get to know our g4gc team
We are committed to supporting movements that center are led by girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth of color. Each member of our team embodies our shared values of accountability, urgency, transformation, inclusivity, authenticity, and love.
Dr. Monique W. Morris
Monique W. Morris, Ed.D. (she/her), is an award-winning author and social justice scholar with three decades of experience in the areas of education, civil rights, juvenile and criminal justice. She envisions a world in which all girls and gender-expansive youth of color are healthy, safe, thriving, and fully empowered to dream and shape their desired reality on their terms, while dismantling structural barriers created by racism, sexism and ageism, and other forms of oppression that prevent their healthy development. Her research intersects race, gender, education and justice to explore the ways in which Blackcommunities, and other communities of color, are uniquely affected by social policies.
Dr. Morris is an Executive Producer and co-writer of the documentary film, PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, which is based upon two of her books, Sing A Rhythm, Dance A Blues: Education for the Liberation of Black and Brown Girls (The New Press, 2019) and Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (The New Press, 2016). She has authored books, dozens of articles, book chapters, and other publications on social justice issues, and lectured widely on research, policies, and practices associated with improving juvenile/criminal justice, educational, and socioeconomic conditions for girls and women of color. Her 2018 TED talk (nearly 2 million views) on ending the criminalization of Black girls in schools has been translated into 18 languages.
A former educator, researcher and scholar-advocate, Dr. Morris has worked in partnership with and served as a consultant for federal, state and county agencies, national academic and research institutions, and communities throughout the nation to develop research, comprehensive approaches and training curricula to eliminate racial/ethnic and gender disparities in justice and educational systems. Her work in this area has informed legislation, and the development and implementation of improved culturally competent and gender-responsive continua of services for youth.
Dr. Morris’ work has been profiled across a spectrum of national and local print, radio and television media, including by MSNBC, CSPAN2, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, and PBS., among other national and local print, radio, and television media. Her research intersects race, gender, education and justice to explore the ways in which Black communities, and other communities of color, are uniquely affected by social policies. She also frequently lectures on the life and legacy of the artist Prince.
Maheen Kaleem, Esq
Maheen (she/her) has dedicated her life to creating a world where girls of color are safe and free. She has almost twenty years of experience supporting youth and families impacted by interpersonal and state violence, and making way for those traditionally marginalized from formal sites of power to lead efforts to advance racial and gender justice. In the various roles she has held, she has always grounded her work in the wisdom of women and girls of color who have survived the carceral system, sexual exploitation, and abuse.
Previously, Maheen served as Program Officer at the NoVo Foundation, where she managed the foundation’s work to end commercial sexual exploitation and led the development of The Life Story Grants, a $10 million commitment to support projects that close sex trade on-ramps, and open exit-ramps for survivors. Prior to NoVo, she was a staff attorney at Rights4Girls, a human rights organization dedicated to ending gender-based violence impacting marginalized girls and young women, where she advocated for the successful passage of numerous laws and policies at the federal, state, and local levels that protect the rights of girls in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Maheen has co-authored several reports, including The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: A Girls’ Story, and Beyond the Walls: A Look at Girls in D.C.’s Juvenile Justice System. She is an alum of the Equal Justice Works Fellowship, the Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellowship, and the National Juvenile Justice Network Youth Justice Leadership Institute, and holds both a bachelor’s degree in International Politics and a law degree from Georgetown University. Maheen is a first generation Pakistani-American who was raised mostly in the Bay Area of California, on the traditional territory of the Ohlone people.
Vice President of Operations and Programs
Nneka (she/her) is a black Nigerian woman whose life is energized by the desire to see people live and be loved in their truest form. She has worked to mobilize resources to support social justice movements, communities, and organizations for over a decade. She has been responsible for creating and executing pivotal strategic development plans and interventions that stabilize movement work and center community.
Nneka is guided by the idea that movements will begin to have the agency to thrive once they’re equitably resourced and connected to those with lived experience. This belief informs her commitment to centering and lifting those who have first-hand knowledge and have been directly affected by structural violence. Using that belief as a north star, you can often find her teaching and training on topics that center community in philanthropic conversations and give people with lived experience a seat at the decision-making table.
She is a proud alumna of Winston-Salem State University (Go Rams!) and holds a Masters in Public Affairs and Nonprofit Management from Baruch College. Nneka calls Nigeria home and currently resides in Brooklyn, on the traditional territory of the Canarsee tribe.
Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships
Dr. Whitney Richards-Calathes
Whitney (she/her) is a community-based researcher, transformative justice practitioner, organizer, and writer. Born into a family of labor organizers and youth workers, Whitney holds movement work at her center. For over ten years she has worked on issues that she believes deeply in and that inspire her: young women’s leadership development, educational access, prison abolition, racial justice, and gender equity. She has worked with organizations such as the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and Community Connections for Youth in NYC, as well as the Youth Justice Coalition in Los Angeles. Whitney holds a PhD from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and writes about the impact of incarceration on generations of Black women in Los Angeles.
She is experienced in participatory research and Black feminist methodologies, while also centering collaborative and accountable research that’s in service to change. Whitney believes that social justice is beyond the jobs we have—that it is an ethic in how we live life, build relationships, respect and interact with the Earth, and how we value ourselves. Whitney is from the Bronx and is currently based in Harlem, lands originally kept and protected by the Lenape people.
Senior Director of Research, Advocacy, and Policy
Josefina V. Casati
Josefina Casati (she/her/ella) is a storyteller, an award-winning journalist, and social justice advocate committed to building bridges that uplift marginalized communities. Her interest in authentic storytelling was sparked when, as a teen, she saw how limiting narratives resulted in harmful treatment of Black and Latino students.
That led to a career in journalism, where she influenced whose stories were told, and how those stories reflected the rich, nuanced contributions of individuals and communities. Josefina is a fierce advocate of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Her work serving on boards and volunteering with nonprofits has influenced strategy, programming, and engagement, and includes the Texas Book Festival Board, UTES School Board, Austin PBS Community Advisory Board, Settlement Home for Children, Communities in Schools, and Latinitas. As Creative and Editorial Director for Pulso, a national media start-up that empowers Latinos, she collaborated with diverse media ventures to develop citizen engagement models. Her focus as Executive Editor of the nationally-lauded ¡Ahora Sí! was to validate and inspire the Spanish-speaking community in Central Texas. Josefina is committed to elevating girls of color, and helping them embrace their beautiful potential. She lives in Austin, Texas (traditional territory of the Coahuiltecan, Jumanos, Nʉmʉnʉʉ/Comanche, Sana, and Tonkawa people), with her husband, son, and daughter.
Senior Director of Communications
Kyndall Clark Osibodu
Kyndall (she/her) is a Black feminist/Womanist educator and facilitator who works to transform the culture of philanthropy by shifting power and resources to girls and women of color and by creating opportunities for healing. She has over ten years of experience building intersectional and inclusive cultures by developing participatory action models in schools and nonprofits and by leading advocacy campaigns for and alongside girls of color. Her work is grounded in her faith, justice, and womanism and the belief that the collective well-being, power, and leadership of girls and women of color is critical to transformative change. Prior to G4GC, she worked at NoVo Foundation, where she designed and managed the first participatory grantmaking process through the Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women. Prior to NoVo, she worked at African American Policy Forum, where she was the lead trainer for the Breaking the Silence town hall series and supported the #SayHerName Mothers Network. She also served as a high school teacher, community organizer with Girls Justice League, and researcher with the School District of Philadelphia and youth worker in Nashville, TN.
Kyndall studied human and organizational development and Africana studies at Vanderbilt University and earned her masters from the University of Pennsylvania in education and gender studies. She is a meditation teacher trainee with MNDFL. She serves on the Advisory Board of Evoluer House and is a 2019-2020 ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellow. Outside of work and being a life-long learner, she enjoys spending time with her family, church, and larger community, traveling, and art. While she lives in Brooklyn, NY on traditional Canarsie land, she considers the South and the Westside of Chicago home.
Director of Organizational Health, Operations, and Learning
Cidra M. Sebastien
Cidra (she/her) is an educator, youth advocate and organizer. She has developed culturally-relevant, gender-affirming and arts and activism curricula; published Op-Eds about youth leadership development and DACA; appeared on radio and television outlets; and contributed to local and national policy-making regarding public education, youth leadership development and advancing adolescent girls. A graduate of Hampton University and New York University, Cidra was a staff member of The Brotherhood Sister Sol for nearly 20 years. She served as the Associate Executive Director; expanded youth and community programs; developed curricula; trained educators; coordinated study abroad programs; and advanced policy that directly impacted young people. Cidra shaped the organization’s policy work in the area of gender equity and was the co-chair of the Education Committee of the New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative. She co-planned the 2016 Black Girl Movement National Conference in NYC, which hosted 500 girls, educators, advocates, artists, and academics for a 3-day convening centering Black girls.
Cidra co-authored “Taking Back the Work: A Cooperative Inquiry into the Work of Leaders of Color in Movement-Building Organizations,” traveling to Atlanta, the UK and Brazil to share the work and discuss issues of leadership and race. She is an auntie, runner and creator whose imagination is fueled by the arts, travel and learning from others. Cidra was born on land traditionally kept and protected by Taíno people (Puerto Rico) and currently lives on land traditionally kept and protected by Canarsee and Munsee Lenape people (Brooklyn, NY).
Black Girl Freedom Fund Manager
Dominique Fulling is the Manager, Technical Support, Special Projects, and Office of the President at Grantmakers for Girls of Color. She brings over 21 years of administrative experience to the position with expertise in administrative operations and information technology in legal, healthcare, and business sectors.
Prior to joining Grantmakers for Girls of Color, Dominique worked in Healthcare Technology, Healthcare Insurance, Risk Management, and Healthcare Administration. There, she was responsible for working with and training physicians, clinicians, students and other staff members on all departmental EHR system practices, procedures and implementation. She also was responsible for the hospital suspension implementation to ensure accurately transcribed documentation completion and submission for operational distribution. She managed all processes for the release of health information (ROI) across computerized systems, and the secure exchange of health information between consumers, providers, legal systems, coders, payers and quality monitors.
Dominique is in her final year studying Social Work at Brandman University and is committed to ultimately sharing her passion for making a positive and lasting impact on the safety and overall well-being of traumatized individuals. With a special interest in mental health and human sex trafficking, she intends to use her passion to aid in the recovery and awareness of such traumatic incidents, as well as to utilize this training within her work through philanthropic advances.
Dominique is of African-American descent and was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, on the traditional territory of the Muwekma, Ohlone, and Ramaytush people. She now resides in Los Angeles, where she raises her children on the traditional land of the Chumash, Fernandeno Tataviam, Kizh, and Tongva people.
Manager of Technical Support, Special Projects, and Office of the President
Mariah (she/her) is an educator, youth advocate, feminist, and plant enthusiast.
Prior to joining G4GC Mariah worked as an adolescent health educator in Brooklyn, field manager for the LGBTQIA+ community in Manhattan, and a youth counselor in Harlem and the Bronx. Mariah has spent 5+ years encouraging young minds to dig into their imagination and embrace all ideas, dreams, and talents—reminding them that no dream is too big. Mariah recognizes that our girls are the future and we must continue to advocate, uplift, and support them in their journey.
Mariah is of African American descent and Choctaw Indian descent. She was raised in Houston, Texas and graduated from Sam Houston State University with a bachelor's degree in theatre management. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, lands originally protected by the Canarsie people. Her home is filled with plants, as she finds joy in nurturing and caring for living things, and watching them grow and prosper.
*G4GC defines “girls of color” as any cis, trans, gender-expansive, non-binary and/or any girl- or femme-identified person age 25 and younger who identifies as Black, Indigenous, Latina, Asian, Arab, Pacific Islander, and/or other People of Color.