ten years. Alison is also the founder and creative director of Set Editions, a small design studio that produces a line of text based goods that have garnered a devoted following among celebrities, friends, and politicians, and have been carried in over 300 museums and design shops. She currently consults with artists and brands on defining their mission, strategic development, and creative expression. She works most tirelessly to ensure the creative integrity and equitable representation of independent creative clients. Originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Alison moved to New York to attend Barnard College in 1992 and seems unable to pull herself away.
Ana Conner is a Co-Director of Third Wave Fund, an activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans folks under the age of 35 in the US. Before Third Wave Fund, they were at Borealis Philanthropy, supporting the Transforming Movements Fund and Black-led Movement Fund, and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, working on the Development Team. Ana came to this work through organizing with FIERCE, where they convened queer and trans youth of color across the US to talk about gentrification, policing, and how young people are building a movement to end violence. They became passionate about resourcing organizations and movements that are most impacted by oppression while participating in the Miss Major Jay Toole Giving Circle. Ana received a B.A. from New York University in Gender & Sexuality Studies and American Studies.
Ilana is a deeply committed human rights advocate. After practicing labour and human rights law in Canada, she spent eight years at the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on human rights and as the CEDAW Advisor at HQ. During this time she travelled extensively, working with grassroots women’s groups working on a wide range of women’s rights, human rights, and sexuality-related rights issues and movement building. Ilana was the co-founder and first President of UNGLOBE, a group advocating for the rights of LGBTQ U.N. employees. In 2003, at the height of the AIDS pandemic in Africa, Ilana co-founded and served for 17 years (2003-2020) as the Executive Director of The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) – an organization established to support community-based organizations that were – and continue to be – at the heart of the response to the AIDS pandemic. Ilana and Stephen created the SLF with the firm conviction that community-based organizations are the experts on what is needed in their communities, that funders should respect the agendas of their partners, and work to amplify their voices and perspectives, and be accountable for the power imbalances in the funding relationship that can disrupt powerful and effective programmatic and advocacy work at the grassroots and national levels. In 2016 Ilana launched the SLF’s African LGBTQ Initiative, supporting LGBTQ CBOs in eight countries with programmatic and operational support. The SLF has disbursed over 130 million to 1800 initiatives led by over 300 CBOs in the 15 sub-Saharan African countries hardest hit by HIV and AIDS. Ilana is the founder and host of the podcast Grandmothers on the Move, and lectures and writes frequently on human rights issues, LGBTIQ rights, and the responsibilities of intersectional philanthropy. Ilana was the recipient of the Canadian YWCA Women of Distinction award for International Development, and was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada. She has served as an advisor to the InterPride Global Solidarity Fund, a member of the LGBTQ Dignity Network, is a Board Member of Gender at Work, and still serves as a Senior Advisor to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Terez Thorpe is a native New Yorker and accomplished administrator and operations director with more than thirty (30) years of experience setting up systems and working with Non-Profit Organizations, privately and publicly funded organizations, and international programs. She’s a civil and human rights activist with a specialized area in working with the LGBTQIA+ community, homeless/runaway youth, HIV/AIDS Services and women’s rights.
Some of her career highlights include developing national and international outreach programs for runaway/homeless and trafficked youth. Her work helped launch a nation wide crisis intervention hotline for youth under twenty-one years of age. Terez implemented and operated New York City’s first funded Runaway and Crisis Youth Congregate Care Facility with a twenty-four hour open intake modality. Here is where she honed her skill set as a Crisis Intervention Specialist fighting Human trafficking via victim protection in a residential setting.
With a passionate belief that access to safe and affordable housing should be a birth right, it was a natural next step becoming a Director of Supportive Housing overseeing a large portfolio of singles and families living with HIV/ AIDS. Terez worked very closely with the transgender community to provide safe and affordable housing, legal and access to medical services. A relentless activist, Terez organized to successfully identify and change discriminatory policies and practices in New York City shelters for transgender young adults. She also worked to implement LGBTQI+ sensitivity training within the New York City Police Department.
Terez is a GLAAD Media Award , UFC L.I.F.E Award and Black Pride Trailblazer Award recipient respectively. She is a Brand Ambassador for the International LGBT Arts and Culture Music Festival. Terez currently sits on the board of the Emancipation Foundation using her voice and platform to raise awareness and eradicate human trafficking.
Terez is excited for this next chapter in her career and working with Astraea Foundation. She resides in New York with her wife and their two fur babies, Mz. Kitty and their dog Brave.
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.
Susana is a Senior Advisor, Global Programs for CREA and a Fellow at the Global Health Justice Partnership (Yale University). Her work focuses on building cross-movement strategies and advocacy to challenge criminalization of sexual and reproductive rights, sexuality, HIV, sex work, sexual orientation, gender identity and drug use. From 2008-2014, she was the senior gender, HIV and health advisor at UNDP. Susana has worked in a senior capacity with a wide range of women’s rights, human rights, sexuality-related rights and SRHR organizations, including Open Societies Foundation, ICASO, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Amnesty International, the OUTRIGHT Action International (formerly the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission), the International Women’s Health Coalition, Harvard School of Public Health, WHO, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, among others. She has spoken and written widely on topics related to gender-based violence, sexuality, health and rights. She is currently a Board member of the Positive Action for Girls and Women Fund and the Athena Network and sits on the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program.
Sanjar is from Kyrgyzstan. He has worked several years as Executive Director of Labrys, Kyrgyzstan’s main LGBTQIA organisation. Sanjar built his expertise on legal gender recognition as well as developing partnerships with the sex workers movement, drug users and community building in Kyrgyzstan. Since 2019 Sanjar works for Transgender Europe as coordinator of the PROtrans project on monitoring discrimination and violence against trans people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Natia is lesbian feminist activist from Georgia. She has been active in the feminist and LGBT movements in Georgia for 10 years. She is one of the founders of Independent Group of Feminists and has worked in organizations like Identoba and Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group focusing on research, community mobilization and advocacy related to women’s and LGBT rights. Natia is one of the first publicly open lesbian activists in Georgia and has done much work connected to raising positive visibility of LGBT communities in Georgia. She currently lives in Sweden and works at RFSL – The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights, with a specific focus on advocacy in the Eastern Partnership countries.