Staff

As Senior Program Director, Rachel leads Justice Funders’ leadership development and consulting services, guiding and supporting philanthropic institutions in re-imagining how their organizations can operate as a justice funders. Prior to joining Justice Funders in 2015, Rachel was an independent coach and consultant supporting social justice and human rights nonprofits and foundations in change management, strategy development, and capacity building. She previously served as a Senior Consultant for TCC Group and Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at the Global Fund for Women. Rachel is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation and has trained extensively in participatory facilitation methods with Institute of Cultural Affairs, Social Transformation Project and the Center for Right Relationships. She holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco and an A.B. in Anthropology and Asian Studies from Bowdoin College. Before her decade in coaching and consulting, Rachel spent a decade mobilizing resources for immigrant families in San Francisco; grassroots organizations in India, Nepal and Tibet; and for youth to connect to nature through experiential environmental education.

Since 2015, Rachel has served as Chair of the Board of International Accountability Project, a global human rights advocacy organization that seeks to create development policies and practices that respects people’s homes, environment and human rights. She also serves on the Steering Committee of Indie Philanthropy Initiative, a creative disruption to the status quo of funding, lifting up decentralized, daring funding alternatives. Rachel is a founding board member of Sacred Mountain Sangha, a Buddhist organization with the guiding ethos of the bodhisattva ideal and an integrated spiritual life in service of the welfare of all. In her spare time she can be found at yet another yoga training or on a mountain trail.

As the Executive Director for Justice Funders, Dana Kawaoka-Chen partners and guides philanthropy in reimagining practices that advance a thriving and just world.  She is a co-author of “The Choir Book: A Framework for Social Justice Philanthropy,” and frequently serves as a trainer and facilitator for values-aligned practice in philanthropy.  Dana’s leadership has been recognized by her peers–in 2014, she was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award by Oakes College of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and in 2015, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy recognized Dana as one of twenty-five national “Leaders in Action.”

Dana has previously served in executive functions for two other non-profit organizations.  She has a Masters of Science degree in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco, Bachelor of Arts degrees in American Studies and Visual Art from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Non-Profit Management Certification from San Jose State University.

Dana attempts to practice patience every day as a parent of two very opinionated kids and a stubborn dog.  She occasionally finds time for her yoga practice, and has been known to be rendered speechless by good chocolate.  Born and raised in the Bay Area, Dana currently lives in San Jose with her family.

As Justice Funders’ Innovation Director, Mario partners with philanthropy and field practitioners to design, pilot and scale both innovation and coordinated action that advances social movements. Mario comes to the organization via Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school), where he served as a 2016-2017 Civic Innovation Fellow. He currently holds the position of Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Guidestar, and is the founder of the technology platform, Giving Side.

In 2010, Mario co-founded the New American Leaders Project, the country’s first and only organization dedicated to training first- and second- generation immigrants to run for elected office. He has held leadership positions at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, as well as the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, providing leadership around new and unprecedented philanthropic investments in both integrated voter engagement strategies and for a fair and accurate 2010 census count. He built significant community organzing experience as the National Coordinator of Racial Justice 911 and at CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities in the Northwest Bronx.

Mario is a long-time philanthropic and nonprofit consultant, speaker and trainer. He currently is an advisor to the High Net Worth POC Donor Collaborative, Digital Impact and New Media Mentors, and previously served as board member of Resource Generation, American Prospect, and as board chair of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. He is a graduate of Columbia University.

As Engagement Director, Maria leads resource development, communications that promote justice funder values & philanthropic transformation, and programming for the Bay Area Justice Funders Network — Justice Funders’ regional network for learning and action. She brings 17 years of experience in expansive roles as movement builder, organizer, trainer, fundraiser, communicator, capacity builder, community educator, researcher and direct service provider.

Prior to Justice Funders, Maria served as Development Director for Forward Together where she led a team that tripled the organization’s institutional and individual fundraising revenue, significantly grew its grassroots donor base, established the organization’s first major donor program, institutionalized the participation of the Board of Directors in individual fundraising efforts, and shifted the culture and practice of fundraising from isolation to integration into the overall organization and its programs.

Maria is an active member of Eastlake United for Justice and the Hella Heart Oakland Giving Circle. She serves on the Advisory Board of BoomShake Music, a multicultural community program that uses music and drumming for creative expression, cultural survival and social change by supporting grassroots movements and building the leadership of people of color to be cultural creators for our liberation. In addition to supporting their organizational development, fundraising and communications, she is a member of the BoomShake drum corps for women, trans & gender non-conforming people of color.

Maria is a 2006 New Voices Fellow and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley with an emphasis in maternal and child health. She loves reading food blogs but can’t find time to cook most of the recipes she wants to try. Instead, in her free time you’ll find her drumming at protests and hanging out at the playground with her two spunky girls.