HARMONY INITIATIVE



I no longer feel alone in this work. I feel the love and support of a community that truly stands behind me, encouraging me to be a smarter organizer and a bolder advocate in our sector. After Harmony, I am equipped with the knowledge, tools, and language to push a philanthropic agenda (inside and outside my Foundation) that puts people and grassroots voices at the center of our work.

-Masha Chernyak, VP of Programs and Policy, Latino Community Foundation

Applications for Harmony West 2018-2019 have closed

To learn more about future Harmony West cohorts, please fill out the interest form.

If you have questions, or if you would like to bring components of the Harmony initiative to your organization, please visit our Consulting and Coaching page and/or contact Rachel Humphrey, Program Director at rachel@justicefunders.org.

New for 2019: Midwest and East Coast cohorts!

In 2019, Justice Funders will launch 2 additoinal cohorts of the Harmony Initiative:

Click on the respective links to fill out an interest form, and we will contact you with details and next steps once the recruitment process is started.

About the Harmony Initiative

 The Harmony Initiative was launched in 2015 to support professional grantmakers in strengthening their philanthropic practice. The Harmony Initiative provides cutting edge tools, training and knowledge needed to partner with grassroots communities, select impactful grantees, evaluate social change work, and collaborate in philanthropy.


Designed by and for grantmakers, the program’s curriculum follows six common steps in the grantmaking cycle (strategy development; outreach and application; due diligence; making the case; award and implementation; and evaluation and learning) and investigates the competencies needed at each step.

Guest speakers and faculty bring on-the-ground expertise and knowledge from years in the field. Past guest speakers and trainers have included:

  • Holly Bartling, General Service Foundation
  • Vini Bhansali, Thousand Currents
  • Carol Cantwell, Fun With Financials
  • Jara Dean-Coffey, Luminare Group
  • Vanessa Daniel, Groundswell Fund
  • Aja Duncan, Management Assistance Group
  • Kathryn Gilje, Ceres Trust
  • Meerim Ilyas, Urgent Action Fund
  • Taj James, Movement Strategy Center
  • Rajiv Khanna, Thousand Currents
  • Gara LaMarche, Democracy Alliance
  • Michelle Mascarenhas, Movement Generation
  • Kellea Miller, consultant and researcher
  • Susan Misra, Management Assistance Group
  • Dewey Schott, Leadership That Works
  • Eveline Shen, Forward Together
  • Alex Tom, Chinese Progressive Association
  • Kenji Treanor, Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Beth Trimarco, The East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)

Program Logistics

There are 4 retreats for each Harmony cohort:

  • Retreat #1: Opening
  • Retreat #2: Strategy; Outreach and Application; Due Diligence
  • Retreat #3: Making the Case; Award and Implementation; Evaluation and Learning
  • Retreat #4: Closing

As a small, cohort based program, 100% active participation is required. To enable participation from grantmaking institutions of all sizes, tuition fees are sliding scale, based on annual organizational grantmaking budget.

Who should apply for the Harmony Initiative?

The program is appropriate for philanthropic professionals of all levels who are directly responsible for grantmaking and seek an opportunity for reflection and learning in community. The Harmony Initiative is equally applicable for those looking to improve on current philanthropic practice as those looking to innovate how philanthropy is done.

Participating in Harmony helped me understand philanthropy’s challenges– and gave me the tools and confidence to tackle those challenges. I emerged from the program both committed to and excited about my work in philanthropy.

-Alex Desautels, The California Endowment

What do I get out of The Harmony Initiative?

  • 130+ hours over ten months allows for practice and integration into day-to-day work.
  • A cohort of 15-20 grantmakers provides a close community of practice and support.
  • Case study method encourages nuanced problem solving and offers real-world lessons from esteemed guest faculty members’ experience.
  • Individual coaching provides support and accountability in pursuing individual goals.

Being part of the Harmony Initiative helped me feel grounded and connected to other progressive people in philanthropy. Each gathering built on the next, and before long I understood how grant making can happen in more transformational ways.

-Esperanza Tervalon Garrett, Groundswell Fund


Class of 2017-2018

Sepi Aghdaee, Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Ashley Clark, Knowledge and Grants Manager, The Libra Foundation

JC De Vera, Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Sara Dronkers, Director of Grantmaking, Humboldt Area Foundation

Daisee Francour, Fellow and Bay Area Program Officer, The Christensen Fund

Annelise Grimm, Program Officer, James Irvine Foundation

Adriana Grino, Program Officer, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Caitlin Hamood, Program Officer, Chorus Foundation

Fernande Legros, Program Officer, Full Circle Fund

Allistair Mallillin, Program Officer, Common Counsel Foundation

Rena Meyers-Dahlkamp, Program Manager, Conflict Transformation Fund

David Moy, Senior Program Officer, Hyams Foundation

Michelle Myles Chambers, FAITHS Program Manager, The San Francisco Foundation

Maisha Quint, Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Jasjit Singh Dhanoa, Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation


Class of 2016-2017

Galina Angarova, Program Officer, Swift Foundation

Diana Chao, Program Coordinator, Xelay Foundation

Masha Chernyak, Vice President of Programs and Policy, Latino Community Foundation

Katie Fahey, Program Officer, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Kailyn FitzGerald, Program Officer, Sobrato Family Foundation

Iris Garcia, Learning and Impact Program Officer, Akonadi Foundation

Heather Masaki, Grants Coordinator, Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX)

Jake Mogan, Program Associate, The 11th Hour Project

Elaine Mui, Grants and Operations Manager, General Service Foundation

Lorraine Ramirez, Program Manager, Neighborhood Funders Group

Jennifer Root, Northern California Political Director, SEIU Local 2015

Jazmin Segura, Fellow, The San Francisco Foundation

Elizabeth Wampler, Initiative Officer, Great Communities Collaborative, The San Francisco Foundation

Cassandra Zawilski, Program Assistant, McKenzie Foundation


Class of 2015-2016

Alexandra Desautels, Program Manager, The California Endowment

Bessma Mourad, Program Officer, Skoll Global Threats Fund

Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives, Groundswell Fund

Jose Carmona, Program Director, The Energy Foundation

Kathryn Gilje, Executive Director, Ceres Trust

Marissa Tirona, Director, Blue Shield Against Violence, Blue Shield of California Foundation

Michael Roberts, Program Manager, The 11th Hour Project

Padmini Parthasarathy, Program Director, The California Wellness Foundation

Shalini Iyer, Director of Programs, Metta Fund

Valeria Velazquez, Program Manager, Neighborhood Funders Group

Zach McRae, Program Associate, The San Francisco Foundation



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