Rajasvini Bhansali is the Executive Director of Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX) and a passionate advocate for participatory grassroots-led social change and movement building. In her wide-ranging career devoted to social, ecological, and economic justice, she has led a national social enterprise, managed a public telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues, and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years, an experience she credits as motivating her to work to transform international development and philanthropy towards more people-centered practices. Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master’s in Public Affairs with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor′s in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley. Vini has been involved in community organizing and volunteer board roles for the last two decades including serving on the boards of Greenpeace USA, Agroecology Fund, CUSO International and Voice of Witness. Currently, she serves on the advisory board for the Women’s Building in New York City and is affiliated with the Master’s of Leadership in Sustainability Program at the University of Vermont. In 2015, she was honored with a Leaders in Action award by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), and she was a Social Entrepreneurship (SEERS) fellow at Stanford University in 2016. Vini is also a published poet, essayist, storyteller, popular educator, and a trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. When not engaged with community organizations, Vini can be found nesting in her home with her family in Richmond, CA.
Jenesha (Jinky) de Rivera
Director of Finance and Administration
Jinky de Rivera oversees the financial, human resource and organizational effectiveness functions at Thousand Currents. As part of the senior management team, Jinky brings nearly twenty years of experience in leadership, technical expertise and strategic thinking. Their experience directing nonprofit financial operations spans human rights and social justice organizations in the Bay Area and New York City, including 826 Valencia, Tides and the Audre Lorde Project. Jinky currently serves as the Treasurer on the Leadership Sangha of the East Bay Meditation Center, which strives to foster liberation, personal and interpersonal healing, social action and inclusive community building. Jinky was also the Board Treasurer for Out Right International, a U.S.-based international organization that addresses human rights violations and abuses against LGBTIQ people. A native New Yorker, Jinky moved to Oakland in 2004 where they earned their MFA in English & Creative Writing at Mills College. They are the co-editor of the anthology Homelands: Women’s Journeys Across Race, Place and Time (Seal Press, ed. 2007). Jinky continues to write for the stage, page and screen with organizations such as Bindlestiff Studio, National Queer Arts Festival, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP), Voices of our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA), Litquake, Kearny Street Workshop and was once a member of Kreatibo, a queer [email protected] artist collective based in the Bay Area.
Regional Director, Asia
A seasoned organizer, Trishala Deb leads Thousand Currents’ programs in Asia. She has worked at the intersection of a variety of issues – immigrant and refugee rights, gender justice, and anti-violence and militarization – supporting the capacity building efforts of emerging grassroots organizations. Previously, she worked for the Caring Across Generations campaign, bringing together home care workers, consumers, and families. She also coordinated a program for immigrants at the Audre Lorde Project, a community organizing center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, and trans people of color in New York City, and has worked with the Arcus Foundation and Public Interest Projects. Trishala has served on the advisory board of the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights and worked with Migrant Rights International. She has also served on the Steering Committee of Grassroots Global Justice to connect issues of migration, sustainable development, and economic justice with organizations in the Global South and the U.S.
Dino Foxx, born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, is a nationally presented actor, singer, poet, arts educator and activist. They are a founding member of a Queer Xicana/o Performance Poetry Collaborative and a company member with Jump-Start Performance Co. Their poetry has been published in such collections as Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press), the 19th issue of Suspect Thoughts: A Journal of Subversive Writing (2007), and Queer Codex: Chile Love (Evelyn Street Press/allgo). Dino is the author of When the Glitter Fades (2013) and will also be featured in the upcoming poetry collection Joto: An Anthology of Queer Xicano & Chicano Poetry through Kórima Press.
Director of Philanthropic Partnerships
Rajiv is engaged in strategy development and effective execution of all activities related to the Social Justice Giving goals in Thousand Currents’ Theory of Change, particularly resource mobilization and building a philanthropic community that has forged solidarity-based learning partnerships with grassroots groups in the Global South. He provides overall leadership of the Philanthropic Partnerships Program at Thousand Currents, overseeing donor engagement, the IDEX Academy, Learning and Evaluation, the Buen Vivir Fund, and Diaspora Partnerships. As part of the Senior Management Team, he also informs and guides Thousand Currents’ overall strategy and planning, ensuring collaboration and interconnectedness across all Thousand Currents’ programs. He currently serves on the Board of the Management Assistance Group, which strengthens individuals, organizations, and networks to bring about transformative change. In addition, he is on the Stewardship Circle of Thrive East Bay, a purpose-driven community of people committed to creating a flourishing world for all. A recovering academic, Rajiv is professionally trained as a historian of international relations with expertise in Modern Europe, South Asia, and the Cold War and has designed and taught college-level courses at universities across the U.S. He has also led the Indian Diaspora Oral History Project, a community-centered project focused on South Asian immigrants in Silicon Valley, as part of the Silicon Valley Immigration Center at San Jose State University. Rajiv has a Bachelor’s in English and History from Newman University in Wichita, KS, and a Master’s in history from The Ohio State University. A native of Bombay, he is a published poet and writer, enjoys cooking, the outdoors, the ocean, reading, traveling, and is a cricket fanatic.
Regional Director, Africa
As an African of Eritrean origin, Luam Kidane has worked in and with social movements on the continent and in the African Diaspora at the intersections of self-determination, food sovereignty, and cultural production for close to a decade. She received a Master’s from McGill University, focusing her thesis on the liberatory value of cultural production. Through popular education, Luam has sought to spark insurgent imagination and create improvisations of freedom. She is the co-curator of NSOROMMA, a pan-African arts initiative and has written several publications and articles on radical transformation in Africa. Prior to joining Thousand Currents, Luam worked with several philanthropic and social change initiatives as a researcher and strategist on food sovereignty, youth programming, gender, and sexuality.
With over 15 years of experience in philanthropy and social change, Solomé Lemma is committed to community-owned and -determined social transformation. Solomé joins Thousand Currents most recently from Africans in the Diaspora (AiD), an initiative she co-founded and led for four years before its merger with Thousand Currents. She is also one of the founders of Africa Responds, a diaspora-led humanitarian initiative that was created to galvanize support for grassroots organizations that fought the Ebola outbreak in parts of west Africa. Previously, she served as Global Fund for Children’s Senior Program Officer for Africa for over five years, managing a portfolio of over 100 grassroots organizations in about 25 countries. Solomé has also worked with the UN Development Programme in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch in New York City, and International Rescue Committee in Liberia. She received a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Stanford University. Solomé was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for her work with diaspora communities and has been featured in both Forbes and the Washington Post. She was also named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on twitter” at @innovateafrica.
Director of Communications
Given that her hometown of Bruning, Nebraska, USA has a population of just 248 people, it’s no wonder that Jennifer Lentfer found her true calling in accompanying small, local organizations to be strong forces for social change. Jennifer has worked with over 300 grassroots organizations in east and southern Africa over the past decade. In 2010, she created the blog how-matters.org to help place community-driven initiatives at the forefront of international aid, philanthropy, and social enterprise, and in 2012 she was named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter” at @intldogooder. Jennifer is constantly looking for ways to portray the realities of people’s lives, their struggles, their strengths–as well as outsiders’ roles and mistakes–in an impatient, “silver bullet solutions” world. Jennifer has served with various international organizations in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, and the US, including Oxfam, the Red Cross, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, and Firelight Foundation. With her students at Georgetown University in 2014, she published “The Development Element: Guidelines for the future of communicating about the end of global poverty” and her first book, Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, co-edited with Tanya Cothran, was published in May 2017.
Joanna Levitt Cea
Director of Buen Vivir Fund
Joanna Levitt Cea is an advocate, facilitator, and researcher for investment that honors our earth and human rights. She leads the Buen Vivir Fund at Thousand Currents, where she works with partners and investors to collectively re-imagine how impact investment is practiced and how to re-build an economy that supports the wellbeing of all people and the planet. From 2006-2014, Joanna served as Executive Director of the International Accountability Project (IAP). Under her leadership, IAP won precedent-setting policies for ensuring citizen participation and human rights safeguards at global financial institutions including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and Asian Development Bank. Prior to joining IAP, Joanna worked as a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador with the Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales, and as a John Gardner Fellow with the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington D.C. She is a Board member of International Accountability Project and an Advisory Board member for the Transform Finance Investor Network. Joanna is also a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Global Projects Center, where she is advancing research on emerging best practices for co-design of social change.
Masaki was born and raised on O’ahu, Hawai’i, and she brings experience in feminist activism and research, community engagement, and fundraising for women’s rights and social change organizations. She holds a Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies and Religious Studies from San Diego State University in California, and a Master’s in Development Studies from the University of Auckland in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Her thesis research focused on the intersections of gender, climate change, and transnational Pacific Island communities. Prior to joining Thousand Currents, Masaki supported a feminist research project exploring gender inequality in the Pacific Islands through the lens of local marketplaces. Previously, she worked at the Global Fund for Women, focusing on donor stewardship and grant writing. She has also worked for Making Contact/International Media Project, and UpsideDowns Education Trust. Masaki enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly when that entails being in or near the the ocean. She is an avid traveler, reader, and information seeker, and a proud aunty to two adorable nephews.
Community Engagement Manager
As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Whittier College, Verónica Moreno has always been committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples in both academia and her own community. Verónica was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Argentina, where she designed and taught a syllabus focused on social issues in media and pop culture. She also organized a video production workshop for both teachers and students. She returned to the U.S. and after a short stint at a tech company, Verónica re-committed to social change and joined the Thousand Currents team. She brings an eclectic set of skills to the team, ranging from operational support to handling heavy-duty power tools. On her free time, she enjoys live music, cooking soups, building things, and writing about the lessons from the “everyday mundane” that she finds incredibly fascinating.
Learning and Evaluation Manager
Hafsa Mustafa is a seasoned researcher, monitoring & evaluation (M&E) expert, educator, and fundraiser with more than a decade of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and corporations in the U.S. and abroad. As the Learning and Evaluation Manager for Thousand Currents, Hafsa works on evaluating the IDEX Academy, Buen Vivir Fund, and other programs. Her passion to create sector-wide strategic partnerships and promote data-driven decision-making was born in Pakistan, where she worked on designing tools and M&E systems to address these challenges. Major projects include developing tools and systems for RISEPAK – an award-winning project by John Hopkins University and the World Bank; co-establishing M&E systems at Marie Stopes International for the Buffet Foundation Project; leading a qualitative study for the Kennedy School at Harvard University on the Hajj; and advising a University of Illinois research project on first-generation Sub-Saharan Africans. Hafsa is currently an Adjunct Faculty at the University of San Francisco’s School of Management and volunteers her time by working on pro-bono projects for the American Pakistan Foundation and serving on the boards of the UChicago Bay Area Alumni Association and Collaborative Enterprise Exchange. Hafsa earned her Master’s in Public Policy and Program Evaluation from the University of Chicago and her Bachelor’s in Economics with a minor in Mathematics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
Director of Donor Organizing
Jessie Spector invites and engages donors and supporters of Thousand Currents to offer their whole selves in support of social justice. Having worked with individual donors and funders for nearly a decade, Jessie is passionately committed to organizing people with financial privilege to be in solidarity and partnership with frontline communities. Prior to joining Thousand Currents, Jessie was the Executive Director of Resource Generation, organizing wealthy people ages 18-35 to become transformative leaders toward a world with the equitable distribution of land, wealth, and power. Jessie deeply believes in the goodness of all people, and the vital role that people with privilege can play in supporting a more just and peaceful world. Jessie serves on the boards of the Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice and Jewish Voice for Peace. When not organizing, Jessie can be found on long bike rides through New England, baking bread, and eating ice cream.
Director of Grassroots Climate Solutions Fund
Hilda Vega is the Director of the Grassroots Climate Solutions Fund at Thousand Currents and a fellow at pfc Social Impact Advisors. She has nearly 20 years of experience in philanthropy; racial and economic justice; grantmaking strategy development, implementation and evaluation; sustainable development, particularly in Latin America; resource development (with individuals and foundations); human rights; women’s rights; social entrepreneurship and impact investing; drug policy reform; and climate justice, both in the US and Latin America. Previously, Hilda worked as an advisor to families, family foundations, and other philanthropists to create and implement strategic giving plans, measure and understanding impact, support fundraising strategies for activists, and build long-term partnerships across social change networks. Her previous employers and clients include pfc Social Impact Advisors; Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd. and The Libra Foundation; the Avina Foundation; the National Council of La Raza; aeioTU-Fundación Carulla (Colombia); and Cavanaugh, Hagan, Pierson & Mintz. Hilda is a member of the board of directors of the ACLU of Illinois, a long-standing volunteer with Brown University, and served on the Aprender Para la Vida Advisory Committee of the Jacobs Foundation (Switzerland). She is fluent in Spanish and is learning Portuguese. Hilda has a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Brown University and a Master’s in International Studies from the University of Miami.
Regional Director, Latin America
A native of Peru, Katherine Zavala leads Thousand Currents’ programs in Latin America and has played a leading role in amplifying innovative local models and solutions in women’s rights, food sovereignty, and economic justice to key philanthropic audiences in U.S. and Europe, including millennials and diaspora groups. She is an experienced alliance-builder, connecting organizations to share analysis, take joint action, and advance multiple pathways for social justice. Katherine has worked alongside AFEDES, an indigenous women-led organization in Guatemala (and a Thousand Currents partner), for 5 months to support their economic empowerment program; and spent six weeks learning from the Movement of People Affected by Dams, a national social movement in Brazil. She has also written numerous articles and blogs that champion indigenous cosmovision and activism, and highlight how indigenous women’s leadership and resilience is at the heart of dignified livelihoods and a sustainable ecosystem. Katherine was the co-chair for the Latin American Funders Working Group from 2010 to 2015, hosted at the International Human Rights Funders Group. Katherine earned a Master’s in International Relations from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management from Florida International University.
On Contract at Thousand Currents
On Contract with Buen Vivir Fund
On Contract with African Diaspora Program
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