It is with great excitement that I announce my transition from the role of President of Akonadi Foundation. I will remain Chair of the Board of Directors and will continue to be involved with the work of Akonadi, just in a different capacity. I remain deeply committed to Akonadi’s work of building racial equity for youth and young adults of color in Oakland.
It has been sixteen years since Wayne and I started Akonadi Foundation to support racial justice movement building to eliminate structural racism and build a racially just world. Since 2000, we have awarded over 1,300 grants totaling $30 million to nonprofit organizations, primarily in the Bay Area, but also across the country. Akonadi is a family foundation to which we are profoundly connected and we will continue to breathe into Akonadi the values of respect, humility and commitment to community. We are both immensely proud of the work of the staff and truly honored to have partnered with so many great leaders and organizations throughout the years.
The Foundation started with just one employee and for many years, I was performing all of the due diligence, relationship building, program development, financial oversight and grantmaking. I have many people to thank for my own professional development and for that of the Foundation. Over time we have expanded our staff to a full complement of two program officers, a grants manager, communications manager, bookkeeper and deputy director. This robust staff allows Akonadi to do so much more: listen deeply to our grant partners, reach a broader community, collaborate with others in philanthropy, support rising leaders, and deliver communications on racial justice.
I believe that the best way for us to continue our successful trajectory is to expand our executive leadership to help strategize and envision how Akonadi can continue to capitalize on its strengths and its accomplishments. A new President for the Foundation will provide the staff and the field with renewed vigor and focus on racial justice, new strategies to deepen our impact in our community and new approaches to align and leverage philanthropic resources for systemic change. I am very excited about the next phase of Akonadi Foundation.
For my part, I will continue to be active in Akonadi’s work through the Board, and in progressive philanthropy and politics, locally, statewide and nationally. Over the last few years, I have become deeply involved with California progressive movements and politics and will be spending more time on these efforts.
This really is not goodbye, but I do want to express my deep, deep appreciation to so many people who have been part of this journey with me: people who taught me how to review proposals, conduct site visits, perform due diligence, and maintain proper records; people who modeled how to handle the power differential inherent in philanthropy; people who helped me learn how to show up and speak up; people who demonstrated how to combine passion for justice with sustained commitment to the work. All of you—donors, foundation representatives, community organizers, lawyers and advocates, cultural workers and activists—have enriched my life immeasurably. I cannot imagine my work or my life without you. Your lessons, values and support are deeply ingrained in Akonadi Foundation and I am profoundly grateful to all of you who have been a part of this work and for my growth.
As the search begins for a new President of Akonadi Foundation, I hope you will help us find the right person to take Akonadi to the next level. If you have any ideas or questions about the position, please contact Walker and Associates Consulting at akonadifoundation (at) walkeraac.com. See the full job announcement here.
Photo Credit: Howard Hill, Alameda County Information Technology Department (ITD)