Maestra Program

Grounded in the newly released Resonance Framework, Maestra equips philanthropic leadership with the strategies, skills and support to guide their organizations through a Just Transition, shifting their practices away from extraction towards regeneration, and aligning practices with the values and needs of the communities they fund.

Maestra is an executive-level program for Vice Presidents, Presidents/CEOs/Executive Directors, and trustees of philanthropic institutions to guide their organizations through a Just Transition in a peer learning environment.  Maestra participants will explore how to unify their board, staff, investments and grantmaking in order to envision and practice a new approach to philanthropy that redistributes wealth, democratizes power and shifts economic control to communities.


The path to achieving a vision of philanthropic transformation is not a linear one. Over the last century, philanthropic practices have been structured to reinforce a worldview where individuals and institutions have the right to endlessly accumulate capital and make decisions about how it should be allocated for the public good.

Shifting our worldview to challenge our assumptions about the role of philanthropy is one that requires a deep transformation within ourselves, our institutions and our field.

Maestra provides a peer-learning environment in which executive staff and trustees are supported to work with each other to build deeper political alignment with grassroots social justice movements and communities organizing for a Just Transition. We will explore possible points of intervention and pathways in which philanthropic practice can support the redistribution of capital, land, and power  — and in turn, be part of the transformative shift to a regenerative economy.

The current systems of domination and extraction are wreaking havoc on our social, economic and ecological stability as their negative impacts accumulate at a global scale. The transition from a system organized around limitless extraction and wealth accumulation to one organized around regeneration and resilience within natural limits is a transition in which philanthropy can play a catalytic role.

We invite you to participate in the Maestra program to radically imagine a different future, and to align your philanthropic practices and resources with the grassroots social movements that are actively building a new world.

Program Logistics

The first cohort of Maestra will include three 2.5-day retreats between May-December 2019 at different Just Transition sites across the country.  There will be approximately 12-15 hours of individual preparation and virtual group work during the 9-month program.

Here is the schedule for the first cohort:

  • April: Cohort launch including assessment and check ins (virtual)
  • May 14-17: Opening retreat (Bay Area, CA)
  • June, July, August: Check ins and learning sessions (virtual)
  • September 3-6: 2nd retreat (Boston, MA)
  • October: Check ins and learning sessions (virtual)
  • November 4-7: 3rd retreat (Rapid City, SD)
  • December: Closing and evaluation (virtual)

Who is Maestra designed for?

Because we recognize that philanthropic leadership is not a solo journey, we invite participants to join the program in pairs: 1 staff member and 1 trustee from the same institution will participate together to deepen your alignment, analysis and trust with each other and collectively in the field. Participants will explore how to create intentional practices for their philanthropy rather than following routine habits.

The first cohort of the Maestra program is best suited for executive-level staff (Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Presidents, etc.) and trustees who are actively working to align their philanthropic institutions with the principles of Just Transition across their grants and investments. The first cohort will be an opportunity to go deeper together, to test and learn from peers about what practices actually move us closer to philanthropic transformation, and to receive support in implementing these practices institutionally with other staff and trustees.

What will I get out of Maestra?

A Just Transition for philanthropy will require all of us to lead with vision and to deepen our commitment and practices toward equity and justice. In the Resonance Framework, we outline 7 areas we believe will move us toward philanthropic transformation and in deeper alignment with a Just Transition. Maestra will support philanthropic leaders in deepening their capacity to move from extractive to regenerative practices in the following areas:

  • Relationship to Communities
  • Leadership and Role in the Field
  • Operations
  • Endowment Management
  • Grantmaking Strategy
  • Grantmaking Process
  • Grantmaking Decision

Who will I learn from in the program?

Maestra will be facilitated by a core team of Justice Funders staff members including Nwamaka Agbo, Jennifer Near, Dana Kawaoka-Chen, and Rachel Humphrey. Our main goal is for the participants to learn from each other about how they are practicing and implementing a Just Transition across grants and investments. We will also invite a number of philanthropic and field allies to attend the in-person retreats to highlight shared funder and movement practices in each of the Just Transition sites.


How to Join

Applications for the pilot cohort are now closed. If you are interested in participating in future cohorts or know someone who might be a good fit,  please contact Jennifer Near, Program Director at

Please also subscribe to our email list for newsletter updates.