Click a team member to navigate to their bio:

Des Buford (she/her/Des) Pronunciation:
Director of Consulting Operations & Administration

Aminata Diallo (she/her) Pronunciation:
Director of Organizational Culture & Development


Jessica (Jessi) Espinoza-Jensen (she/her)
Director of Funder Organizing

Dino Foxx (they/them) Pronunciation:
Director of Imagination & Culture

Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano (he/him/his)
Co-Executive Director

Sharon Hing (she/her) Pronunciation:
Director of Innovation Labs

Rachel Humphrey (she/her/hers)
Senior Director of Practice Acceleration

Dana Kawaoka-Chen (she/her) Pronunciation:
Co-Executive Director

Michelle Loo (they/them) Pronunciation:
Director of Narrative Strategy

abdiel j. lópez (they/them) Pronunciation:
Director of Capital Activation

Rosita Lucas (she/her) Pronunciation:
Senior Director of Resource Development & Finance

Alissa Meleyco (they/them) Pronunciation:
Manager of Institutional Partnerships

Mario Lugay (he/him/his) Pronunciation:
Senior Director of Innovation

Kimi Mojica (they/siya/she) Pronunciation:
Senior Director of Consulting

Maria Nakae (she/her) Pronunciation:
Senior Director of Just Transition Investing

Kristine Piasecki (she/her/hers) Pronunciation:
Director of Finance & People-Centered Systems

Sujatha Sebastian (she/her)
Senior Director of Leadership Programs


Lora Smith (she/her) Pronunciation:
Director of Investment Partnerships

Des joined Justice Funders in 2021 and currently serves as the Director of Consulting Operations & Administration, where she supports the consulting practice in guiding philanthropic institutions to align their organizational practices with the values and principles of Just Transition.

For nearly two decades Des has been dedicated to building and celebrating community through arts and cultural programming—namely at the intersection of LGBTQ communities and communities of color. She deeply believes in the transformative power of community to create dialogue, bolster coalition building, and spark social change. Des thrives on building long-term and deep relationships with colleagues, philanthropic allies, strategic partners, movement organizations, and community members.

Prior to joining Justice Funders, she was the Director of Institutional Partnerships & Events at Horizons Foundation. Des previously led the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival (Frameline), the largest showcase of queer cinema in the world, where she served in various leadership roles for fifteen years. Des has a demonstrated commitment to mentoring and developing new talent, particularly through a lens of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In her free time, Des enjoys gardening, grilling, singing along to showtunes and Ricky Martin, and romping around the Bay Area with her partner and their beloved pup, Osita. She holds a B.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, with a minor in LGBTQ Studies.

As the Director of Organizational Culture & Development, Ami’s role is to facilitate Justice Funders’ culture, learning, programs, and systems to nurture the sustainability of the organization’s internal infrastructure and capacity to advance the goal of field-wide transformation in philanthropy through a just transition.

Ami brings years of experience in evaluation, and program and project management in nonprofits and foundations. Most recently, Ami was the Manager of Learning and Community Impact at The Scattergood Foundation where she focused on mental and behavioral health advocacy, and managed a region-wide evaluation capacity building initiative for over 100 nonprofits in Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Ami has a master’s degree in Science, Technology & Society from Drexel University, and a master’s degree in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. As a first generation Senegalese-American born in Spanish Harlem and raised in Queens, NY, her passion for culture and community has guided her perspective in this work.

Based in Charlotte, NC, she enjoys life as a foodie, cooking, swimming, and her newly found joy in hiking and the outdoors.

Jessi joined Justice Funders in 2022, and currently serves as the Director of Funder Organizing where she stewards the political journeys of funders toward collective action to both mobilize philanthropic resources to build a regenerative economy and accelerate a Just Transition for philanthropy.

Jessi has 15 years of experience in grassroots partnership building, capacity building, community building, facilitation, community driven research, and art-based practices which cultivate creativity, curiosity, connectedness, and play. Prior to joining Justice Funders, Jessi was the Director of the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership, a statewide network organizing to advance health equity and racial justice. In this role, she served as a connector in grassroots and philanthropic spaces.

Jessi lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and holds a MA in Sociology and a BBA in Marketing & Accounting. Jessi was the proud mama to two beagles for 16 years and recently adopted a rescue coonhound, named Letna. She enjoys morning walks to the river and spending time in the mountains amongst the wildflowers and snow. Creative care practices, such as bilateral drawing, making photo stories, and somatic scribing to the sounds of nature also bring Jessi joy.

As Director of Imagination and Culture, Dino works closely with Justice Funders’ People-Centered Systems Circle by introducing and supporting the adoption of regenerative practices and co-creating a culture of: psychological safety, centering well-being, radical interdependence, untethered imagination, and generative leadership internally and externally.

As a gender non-conforming, queer, indigenous grassroots fundraiser from San Antonio, TX, Dino comes to Justice Funders with many years in social justice philanthropy, two decades in non-profit operations and has been working to return financial resources to the places from which wealth has been extracted. As Operations Coordinator and Donor Organizing Coordinator for Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX), Dino collaborated on the formation of a giving circle of young inheritors of wealth in the Bay Area and helped establish the Thousand Currents’ COVID-19 rapid response fund which provided emergency grants to organizations in the global south.

Dino is a mindfulness practitioner who enjoys cooking, meditation, yoga, hiking, volunteerism, traveling (when safe) and music. They are the author of When the Glitter Fades (Kórima Press), and are committed to the creation of nonviolent social change through the art of Drag.

As Co-Executive Director, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano supports the team in pursuing collaborative strategies to build a bold and sustainable Justice Funders by strengthening internal operational systems, aligning programs with our vision, and cultivating practices that nurture an organizational culture through which we are all able to flourish, thrive, and bring our full selves to the work of transforming philanthropy toward a Just Transition.

Early in his journey, Lorenzo was confronted with the painful contradictions between the radical and inspiring mission statements of movement organizations and the mistreatment and exploitation of their employees. Moved by the stories of heartbreak and loss of those who came before him, coupled with the heartbreak and loss he was experiencing, he rejected the practice of creating martyrs out of each other and of offering ourselves—our physical and mental health, our agency, our dreams—as sacrifices in the name of future generations. Turning to the wisdom of women of color, most of them queer, he began nurturing an organizational development and leadership praxis rooted in two fundamental beliefs: 1) to do our work well, we must support each other in being well; and, 2) to move in the direction of a shared vision, we must begin embodying that vision in the present.

Building on two decades of nonprofit management and governance experience; graduate training in Cultural Studies, Organizational Leadership and Ethics, and Chicanx Studies; and, a practice in neuroscience-informed asset-based coaching, Lorenzo applies these beliefs to every aspect of his work with the Justice Funders team—from the infrastructure we create; to the design, delivery, and assessment of our programs; to the supervision and professional development we provide; to the questions we ask and the reflections we offer one another; to the wellness strategies we weave into our together.

Raised in the Bay Area and northern Mexico, Lorenzo makes queer home with his partners, two rapidly growing teenagers, and a chihuahua in San Francisco.

As Justice Funders’ Director of Innovation Labs, Sharon partners with philanthropy and field practitioners to design, pilot, and scale innovation and collective action that advances social movements through our Movement Commons Lab.

Recently, Sharon was with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) where she maximized the collective work of the organization, and led several national immigration advocacy collaboratives and re-granting programs.

Sharon also was a lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Law where she taught legal ethics. She clerked for the Honorable Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Sharon began her career at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

Sharon is a licensed attorney who holds a Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law with a specialization in Critical Race Studies and a concentration in public interest law and policy.

She finds joy in baking her way through a growing pile of cookbooks, and taking walks with her pup and partner. Sharon lives in New York, but will forever consider herself a Californian.

Driven by a vision of a truly just and equitable world, Rachel Humphrey has worked in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector for 25 years as a strategist, capacity builder, and movement builder. She is passionate about people feeling connected, empowered, and purposeful in their collective efforts for justice, and brings a solid and ever-evolving anti-oppression lens as well as skills in Appreciative Inquiry and Conflict Literacy to supporting this aim.

Beginning in 2015, Rachel designed and led Justice Funder’s leadership development and consulting work. In 2022, Rachel’s work at Justice Funders focuses on accelerating the shift to regenerative practice through individual and group coaching. Prior to joining Justice Funders, Rachel supported social justice nonprofits and foundations as an independent consultant and as a Senior Consultant for TCC Group. Rachel also spent a decade mobilizing resources for community-based organizations around the world, including seven years as Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at the Global Fund for Women.

Rachel has trained extensively in participatory facilitation methods, including with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, Social Transformation Project, and the Center for Right Relationships. She has studied embodied leadership practices with Strozzi Institute and Coaches Rising. She is a few administrative hoops away from becoming a Master Certified Coach (MCC) through the International Coach Federation and holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration and an A.B. in Anthropology and Asian Studies. In her free time, she can be found on the trails near her home in West Marin County, CA.

As Co-Executive Director of Justice Funders, Dana Kawaoka-Chen partners and guides philanthropy in reimagining practices that advance a thriving and just world.  Dana leads with vision and is guided by relationships.  As a practitioner, Dana co-authored the “The Choir Book: A Framework for Social Justice Philanthropy,” and was a primary contributor to “Resonance: A Framework for Philanthropic Transformation.”  You can find her writing on a Just Transition for Philanthropy in Medium.

As founding Executive Director of Justice Funders, Dana grew the organization by aligning its strategy to the visions of movements working for racial, economic and social justice.  Dana’s leadership in facilitating a Just Transition for philanthropy by redistributing wealth, democratizing power and shifting economic control to communities has resulted in millions of philanthropic dollars being mobilized and aligned to build infrastructure for frontline communities to govern themselves.  For her work advocating for deeper investments in social movements and grassroots organizing, Dana was recognized by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) in 2015 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.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Dana currently lives in San Jose with her family.

Michelle joins the team as the Director of Narrative Strategy, leading the work to communicate philanthropy’s reimagined role in supporting thriving social justice movements. They have six years of experience working in grassroots organizations and communications creating content that resonates with a working-class base, funders, and policy makers. They have worked at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), 9to5 Colorado, Charles B Wang Community Health Center, and Families USA to name a few organizations.

Michelle is visionary and able to make connections across liberation movements, curious and interested in learning about people and the society we live in, and community-centered in their work and life. Raised by Chinese Malaysian immigrants in New York City and Philadelphia, Michelle is grounded in building the power of poor and working people. Abolitionism and anti-imperialism are core tenants in their work. They are now living and building community in Washington, DC, where you can find them volunteering as an abortion doula, paying attention to the plants and birds in their neighborhood, and gathering people for karaoke.

abdiel j. lópez is the Director of Capital Activation at Justice Funders, where they work with foundations and investors to shift their investment practices based on the Just Transition Investment Framework. As a member of the Integrated Capital team, abdiel popularizes the Framework in philanthropic and impact investing spaces (e.g., conferences, publications, etc.) to help build the economic and political power of frontline communities.

abdiel arrives at Justice Funders with a combined decade of experience in undocuqueer youth organizing, arts grantmaking, and Indigenous economic development. They learned about transformative philanthropic practices when they managed the national AmbitioUS portfolio as Program Officer at the Center for Cultural Innovation.

Outside of Justice Funders, abdiel is the founder of The Brown Archive, a queer- and Indigenous-focused art space located in their one-bedroom apartment. abdiel earned a BA in sociology and studied art history at Grinnell College, where they were a Posse Foundation Scholar and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow.

abdiel is Chatino (Oaxacan) and currently works and lives on Tongva and Chumash territory with their Pomeranian dog-child, Horchata.

As Senior Director of Resource Development & Finance, Rosita leads development and strategy to secure contributed income that will advance Justice Funders’ mission, partnering with the Co-Executive Directors and Senior Directors in providing executive leadership; stewarding organizational complexity while caring for people and culture; making values-aligned decisions for the organization; and coaching others in service of Justice Funders’ theory of change. As part of her resource development work Rosita engages with a range of stakeholders including philanthropic supporters, Justice Funders Network members, program participants and consulting clients, and our larger national network of movement and philanthropic allies.

Rosita’s previously held roles include Director of Advancement Services for Student Affairs Philanthropy at UC Berkeley,  philanthropic director for Oakland’s Holy Names University, and analyst for City College of San Francisco’s Office of Research, Planning and Grants.

Rosita is credentialed as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and 21/64 Certified Advisor. She holds a M.A. in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley. She resides in Oakland with her family.

As the Manager of Institutional Partnerships for Justice Funders, Alissa is responsible for the tending and growing of the organization’s nationally emerging constellation of philanthropic supporters, network members, and movement partners. Alissa seeks to illuminate and facilitate pathways for allies in the equitable redirection of wealth, democratizing decision-making power in the movement of resources, and direct investments in the solidarity economies that support the arc of liberation for frontline communities.

Alissa brings over ten years of experience navigating the contradictions and complexities of movement and nonprofit fundraising. They came to Justice Funders by way of the Movement Commons program while working at Communities for a Better Environment (CBE). It is here where they found their stride as a co-conspirator for the radical transformation of fundraising culture. Through their development work, they have sought resource generation practices and frameworks that move the philanthropic culture away from its extractive, transactional, and capitalistic roots towards one that is transformational, values aligned, and rooted in a just transition.

After living for over a decade in Oakland (unceded Ohlone territory), Alissa recently relocated to Los Angeles (unceded Tongva Land) with their partner where they find joy in nesting, camping, hiking, boogie boarding, biking, and growing into alignment and right relationships in their home. They are a plant parent and caretaker to an ever-growing number of in-door plants and outdoor garden area.

As Justice Funders’ Senior Director of Innovation, Mario partners with philanthropy and field practitioners to design, pilot and scale both innovation and collective action that advances social movements through our Movement Commons Lab. Mario comes to the organization via Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, where he served as a 2016-2017 Civic Innovation Fellow, as well as Guidestar, where he held the position of Entrepreneur-in-Residence. He is the founder of the movement-building 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 organizing 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.

Kimi Mojica joined Justice Funders in 2018 and currently serves as the Senior Director of Consulting where they guide and support philanthropic institutions in aligning grantmaking practices with social justice values and the Just Transition. In addition to leading Justice Funders’ consulting practice, they lend their talents to support the design and delivery of the Harmony Initiative and other leadership programs. They bring over twenty years of experience as a process strategist, facilitator and trainer working with a broad range of leaders and groups to vision and steward positive change beyond traditional DEI efforts, to transform culture, conflict and practices towards collective liberation.

Kimi works at the nexus of conflict literacy, peacemaking, leadership and organizational development grounded firmly in an equity lens that recognizes how power, structure and systems impact connection, relationships and quality of life. In addition to philanthropy, their career and background spans across sectors  having worked in higher education, tech, corporate, as well as community based formations. Prior to Justice Funders, Kimi has worked as the Membership Services Manager at Asian Americans Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and has served as Board Chair of East Bay Meditation Center and the Astrea Foundation. Kimi’s commitment to racial, gender and healing justice is evident through the dynamic ways they hold space/process with a participatory, experiential, learning-centered, skills-based approach rooted in compassion. Possessing an insatiable desire to explore the complexities of change, resilience and the human condition, Kimi is also an associate trainer at SEEDS and a lead facilitator and curriculum designer at Awaken, in addition to being a coach, mediator and circle keeper.

Born in San Francisco, Kimi currently lives in Oakland, CA/Ohlone Territory. They believe in the power of imagination and can often be found seeking refuge in nature, or in their meditation and Kajukenbo martial arts practices.

Maria is the Senior Director of Just Transition Investing at Justice Funders, where she works with foundations to align their investment practices with the values and principles of Just Transition. She leads the Just Transition Investment Community, a new peer learning and action community for staff and trustees of philanthropic institutions who are committed to divesting from the extractive economy and redirecting investment capital to BIPOC-led, movement-aligned Just Transition projects and loan funds that build local, regenerative solidarity economies. She brings 20 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. She is passionate about mobilizing resources to support thriving movements for racial, gender and economic justice.

Maria serves on the Investment Committee of Just Futures, a new platform that harnesses the power of nonprofit retirement savings for transformative social change. She 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, you’ll find her at the nearest playground, farmers market or whatever natural bodies of water she can get to, frolicking about with her three spunky girls.

Kristine Piasecki grew up in Northeastern Minnesota on the Northern Shores of Lake Superior. She is an enrolled member of the Couchiching First Nation of Ontario, Canada, holds a BS in Accounting, with a background in finance, human resources, and project management. Kristine founded Piasecki Solutions, a small business that recognizes the importance of advocating for organizational resources and equally advocating for the well-being of the worker. She is a self-taught artist who is driven by her activism and involvement with social justice and women’s rights within her community. Kristine has a passion for leading with integrity, working from spirit and joy.

Sujatha believes in the power of collaboration to help advance a just and thriving world. As Senior Director of Leadership Programs, she oversees the design and implementation of Harmony and Maestra in close partnership with the Justice Funders team. In this role, she works with foundation leaders across institutions to build the capacity and resources to align philanthropy with social justice.

Sujatha is an experienced strategist, capacity builder, and facilitator with a diverse background in systems change and community development. Over the past 18 years she has collaborated with a broad cohort of foundations, intermediaries, and nonprofits.  In addition she is the  founding principal of the Conveners Group and co-founder of

Sujatha grew up in a multicultural household, the proud daughter of a midwife and an immigrant entrepreneur. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. While she considers herself a New Yorker at heart, Sujatha feels blessed to call the East Bay home where she lives with her wonderful family and joyful pup Luna.

Lora arrived at Justice Funders after two decades of movement building and Just Transition work in Central Appalachia and the American South. As Director of Investment Partnerships, she collaborates with movement leaders and philanthropic partners to redirect investment capital away from the extractive economy toward local, regenerative solidarity economies that build economic power and self determination in Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities on the frontlines of economic and racial injustice.

Lora is the founder and former Executive Director of the Appalachian Impact Fund, the first place-based social impact investment fund of its kind serving Appalachian Kentucky with a focus on non-extractive, community-controlled investment. Previously, Smith worked as the Network Officer for Central Appalachia at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation where she directed the Foundation’s strategic grantmaking and program related investments in the region. Feeding her love of the arts, Lora is a co-creator and member of the Waymakers Collective, a fund and democratically controlled collective supporting artists, arts and culture organizations, and culture bearers in Central Appalachia. In 2022, she co-founded the Lige Clarke Liberation Fund, the first philanthropic fund in Kentucky focused on supporting queer communities in the mountains.

Lora is a mother, writer, and avid traveler. She lives in an overflowing and happy home with her partner, their four children, and two very mischievous poodles.