"The value of the Harmony Initiative is beyond words. Our facilitators expertly created a space that allowed us to bring our best selves, go deep and be vulnerable together while holding each other accountable." - Sara Dronkers, Director of Grantmaking and Nonprofit Resources, Humboldt Area Foundation

Harmony Initiative

The Harmony Initiative was launched in 2015 to support professional grantmakers in strengthening their philanthropic practice. The Harmony Initiative provides cutting edge tools, training and knowledge needed to partner with grassroots communities, select impactful grantees, evaluate social change work, and collaborate in philanthropy.

Designed by and for grantmakers, the program’s curriculum follows six common steps in the grantmaking cycle (strategy development; outreach and application; due diligence; making the case; award and implementation; and evaluation and learning) and investigates the competencies needed at each step.

Why Harmony?

As a Justice Funder, you recognize that grantmaking practice doesn’t always align with social justice values. Given the history of philanthropy, you know its culture is embedded with habits that reinforce our current, extractive economic system. So you want cutting edge tools, intentional practices, training, and knowledge to partner with grassroots communities, select impactful grantees, evaluate social change work, and collaborate in philanthropy.

100% of the participants in our Harmony Initiative have been able to make at least one change to make their grantmaking more equitable. What is immeasurable is how our alumni will now go on to improve the quality and quantity of resources flowing to social justice movements.

If you are looking to improve your current philanthropic practice and/or innovate how grant-making is done, Harmony is for you!

How to Join

Applications for the 2019-2020 cohorts of Harmony East and Harmony West are now closed. To receive updates about future cohorts, please submit the form below.

Step 1: Your Details
Step 2: Geographic Region
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Thank you for your interest in The Harmony Initiative!

We look forward to being in touch with you soon. A confirmation email has been sent to your provided email address.

Guest speakers and faculty bring on-the-ground expertise and knowledge from years in the field. Past guest speakers and trainers have included:

  • Holly Bartling, General Service Foundation
  • Vini Bhansali, Thousand Currents
  • Carol Cantwell, Fun With Financials
  • Jara Dean-Coffey, Luminare Group
  • Vanessa Daniel, Groundswell Fund
  • Aja Duncan, Management Assistance Group
  • Kathryn Gilje, Ceres Trust
  • Meerim Ilyas, Urgent Action Fund
  • Taj James, Movement Strategy Center
  • Rajiv Khanna, Thousand Currents
  • Gara LaMarche, Democracy Alliance
  • Michelle Mascarenhas, Movement Generation
  • Kellea Miller, consultant and researcher
  • Susan Misra, Management Assistance Group
  • Dewey Schott, Leadership That Works
  • Eveline Shen, Forward Together
  • Alex Tom, Chinese Progressive Association
  • Kenji Treanor, Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Beth Trimarco, The East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)
"The Harmony Initiative allows us to translate our hopes and intentions into a reality that is more cogent and effective for the field and for movements advancing systemic social change." - David Moy, Senior Program Officer, The Hyams Foundation
Program Logistics

There are four retreats for each Harmony cohort:

  • Retreat #1: Opening
  • Retreat #2: Strategy; Outreach and Application; Due Diligence
  • Retreat #3: Making the Case; Award and Implementation; Evaluation and Learning
  • Retreat #4: Closing

As a small, cohort based program, 100% active participation is required. To enable participation from grantmaking institutions of all sizes, tuition fees are sliding scale, based on annual organizational grantmaking budget.

What do I get out of The Harmony Initiative?

  • 130+ hours over ten months allows for practice and integration into day-to-day work.
  • A cohort of 15-20 grantmakers provides a close community of practice and support.
  • Case study method encourages nuanced problem solving and offers real-world lessons from esteemed guest faculty members’ experience.
  • Individual coaching provides support and accountability in pursuing individual goals.

Who should apply for The Harmony Initiative?

The program is appropriate for philanthropic professionals of all levels who are directly responsible for grantmaking and seek an opportunity for reflection and learning in community. The Harmony Initiative is equally applicable for those looking to improve on current philanthropic practice as those looking to innovate how philanthropy is done.

"We know that the status quo of doing philanthropy as usual will not move the needle for the kinds of impact and change we want to see for our communities. With a brave learning community, we move along a collective journey of understanding how to navigate and leverage our roles in institutions and the larger philanthropic sector to push for more equitable practices in grantmaking." - JC De Vera, Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Harmony Cohorts

Harmony West Class of 2019 – 2020

Alejandra Martinez
Program Officer, Borealis Philanthropy

Allison Domicone
Program Officer, Hirsch & Associates LLC Philanthropic Advisors

Amy Silva
Strategic Learning & Evaluation Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Andrea Granda
Senior Strategic Advisor, Tides Advocacy

Athena Youm
Program Assistant – IDPI & DEI, Raikes Foundation

Cindy Alvarado
Evaluation & Impact Program Officer, The Simmons Foundation

Daniel Lau
Manager – Programs and Events, Northern California Grantmakers

David Pontecorvo 
Director of Grantmaking Systems, Evaluation and Learning, East Bay Community Foundation

Debrah Giles
Senior Program Officer, East Bay Community Foundation

Grecia Ayon
Place Pathway Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Haewon Asfaw
People Pathway Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Jennie Goldfarb
Independent Consultant, Currently supporting Libra Foundation and Latino Community Foundation

Jennifer Agmi 
Senior Program Officer, Libra Foundation

Joanna Kabat 
Director of Grantmaking and Capacity Building, Liberty Hill Foundation

Joshua Lee
Power Pathway Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Kelly Kent 
Senior Program Officer – Elders, May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

Leah Laxamana 
Program Associate, Walter & Elise Haas Fund

Marselle Alexander-Ozinskas
Senior Program Officer, S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Melanie Jiménez
Program Associate, The San Francisco Foundation

Paula Ambrose 
Program Officer, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Peggy Chang
Program Associate, Heising-Simons Foundation

Sandy Tesch Wilkins
Senior Manager – Investments, Humanity United

Harmony East Class of 2019 – 2020

Alisha Williams
Program Officer – Social Justice Program, Arcus Foundation

Bart Westdijk
Director of Operations, New England Grassroots Environment Fund

Ellen Wang
Program Officer, Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Hehershe Busuego
Program Officer, Essex County Community Foundation

Jalisa Whitley
Program Officer, The Beckner Advancement Fund

Jessica Debrah
Program Associate/ Victoria Foundation Fellow, Victoria Foundation

Kendra Hicks
Director of Radical Philanthropy, Resist Foundation

Maria Mulkeen
Program Officer, The Hyams Foundation

Maya Graham
Program Manager, Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation

Natalia Caruso
Director of Grantmaking and Partnerships, MADRE

Sergio Marin Luna
Program Officer, The Hyams Foundation

Shanell Ransom
Grants & Operations Manager, Samuel S. Fels Fund

Stephanie Greenwood
Senior Program Officer, Victoria Foundation

Tara Huffman
Director, Criminal and Juvenile Justice Program, Open Society Institute-Baltimore

Harmony West Class of 2018-2019

Ain Bailey
Associate Initiative Officer – Great Communities Collaborative, The San Francisco Foundation

Aldo Gallardo
Program Associate, Borealis Philanthropy

Alicia Harris
Program Officer, Grove Foundation

Angie Chen
Senior Program Officer, The Libra Foundation

Bailey Malone
Executive Director, CS Fund

Cecilia Chen
Policy Director, Northern California Grantmakers

David Kim
Program Associate, The San Francisco Foundation

Demitrius Burnett
Program Officer, The San Francisco Foundation

Janeen Mendoza Cruz
Education Program Officer, Tipping Point Community

Jasmine Jones
Executive Director, West Contra Costa Public Education Fund

Kana Hammon
Product Manager, Tech & Society Solutions Lab

Kara Dukakis
Senior Program Officer, Early Childhood, Tipping Point Community

Lindsie Bear
Program Director, Native Cultures Fund, Humboldt Area Foundation

Meaghan Calcari Campbell
Program Officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Rob Hope
Initiative Officer, Bay Area Workforce Funders Collaborative

Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo
Program Officer, Akonadi Foundation

Harmony West Class of 2017-2018

Sepi Aghdaee
Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Ashley Clark
Knowledge and Grants Manager, The Libra Foundation

JC De Vera
Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Sara Dronkers
Director of Grantmaking, Humboldt Area Foundation

Daisee Francour
Fellow and Bay Area Program Officer, The Christensen Fund

Annelise Grimm
Program Officer, James Irvine Foundation

Adriana Grino
Program Officer, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Caitlin Hamood
Program Officer, Chorus Foundation

Fernande Legros
Program Officer, Full Circle Fund

Allistair Mallillin
Program Officer, Common Counsel Foundation

Rena Meyers-Dahlkamp
Program Manager, Conflict Transformation Fund

David Moy
Senior Program Officer, Hyams Foundation

Michelle Myles Chambers
FAITHS Program Manager, The San Francisco Foundation

Maisha Quint
Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Jasjit Singh Dhanoa
Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Harmony West Class of 2016-2017

Galina Angarova
Program Officer, Swift Foundation

Diana Chao
Program Coordinator, Xelay Foundation

Masha Chernyak
Vice President of Programs and Policy, Latino Community Foundation

Katie Fahey
Program Officer, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Kailyn FitzGerald
Program Officer, Sobrato Family Foundation

Iris Garcia
Learning and Impact Program Officer, Akonadi Foundation

Heather Masaki
Grants Coordinator, Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX)

Jake Mogan
Program Associate, The 11th Hour Project

Elaine Mui
Grants and Operations Manager, General Service Foundation

Lorraine Ramirez
Program Manager, Neighborhood Funders Group

Jennifer Root
Northern California Political Director, SEIU Local 2015

Jazmin Segura
Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Elizabeth Wampler
Initiative Officer, Great Communities Collaborative, The San Francisco Foundation

Cassandra Zawilski
Program Assistant, McKenzie Foundation

Harmony West Class of 2015-2016

Alexandra Desautels
Program Manager, The California Endowment

Bessma Mourad
Program Officer, Skoll Global Threats Fund

Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett
Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives, Groundswell Fund

Jose Carmona
Program Director, The Energy Foundation

Kathryn Gilje
Executive Director, Ceres Trust

Marissa Tirona
Director, Blue Shield Against Violence, Blue Shield of California Foundation

Michael Roberts
Program Manager, The 11th Hour Project

Padmini Parthasarathy
Program Director, The California Wellness Foundation

Shalini Iyer
Director of Programs, Metta Fund

Valeria Velazquez
Program Manager, Neighborhood Funders Group

Zach McRae
Program Associate, The San Francisco Foundation