The purpose of the Advisory Council is to decide on the grant criteria and the distribution of grants from the Emergent Fund. There are currently nine members on the Advisory Council, with the majority being leaders of color who have experience working with communities threatened by the current political and social climate.

The Advisory Council reviews applications to the Fund and authorizes grants on a frequent and rolling basis.

Council members may not nominate an organization they founded, work for, or for which they serve on the board – and must recuse themselves for a vote on a grant recommendation made for any such organization.


Jenifer Fernandez Ancona

Jenifer is Vice President, Strategy & Member Engagement at the Women Donors Network. As Director of Strategic Communications at Citizen Engagement Laboratory, Jenifer helped to launch and grow progressive online organizing initiatives focused on communities of color, including and She also served as a Senior Advisor to progressive donors Steve Phillips and Susan Sandler, as a consultant to the Democracy Alliance, as a top legislative aide in the California State Assembly, and as a news reporter for the Los Angeles Times.


Kat Conour

As a psychotherapist in private practice, Kat is passionate about working with undocumented Latinx immigrants, the LGBTQ community, social entrepreneurs, and activists, helping them to resolve trauma, and to feel more empowered in themselves and as change agents in the world.  Her work has historically ranged between program and curriculum development, fundraising, event-planning, direct-action, and coalition-building - primarily in support of migrant justice, LGBTQ and women’s equality, and indigenous rights.  More recently, Kat was a core organizer and producer of the first ever women’s gathering with the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, which convened a diverse group of 400 women-identified folks in prayer and council over Spring Equinox and World Water Day. She is an active member of the Threshold Foundation and is committed to bringing forward an anti-oppression, social justice lens to all her engagements and collaborations.


Betsy Fairbanks

Betsy serves as President/CEO of the Fund for Nonviolence as part of a longstanding commitment to work on behalf of its donor. Formerly associated with the Resource Center for Nonviolence/Eschaton Foundation for 21 years, Betsy Fairbanks established the Fund for Nonviolence in 1997. In 2000 she initiated the Tides Death Penalty Mobilization Fund, an activist/funder collaborative.  As of 2015, the fund has provided over $7 million to state-based organizations working on death penalty abolition and reform efforts.  Since 2000 she has been active with Funders for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, including participating in an extensive, field-wide process to develop a comprehensive strategy to abolish the death penalty, and now collaborates with Themis Fund, which has replaced FADP as a vehicle for funder coordination with the field. Betsy spent six years as a board officer with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation; all other board members had lost a family member to murder and/or execution and oppose the death penalty in all cases. 


Cristina Jiménez

Cristina is Co-Founder and Managing Director of the United We Dream Network. Originally from Ecuador, Cristina came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 13, attending high school and college as an undocumented student. Cristina has organized immigrant youth and workers for the passage of pro-immigrant policies at the local and national level for the past 9 years. She was recently named among Forbes “30 under 30 in Law and Policy,” one of “21 immigration reform power players” and one of 5 non-profit leaders who will influence public policy by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the Dream Mentorship Program at Queens College, was an immigration policy analyst for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at Make the Road New York. Cristina holds a Masters degree in Public Administration & Public Policy from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Queens College, CUNY.


Lateefah Simon

Lateefah is the President of the Akonadi Foundation, based in Oakland, CA. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Rapid Transit. Prior to this, she was a program director at the Rosenberg Foundation. Lateefah has received numerous awards for her work, including the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Jefferson Award for extraordinary public service. She was named “California Woman of the Year” by the California State Assembly, and also has been recognized by the Ford Foundation, the National Organization for Women, Lifetime Television and O Magazine.


Charlene Sinclair

Charlene has devoted nearly three decades to strategic organizational development and community organizing around racial and economic justice. At Groundswell, she manages capacity building and institutional leadership and is directing the recently launched Groundswell Action Fund, the largest c4 entity committed solely to black and women of color-led political organizing and power building. Prior to coming to Groundswell, Charlene served as the Director of Reinvestment at the Center for Community Change. She was also the founding director of the Center for Race, Religion, and Economic Democracy at Union Theological Seminary where she designed and served as program director for Engaging the Powers, a program designed to train Black and Latino pastors in critical theory, policy, and strategy relevant to the development and implementation of their social justice ministries. Sinclair, who earned her Ph.D at Union, is committed to the development of lived theologies of liberation that demands the engagement of faith within struggles for justice.


sam vinal

Sam Vinal is a documentary and narrative filmmaker, and founder of Mutual Aid Media LLC, an emerging Los Angeles based production house. Sam graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2010 and began his career in documentary filmmaking that year when a director hired him to shoot a film on HIV/AIDS in Zambia. Since then, Sam has been traveling and telling stories through a socio-political lens. He uses film as a means to combine his passion for the beautiful struggle and the power of art. He is an active member of Solidaire Network.



Shireen Zaman is the Director of the Security & Rights Collaborative (SRC) at the Proteus Fund, where she leads efforts to mobilize resources to grow promising, innovative, community-based organizations in America’s Muslim, Arab and South Asian (MASA) communities. The SRC’s support to the MASA field has led to an increase in grassroots leadership, higher levels of civic engagement, diverse coalitions, and coordinated, strategic messaging.  Shireen comes to the SRC having led organizational transformation, resource development, and program management at several nationally recognized nonprofits. Most recently, she was Executive Director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, DC. In 2013, Shireen was recognized as a White House "Champion of Change" for her work as an Asian American woman leader. She currently serves as an advisor to the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She holds a B.A. in Human Development from Boston College and an M.A. from the School of International Service at American University.