Salote Soqo is an indigenous woman from Kocoma, Cakaudrove and Naikeleyaga, Kabara in the Fiji Islands. Salote has over two decades of community-based environmental management and climate justice experience. She is currently the Director of Advocacy, Global Displacement at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), an international human rights organization, where Salote leads and strengthens UUSC’s advocacy framework to advance rights-protection in national and international policies, laws, and practices. Prior to this, Salote led UUSC’s climate justice and disaster justice initiative that provides flexible funding and partner support to affected communities in the Pacific Islands, the United States and the Caribbean. Salote also managed UUSC’s transition of their Human Right to Water program with partners in Africa, Latin America and the United States. Before joining UUSC, Salote worked as a regional program coordinator in water equity and climate justice for the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW) and as a climate and carbon management fellow. Before migrating to the United States, Salote worked in the environmental management and conservation field in Fiji as an environmental scientist and marine conservation project officer. Salote attained her undergraduate degrees from the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and the University of the South Pacific, in Fiji. She also holds a master’s degree in environmental management from the University of San Francisco. Salote loves spending time with her son and family near the ocean.
Alejandra Garduño Martínez is a professional with more than 17 years of experience working in complex and multi-stakeholder initiatives at the service of Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant Peoples, women-led projects in rural communities in Mexico and other LAC territories. She has accompanied and advised groups, organizations, and actors to achieve their objectives through this type of work, community, and social justice objectives.
Alejandra Garduño served at the W.K Kellogg Foundation as a program manager in 2012 and was promoted to program officer in 2013 and as Director for LAC programs in 2020. She provided leadership and oversaw the foundation’s longstanding investments in Mexico, Haiti and Latin America and the Caribbean to further create conditions that support thriving children, working families and equitable communities. She was also responsible for collaborating with internal and external stakeholders, coordinating grant making activities and implementing a regional strategy in Mexico nationally and in WKKF’s micro-regions in Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula.
She was a project director for Fundación para la Productividad en el Campo A.C., where she oversaw rural economic development projects and coordinated efforts to connect rural communities in Mexico with diasporic groups. Garduño Martínez served as a project manager with Apoyo Integral al Campo, APINCA, S.C., a development organization based in Mexico City.
She also worked as a university professor and researcher with Baden- Württemberg International, where she conducted research for European stakeholders seeking projects in Mexico. Garduño Martínez has been a contributing author in nonprofit and international development publications including Alliance Magazine for global philanthropy. In 2019, she was selected for Career Pathways, the Council on Foundation’s flagship leadership development program for increasing diverse executive talent in philanthropy. Garduño Martínez holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City.
Sofia Arroyo is the Co-Executive Director at EDGE Funders Alliance. Formally, she was the Executive Director at Sacred Fire Foundation, where she previously served as Director of Communications and Director of Grants and Partnerships. She is also a Steering Committee member at Kindle Project. She lives in Mexico City with her husband and two daughters. Sofia has a BA in Communications from Universidad Iberoamericana and worked in the film and advertising industry for many years before getting involved in the philanthropic world. While living in Geneva, she attended several UN meetings regarding indigenous issues and became interested in philanthropy. Sofia has since been a passionate and strong advocate for Indigenous Peoples worldwide and hopes to effect social change by raising awareness about the values and perspectives rooted in indigenous traditional knowledge.
Alice Phinizy is the Finance Director for the Disability Rights Fund and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, international grantmakers that provide financial and technical resources to organizations of persons with disabilities to advocate for equal rights and full participation in society. Alice has over a decade of experience overseeing finance and operations for a variety of nonprofit and for-profit companies. She has worked in the affordable housing and social innovation fields, and has also managed the business operations of a world renowned brewery in Boston. Alice has experience building financial and operational procedures from the ground up, and has become a resource for compliance administration and risk management, offering assistance to nonprofit, university, and government organizations. In addition to being the Treasurer for IFIP, Alice is the Treasurer for the Official Liverpool Supporters Club of Boston; a Finance Committee member for Zumix; and a member of the Human Rights Funders Network’s Human Rights Grantmaking Operations Steering Committee. Alice holds a Masters of Business Administration in International Business and Organizational Development and a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Systems, both from Bentley University in Massachusetts.
Suzanne Benally is currently the Executive Director of Swift Foundation. Before that, she served as the Executive Director of Cultural Survival. She came to Cultural Survival from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she served as the associate provost for institutional planning and assessment and associate vice president for academic affairs. She was also a core faculty member in environmental studies and a member of the president’s cabinet. Before starting at Naropa in 1999, she was deputy director and director of education programs at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and director of the Institute on Ethnic Diversity at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. She has been a teacher at the university level and has served as a consultant to philanthropic foundations, nonprofit organizations, and many higher education institutions. Additionally, she has worked extensively with American Indian communities. Her interests, teaching, and passions are focused on the relationship between land, spirituality, and people as reflected in stories, and in environmental issues and Indigenous rights.
Monica Aleman Cunningham currently serves as the International Program Director for the Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice work at the Ford Foundation. She plays a key role in the foundation’s efforts to reduce gender-based violence, end structural inequalities, and institutionally strengthen feminist movements to advance a global agenda for gender equality. Prior to her Ford tenure, she was Executive Director and founder of the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI) and the Indigenous Women’s Fund, a global coordination network of organizations in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. She was also a director at MADRE where she focused on including the voices and needs of indigenous women and girls in their priorities. Monica is co-chair of the board of directors for Witness and co-chair of the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. She received her master’s from the Indigenous University, Popayán, Colombia, and her bachelor’s in international relations from University of Mobile, Latin America Campus at San Marcos, Nicaragua.
Steven Heim is a Managing Director and Director of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Research for Boston Common Asset Management, a globally recognized sustainable investment firm. Steven has over 25 years of experience in the responsible investment field and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. Steven has worked to promote corporate transparency, accountability, and attention to sustainability issues. His efforts to protect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples have helped catalyze positive policy changes at U.S. and international companies including ConocoPhillips and Repsol that included direct engagement with Indigenous Peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Most recently he has helped lead global investor engagements with major banks regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline and urging them to revise the Equator Principles to respect Indigenous Peoples rights including FPIC. Since 2007, Steven has chaired the advocacy subcommittee of the Investors & Indigenous Peoples Working Group and he serves on the Board of Directors of Cultural Survival as Vice Chair.
Tricia Stevens has a strong belief that grassroots movements are essential for long-term systemic change both at a local and global level. Over the past two decades she has partnered with people fighting for social and environmental justice and the advancement of animal rights. She is Director of Strategic Partnerships at Kahani Pictures where she collaborates with diverse community voices in the creation of film and media that changes the narrative landscape, and create tools and resources to support movement building. In her previous role as Charitable Giving and Ethical Campaigns Manager for Lush North America, her team focused on providing grants to grassroots organizations and indigenous communities around the world. She worked directly with impacted communities to co-build consumer awareness campaigns that increase dialog and visibility for issues, hold governments accountable and improve corporate accountability.
Naomi Lenoi Leleto is the Coordinator for Global Indigenous Grantmaking at Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) where she shares collective learning about inclusive grantmaking that supports the rights, self-determination, and environmental work of Indigenous Peoples. A Maasai woman from Narok, Kenya, Naomi previously worked at the Kenyan Land Alliance as their Women Land Rights Programme officer, advocating for effective implementation of Constitutional provisions for secure women’s land rights. She has an M.A. in Legal Studies from the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona.
Hester Dillon directs the Indigenous Communities Program at 11th Hour Project, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation. She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Hester worked as a grant writer for the Karuk Tribe and tutored GED students for the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s Even Start Program. As a Regional Supervising Attorney for the Keepseagle v. Vilsack settlement, she led a team supporting Tribal members to file loan discrimination claims by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At NoVo Foundation, she was an Indigenous Communities Program Officer for over five years. Through her business, 4 Rivers Consulting, she supported Indigenous-led organizations as well as foundations in their work. She also serves on the boards of Indian Land Capital Company and Greater Yellowstone Coalition. She studied Native American Studies and English at the University of Montana, and Law at the University of Arizona.
Chelsea Grootveld is Ngāitai, Ngāti Porou, Whānau-ā-Apanui, Whakatōhea and Te Arawa. After working alongside Te Kāwai Toro to develop their inaugural strategy, Chelsea was appointed as a Trustee in 2016. She is stepping down as the chair of Te Kāwai Toro. Chelsea has a public policy background and specialises in kaupapa Māori research and evaluation. She completed her PhD in Education at Victoria University and, in 2013, started her own research company, Aiko Consultants. Chelsea is proud mother to Kahuroa and Mihi-Terina, and wife to Timoti. Chelsea is currently on the board of High-Performance Sport New Zealand and CORE Education Limited. She is a proud advocate and Trustee for the Trust and is humbled by the vision and generosity of the McKenzie whānau.
Lourdes Inga has over two decades of experience in international philanthropy at foundations and nonprofits dedicated to indigenous rights, gender equality, and social justice. Lourdes is Executive Director of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP). Under her leadership, IFIP is expanding Indigenous Philanthropy, supporting the leadership of Indigenous-Led Funds, and advocating for greater funding resources for Indigenous Peoples. Prior to joining IFIP, she was with The Christensen Fund a private foundation focused on Indigenous Peoples’ rights and biocultural diversity and before that with The Global Fund for Women a public foundation focused on advancing women’s rights globally. Lourdes recently joined the Board of the Equality Fund a groundbreaking new initiative to shift power and resources to women’s movements across the globe. She is a member of the Indigenous Philanthropic Advisory Group, Decolonizing Wealth. Lourdes has served on multiple boards and advisory roles, including founding Board Member of EDGE Funders Alliance and board member of Grantmakers without Borders. Born in Lima; she is Quechua descent from Peru.
Chanda Thapa brings over ten years of experience across diverse fields, advocating for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, promoting gender equality, and contributing to peace-building efforts in Nepal and throughout Asia. Prior to joining IFIP, Chanda served as the Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) from 2017-2020 and as the Coordinator for the Regional Indigenous Women Program from 2014-2016 at the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in Thailand.
During her tenure at AIPP, Chanda played a pivotal role in bolstering the organization’s foundations, focusing on both strengthening its internal structure and fostering wider Indigenous movements. Her accomplishments included the establishment and enhancement of networks dedicated to Indigenous Women and Youth in the Asia region. Preceding her time at AIPP, Chanda enriched her experience as a Program Manager at Sankalpa, an alliance of issue-based women’s organizations in Nepal. Chanda’s also serves in the Advisory Committees numerous national and international organizations. She earned master’s Degrees in Rural Development from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, and in Development Studies from Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Chanda belongs to Magar Indigenous Peoples of Nepal. In her leisure moments, she nurtures a passion for travel.
Anabel Lopez has worked with indigenous communities in rural Mexico and with indigenous immigrant communities residing in the United States. In 2010, Anabel obtained a scholarship to complete graduate studies in Education and Public Affairs at Portland State University, Oregon, USA. For her dissertation research, Anabel significantly modified the established framework for analyzing immigrant engagement to better incorporate indigenous and undocumented immigrants with strong histories of civic engagement. She added discourse related to their participation through their community of origin’s traditional system of government and their engagement in pro-immigrant organizations, some with strong political representation in Oregon. Her research on adult education and community development has helped Anabel contribute to and work towards the effective inclusion of indigenous and non-indigenous immigrants in North America. Anabel moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in October 2017. She became a researcher at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and an advocate for Indigenous Peoples and immigrants’ rights in Canada. Anabel is a Mixtec from Oaxaca. Mixtecs or Mixtecos, are indigenous Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico. She loves doing yoga and hiking in her leisure time.
MEMBERSHIP AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Winnie Kodi has worked with indigenous peoples with a focus on communications, community development, capacity building and issues concerning indigenous women and girls. She has an educational background in Development Communication. She has worked with indigenous peoples in multiple spaces especially indigenous women and girls. She uses the skills she has combined with the experience she has gained to contribute to and work towards effective inclusion of women and girls in all processes. In 2018, she was selected to be one of the European Parliament Sakharov and later in the same year, at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Indigenous Fellow. This further enhanced her knowledge on Indigenous peoples and the different mechanisms available to them. She is an advocate for Indigenous Peoples rights both locally and internationally. Winnie is from the Nuba peoples in Sudan. She loves to travel, read and occasionally makes handicrafts from mostly recycled materials.
Annalisa Synnestvedt is a senior finance consultant with more than 20 years of experience helping non-profit organizations improve their internal effectiveness so that they can successfully achieve their missions. In her consulting work, she provides nonprofit organizations with support with financial and operational management.
Until August 2019, Annalisa was the Chief Financial Officer of the Global Fund for Women (GFW), a non-profit foundation making grants to women’s human rights organizations worldwide, where she oversaw a budget of $19M and the successful implementation of a $20M capital campaign. Prior to joining GFW in 2004, she worked with other internationally-focused non-profit organizations based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Annalisa earned a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where she focused on broadening and deepening her expertise in the financial management of international organizations, as well as in organizational strategy, governance, and non-profit law. She was awarded the Robert F. Wagner Award for Public Service in recognition of leadership capacity and exceptional contribution to public service. Annalisa also holds a BA in Women’s Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia. She is based in Washington DC, where she lives with her wife and two young daughters.