Staff

 

Solomé Lemma
Executive Director

…leaders of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds around the world are developing solutions to the challenges their communities face.

~Solomé Lemma

As Executive Director, Solomé works closely with the board to set the strategic direction for Thousand Currents and is responsible for ensuring Thousand Currents remains a dynamic, innovative, and financially-sound organization, rooted in its support of grassroots partners.

As a champion of social transformation through community-driven initiatives, 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. 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. Solomé currently serves on the advisory board of the Agroecology Fund.

Born in Ethiopia and moving to the United States at a young age, Solomé quickly learned of the skewed perspectives held of Africans. As a co-founder of Africa Responds, Solomé also led a diaspora-led humanitarian effort to galvanize fundraising for grassroots organizations that fought the Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa. She is a White House Champion of Change for her work with diaspora communities.

Solomé received a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Stanford University. During to her 15+ years of experience in philanthropy and social change, Solomé has become a strong voice against “inequitable and ineffective partnerships” and a fierce supporter of local leadership. Solomé’s work and writing has been featured in Forbes, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Inside Philanthropy, and Africa is a Country, among others, and she has appeared on NPR, BBC, and Al Jazeera discussing aid and philanthropy in Africa. She has been an invited guest speaker at community events, conferences, and universities such as the University of Vermont, Columbia, and NYU. Solomé was named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter” at @innovateafrica.

Mónica Carrillo Zegarra
Regional Director, Latin America

Mónica Carrillo Zegarra is an Afro-Peruvian feminist, human rights advocate, and artist with 18 years of experience in fundraising, designing, and leadership of human rights initiatives. She founded LUNDU Center for Afro Peruvian Studies and Advancement in Peru and has harnessed more than two million dollars to improve public policies of racial and gender equality, rebuild rural communities after natural disasters, and strengthen grassroots social organizations from a racial, feminist, and integenerational perspective. She has also designed public campaigns to denounce the exploitation of women labor in the agribusiness export sector and supported the creation of centers to prevent gender violence and HIV in rural communities in Peru.

Carrillo led the first successful lawsuit against the use of Blackface on Peruvian television and a strategy which resulted in the official recognition of racist insults as physiological violence in Peru. Her latest book, “Faces of Violence, Faces of Power” explores the intersection of racism and sexism in the lives of Afro-Peruvian women.

As the community organizer of the Queens Museum, Carrillo led projects to recover the traditional textile arts of immigrant women, supported immigrant families with special needs children, and organized public festivals that celebrated immigrant communities.

Carrillo creates poetry that mixes Afro-Peruvian music to bring attention to the ongoing effects of racism and sexism. Her productions “Unicroma” and “Poetics of Reparation” includes a CD, a book, and a live performance with musicians and dancers. As a songwriter and performer, she has been featured in the Grammy, Latin Grammy, and Independent Music Awards winning album “El Orisha de la Rosa” among other Latin Grammy nominee albums.

Carrillo has been recognized as a global advocate by Google Earth and by The Elders–an organization founded by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu–and has been featured on programs and films on PBS, CNN, Univision, The New York Times, MTV Europe, and others. She holds a B.A. in journalism, an M.F.A in Performance Media and Interactive Arts from Brooklyn College, a post-degree in Political Journalism/Cultural Analysis, and a certification in International Law and Human Rights from Oxford University in England.

Rudo Chigudu
Program Manager, Africa

 

As an African feminist, activist, and artist fiercely committed to social justice and human rights, Rudo Chigudu has worked with social movements on the African continent. She has worked for close to a decade with young women on issues of sexuality and leadership. Using creative arts as a feminist popular education tool to politicise  sexuality and its linkage to broader political discourse. She is co-founder of Katswe Sistahood, a Zimbabwean based young women’s organisation and is popularly known as a V warrior for her engagement in the struggles surrounding women’s bodily autonomy and sexual diversity.  She holds a Master of Philosophy in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa. Her recent work includes projects on the politics of land as history, identity and a means towards food sovereignty within Africa.

Jinky Demarest 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 history directing nonprofit financial operations spans human rights and social justice organizations in the Bay Area and New York City. Their history directing nonprofit financial operations spans human rights and social justice organizations in New York City and the bay area, starting at GLSEN and the Audre Lorde Project and most recently at Tides. Jinky currently serves on the Leadership Sangha of the East Bay Meditation Center, which strives to foster liberation, healing, social action and community building. 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). To find out more about the magic of combining social justice, creativity and math skills read Jinky’s entry on the Thousand Currents blog.

Dino Foxx
Donor Organizing Coordinator 

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.

Gabriela Hylton Garza
Executive Assistant

Gabriela Hylton Garza has 10 years of Administrative and Event Management experience. Having held various positions in Education, Human Resources, and Project Management, she has increased efficiency in several of her assigned roles. Gabriela is inspired when supporting the dynamic work of non-profits dedicated to global transformation. She was a facilitator and founding member of the Stewardship Circle for Thrive East Bay, a meaningful community dedicated to creating a just and flourishing world for all.

Gabriela is passionate about guiding Grandmother Ceremonies, Water Blessings and circles that focus on honoring the ancestors and connecting with Mother Earth. She is committed to co-creating a world where individuals share their passions and unique gifts openly, experience unconditional love, and support the next generations to become thriving and compassionate individuals.

Ashlesha Khadse
Program Manager, Asia

Ashlesha Khadse is connected to the Amrita Bhoomi Agroecology School, a peasant agroecology training school in southern India, which is run by the Karnataka state’s farmers’ movement and part of the global peasant’s movement, La Via Campesina. At Amrita Bhoomi, she helps to coordinate trainings for rural youth. She has been working with farmers’ and food movements since 2009. She completed her Msc at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Chiapas, Mexico in 2016 where she conducted research on the Zero Budget Natural Farming movement, an Indian peasant led agroecology movement which has millions of peasant members nationally. Her main areas of interest are agroecology movements, gender and agriculture, grassroots solutions to the agrarian and climate crisis. She loves Mexican food and is dreaming of starting a taco truck with her partner in Mumbai.

Rajiv Khanna
Director of Philanthropic Partnerships

Rajiv is engaged in strategy development and effective execution of all activities related to cultivating a just, equitable, and inclusive philanthropic & impact investing sector that centers local solutions, forms learning partnerships with grassroots groups, and reimagines wealth, well-being, and giving. He provides overall leadership of the Philanthropic Partnerships Program at Thousand Currents, overseeing individual donor engagement and fundraising, institutional fundraising, the Thousand Currents Academy, and the Buen Vivir Fund. 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.

Luam Kidane
Regional Director, Africa


An African of Eritrean origin, Luam Kidane’s curatorial work, research, and writing examines movement building at the intersections of Indigenous governance models, cultural production and articulations of self-determination. Prior to joining Thousand Currents Luam worked for over a decade as a researcher and strategist on food sovereignty, political economy, gender, sexuality and cultural production. She received a Master’s from McGill University, focusing her thesis on the liberatory value of cultural production. Luam is also the co-curator of NSOROMMA, a pan-African arts initiative, and has written several publications and articles on radical transformation in Africa.

Priya Krishnamoorthy
Director of UK Partnerships

Priya Krishnamoorthy is Thousand Currents’s Director for UK Partnerships. A Global South (especially Asia) projects specialist, Priya has an excellent track record of successful partnerships and innovative fundraising, PR and Diaspora Philanthropy experience. Her 18 years of international work experience includes 12 years in the charity sector in London (UK) and 6 years in the creative/media industries as a journalist (India/Oman), advertising copywriter (UAE), and a film development assistant in Hollywood (USA). A proud South Indian with ancestry in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, she’s an adopted Brit for whom London is second home. She is passionate about the natural world, walking in the wild, cycling, green politics, movements building, India, indie cinema, literature from the Global South, Indian classical music, and writing for the screen. Priya has a Master’s in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, UK, and a Master’s in Public Communications from Syracuse University, NY, and uses her background, expertise and skills to champion grassroots philanthropic practices in the Global North that challenge monopolistic vanilla philanthropy tendencies.

Heather Masaki
Grants Manager

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.

Lindley Mease
Director of Climate Leaders in Movement Action (CLIMA) Fund 

Lindley is dedicated to nurturing networks of solidarity for grassroots leaders advancing just and regenerative solutions to climate change. She directs the Climate Leaders In Movement Action (CLIMA) Fund at Thousand Currents, mobilizing funders to collaboratively give to climate justice movements in the Global South. She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Blue Heart, an organization that organizes millennial donors to give to frontline organizations in the United States. In these roles she is working to build accountability and humility into philanthropic giving, and to elevate the stories of scrappy organizations building real political power. Prior to Blue Heart, Lindley was a Senior Research Analyst at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. Lindley currently teaches a class on human-centered design for graduate students at Stanford University; is an experienced mediator and counselor; and organizes with LeftRoots, a national formation of social movement activists. Lindley has a M.S. in Earth System Science and a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. Although her roots run deep beneath the Cascades of Washington State, she has fallen hard for the Sierras and the Redwoods that surround her home of Oakland.

Verónica Moreno
Communications 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.

Hafsa Mustafa
Manager of Philanthropic Partnerships

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 Thousand Currents 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.

Sayra Pinto
Director of Learning and Innovation

Sayra Pinto leads learning and innovation processes at Thousand Currents. An immigrant from Honduras, Sayra began working as a community organizer in the late 1980’s in the Greater Boston region. Sayra has an unshakable commitment to practice-based approaches to leadership education, values-driven organizational development, and experiential social innovations.

In a 30 year career devoted to cross-sectoral social transformation, Sayra has worked with the Harvard Law Human Rights Program, the Harvard Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, the Suffolk University Center for Restorative Justice, The State of Massachusetts’ Anti-Crime Council, the Schott Foundation for Public Education, the Boston Foundation’s Indicators Project, the National Parks Conservation Association of New England, the Third Sector New England’s Inclusion Initiative, the Holyoke High School’s P’Alante Restorative Justice Program, the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition amongst many other alliances, networks and coalitions. Sayra is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubinstein School’s Master’s of Leadership in Sustainability program.

Sayra holds an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College, an MFA from Goddard College, and an PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Union Institute and University. She has published two chapbooks and a doctoral dissertation to date: Pinol : Poems (2012), Vatolandia (2012), and the dissertation The Ontology of Love: A Framework for Re-Indigenizing Communities of Color in the U.S (2015). She is also published in various anthologies including I Was Indian (2011), Decolonizing the Spirit in Education and Beyond (2018), and the forthcoming Where We Stand: Brown and Black Voices Speak the Earth. When not writing, teaching or working, Sayra can be found hosting friends and chilling in her backyard with her family, including black cat Moses, in Richmond, CA.

Nina Robinson
Buen Vivir Finance Fellow

Nina Robinson is an impact capital convener with over 10 years of experience working with mission-driven entrepreneurs and innovative investment models including The Runway Project Oakland, Homestake Ventures, and as a RSF Integrated Capital Fellow in 2017-2018. Nina has advised numerous small businesses on strategic growth, capital raising, impact and organizational development which has resulted in creation of 400+ local good jobs, and the facilitation of over $10M in capital investments. At ICA Fund Good Jobs, Nina managed a $2.2M investment portfolio and provided consulting, capital raising support, and board participation to seed portfolio companies.

Nina received her MBA from the Lorry I. Lokey School of Business at Mills College, and holds a Bachelors degree in High Technology Management from California State University. Nina holds a Certificate for Board Directorship from the Anderson Graduate School of Business at UCLA. Nina sits on Credit Committee of The Runway Project and when she isn’t working towards economic justice, you can find her spinning records around the globe as Nina Sol.

Samira Shifteh
Accounting and Operations Manager


Raised in a family of immigrants and refugees from Iran, Samira has been involved in social movements for over a decade, as part of immigrant justice, anti-militarism, and Palestine solidarity work. As a non-profit professional she has held both direct service and operations roles throughout her career. Originally from Los Angeles, she began direct service work with immigrant survivors of gender-based violence in L.A., and continued that work in Seattle, before transitioning into operational roles. Now settling into the Bay Area, Samira brings her non-profit finance background to her position as the Accounting and Operations Manager at Thousand Currents. Samira is also a budding filmmaker, with a strong desire to document and share the stories of our community activists, artists, and movements who are speaking truth to power!
 

Gaithiri Siva
Buen Vivir Fund Director

Gaithiri is a finance professional with over 15 years of progressive leadership experience in investments, management consulting, risk advisory, and operations. She played a key role in the North America expansion and diversification of a $40B Malaysian strategic investment fund into the technology sector, where she partnered with teams across North America and Asia to execute on critical strategic investment decisions. She has closed over $40M investments to-date and led diligence for numerous deals totaling over $300M.

In previous roles, Gaithiri has consulted for the UN in Indonesia, Laos, and Myanmar, predominantly to improve reach and efficacy of spending. She led large teams under difficult conditions in these remote areas of Asia for the oversight of disaster-relief fund management and micro-financing for women.

As a Malaysian of Indian origin, Gaithiri is familiar with ethnic discrimination and is very keen on closing the inequality gap, especially amongst minorities. She has a Bachelor of Accounting (Honors) degree and a CPA. An avid reader, she also enjoys the beach, baking, kickboxing, and film photography. These days, however, she spends all her free time chasing after her young daughter.

Rachel E. Smith 
Data Systems and Accounting Manager 

Originally from Texas, Rachel is an audio-visual artist, musician, data nerd and lifelong learner. Her educational background has ranged from sociocultural anthropology, linguistics and museum studies to coding, game design and VR to creating really terrible pottery. Professionally, Rachel has over 15 years database management and fundraising experience, from organizations including The Asia Foundation, San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. She currently volunteers and serves on the board of Bay Area Girls’ Rock Camp, a grassroots music education organization dedicated to gender justice, creativity and transforming the lives of young people. In her free time, Rachel also records and releases music under the experimental collaborative International Corporation.

Jessie Spector
Director of Donor Organizing

Jessie Spector organizes donors and supporters of Thousand Currents to engage and leverage 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. 

Katherine Zavala
Director of Grassroots Partnerships

A native of Peru, Katherine Zavala has journeyed through years of learnings, strategic shifts, experimentation, and relationship-building in global philanthropy since 2006. Katherine has spent the majority of her career at Thousand Currents, starting as an intern at the organization (formerly known as IDEX) and working her way through several iterations of program positions and directorships, all with a focus on channeling funds to grassroots organizations and social movements in the Global South. Currently as Director of Grassroots Partnerships, she supports the Regional Directors and Grants Manager to model long-term engagement and commitment to not just individual organizations, but whole ecosystems of grassroots actors working towards collective self-determination and social transformation. Katherine has been invited to spend significant time with indigenous organizations and social movements in Latin America, including with AFEDES, an indigenous women-led organization in Guatemala (and a long-term Thousand Currents partner) and the Movement of People Affected by Dams (also a Thousand Currents partner) in Brazil. As a writer, Katherine’s work champions Indigenous cosmovision and activism, and highlights how Indigenous women’s leadership and resilience is at the heart of dignified livelihoods and sustainable ecosystems. Katherine earned a Master’s in International Relations from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management from Florida International University. Always curious to learn more about the world, you can find Katherine planning her next travel adventure.

On Contract at Thousand Currents