I spent the first decade of my career working in the anti-human trafficking movement, cultivating robust networks and resources for survivors in the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Israel/Palestine. I gravitated towards this work because of my own family's migration stories from Ukraine and Lithuania. The work impressed upon me a deeper understanding of systemic and structural oppressions - I know, this is the definition of privilege, something I continue to learn and unlearn. I took a step back to unpack my role and, then, to uncover how I could best leverage my skills and influence.
I shifted my commitment to dismantling these systems through mobilizing resources towards people, organizations, and communities that are leading transformative change from the center of these oppressions. In philanthropy, funding streams don't always flow this way. Channeling resources to progressive groups and ideas is a form of activism, it is my activism. I believe in a peer-led, rights-based approach, always.
I have led innovative fundraising efforts, designed and implemented impact measurement, built communication strategies, and grew communities of support in East Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America through my work with Akili Dada, Resonate, WAKE, and Bay Area-based nonprofits.
Currently, I spearhead philanthropic strategy and initiatives at Mommy's Bliss, focusing on infant and maternal health in the US, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
I have an MPA from The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland. I hold certificates in social entrepreneurship and impact investing from Frontier Market Scouts and in international development project management from Development Project Management Institute. I'm currently pursuing a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) Certificate. My home base is San Francisco, California with my partner, Joanna, where I cook soup and make salad dressings like nobody's business!
Adding Donna to our team as a subject matter expert in the gender and development space has transformed our work and added much-needed support. Not only has Donna elevated the quality of our client work significantly, but she is also an absolute pleasure to work with; she’s thoughtful, profressional, respectful, responsive, creative, detail-oriented and results-driven. -- Lauren S., StreetSense