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2024 Funders Forum Speakers

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Last updated: 2/27/2024


Allison Clark 

Associate Director, Impact Investments
MacArthur Foundation


Allison has worked in affordable housing, economic development, and commercial real estate for over 25 years. She joined the Foundation in 2006 to oversee investments made through the Foundation’s $150 million Window of Opportunity affordable rental housing preservation initiative. Her work has expanded to include underwriting and monitoring investments made in Chicago. Allison serves as a core member of the Chicago Commitment team, where she leads impact investing efforts to advance both the Vital Communities and Culture, Equity, and the Arts programs.

Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a member of the Community Lending Group at Fannie Mae, where she underwrote and closed more than $150 million in debt and equity transactions for affordable housing developments throughout the US. She also spent eight years with Bank One (now JP Morgan Chase) as a commercial real estate lender. Before moving to Chicago, she participated in the Urban Fellows Program in New York City, where she worked for the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Allison graduated from Harvard-Radcliffe College with a bachelor’s degree in Government and earned a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and Real Estate.

Allison has served on a variety of public advisory committees, including the Micro Market Recovery Program and the City of Chicago’s most recent Five-Year Housing Plan. She also serves on the board of directors of the Chicago Foundation for Women, where she is a member of the Executive and Program Committees.


Aria Florant

Co-Founder and Managing Director
Liberation Ventures


Aria Florant is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Liberation Ventures (LV). At heart, she is a bridge builder; constantly traversing worlds between Black and white, grassroots and corporate, ethnic studies and finance. Throughout, she is weaving partnerships together – across difference – to forge a path toward racial repair in the US.

Prior to launching LV, Aria was an Engagement Manager in McKinsey & Company’s Washington D.C. office, where she served public and social sector clients on issues related to strategy, organizational design, racial equity, and financial sustainability. Aria also helped develop the firm’s early thinking on how to support clients on topics of racial equity and inclusive growth, which has now evolved into the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility. She co-authored several research reports on the topic, which can be found at mckinsey.com/bem.

Prior to McKinsey, Aria was a nonprofit practitioner and organizer in East Palo Alto, California, focusing on education, youth development, and civic engagement. In addition, Aria worked as an Education Consultant for the San Mateo County Private Defender Program, helping incarcerated youth navigate and complete college entrance requirements. In 2017, she helped launch the first-ever round of programs for civic leaders at the Barack H. Obama Foundation.

Aria received a BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University, an MBA in Management for Social Change from The Wharton School, and an MPA in Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is a 2021 New Profit Civic Lab Democracy Entrepreneur and a 2021 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity.



Emma Hertz

President & CEO
Healthspark Foundation


Emma has spent the last ten years in the public and nonprofit sectors serving in a variety of frontline and leadership roles. Her career has focused on building bridges between community partners to create innovative solutions to community challenges.

Prior to joining HealthSpark Foundation, Emma served as the Administrator of the Montgomery County Office of Housing and Community Development. There, she led the County’s affordable housing and community development programs and the County’s public-private partnership to end homelessness, Your Way Home.

Emma brings a deep commitment to advancing just and fair policy solutions to better serve historically marginalized groups- especially people of color, women, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQ+. While with the Office of Housing and Community Development, Emma led the County’s first racial equity evaluation of Your Way Home’s programs and services. This work has been foundational to her approach to creating better systems of care that truly work for all.

Prior to joining the County’s Office of Housing & Community Development, Emma served as a case manager with the Bucks County Opportunity Council and as a database and grants manager with the Bucks County Office of Housing and Community Development. She earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Villanova University in 2015 and her Bachelor’s Degree from Bates College. In her spare time, Emma can be found hiking the Wissahickon or baking Moana-themed cupcakes with her husband/ soulmate and their two daughters.

Diana Amparo Jiménez

Program Officer, Housing Justice
Weingart Foundation


Diana Amparo Jiménez (she/they) joined the Weingart Foundation in 2023 as the first Program Officer for Housing Justice. In this role, Jiménez will foster grantmaking, convening, public/private partnerships, advocacy, and communications to advance the Foundation’s housing justice strategy in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties.

Before joining the Weingart Foundation, Jiménez served as Program Associate for the Homelessness Initiative at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and as Project Manager at T.R.U.S.T. South LA’s Community Land Trust. Jiménez is a first-generation graduate and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Policy, Planning, and Development – Sustainable Planning Emphasis from the University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy. Jiménez is a descendant of the Nahua and Raramuri-Tarahumara nations and remains rooted in their ancestral practices of land, housing, and environmental justice.

Gloria Bruce

Program Director, Housing Security & Public-Private Partnerships
Crankstart Foundation


Gloria is the Senior Program Director of Housing Security & Public-Private Partnerships at Crankstart Foundation, overseeing
grants focused on homelessness and housing affordability solutions
in the Bay Area. From 2015 to 2022, Gloria was Executive Director of
East Bay Housing Organizations, the leading advocacy coalition
promoting affordable housing and housing justice in Alameda and
Contra Costa Counties. Gloria has 20 years of experience in social
justice and community development in the Bay Area, Boston, and her
hometown area of Washington, D.C. She has a graduate degree in
City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and focused on
African-American and women's history as an undergrad at
Harvard/Radcliffe. She is Chair of the Alameda County Measure A1
Oversight Committee and serves on the SPUR Oakland Policy
Advisory Board. She lives in Oakland, California with her wife and
two children.

Lucky Michael

Program Officer, Homelessness
The Arlene & Michael Rosen Foundation


I am a survivor of poverty and displacement and have been called to the path of service to advocate for members of my community who are currently surviving the indignity of poverty and racism. For over a decade I have worked in our homeless response system in various capacities; including street outreach, case management, and launching/managing supportive housing programs. My background in direct service has given me the experience of working in grant-funded programs. This experience has made me uniquely empathetic to the challenges that non-profits experience. 

In joining AMRF, I hope to inspire long-term systems change by bridging the power differential between funder and grantee. I strive to boost communities through transformative relationship building; rooted in trust and power-sharing. I firmly believe communities have the answers to address social issues; what is needed are resources and the freedom/flexibility to implement solutions.  

I am a daughter of the East African diaspora born in a conflict zone. I traversed four countries before immigrating to the United States at age 5. In my early years, I struggled with feeling a sense of belonging. Often wondering where home is. As I surrendered to my nomadic truth of being a borderless global citizen, confidence, belonging and home came to me organically. I am indebted to my beloved mother for gifting me fluency in 3 languages and a deep love of travel. Twenty countries later, I’ve learned and witnessed what everyone ultimately yearns for: Love. 


Shilpa Bavikatte

Senior Program Analyst for Health and Human Services
Crown Family Philanthropies


As the Senior Program Analyst for Health and Human Services at Crown Family Philanthropies, Shilpa Bavikatte brings over a decade of philanthropic experience rooted in the commitment to community-led solutions and the fundamental belief that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to thrive. At Crown Family Philanthropies, Shilpa has played a pivotal role in designing and implementing grantmaking strategies that work to find solutions to homelessness and gender-based violence in and around Chicago. She extends her impact beyond her role as a founder of the Kiran Bavikatte Foundation, which is committed to supporting artists, leadership programs, and mental health awareness in the South Asian community. Whether through innovative grantmaking models, strategic partnerships, or policy advocacy, Shilpa envisions a future where philanthropy plays a central role in dismantling systemic inequities and fostering a more just and compassionate society. Shilpa is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Illinois-Chicago. In her free time, Shilpa likes to hike mountains around the world and hang out with her new puppy, Suki.


Tammy Bang Luu

Director of Programs
Grassroots Power Project


Born in Viet Nam, Tammy grew up in a working class immigrant household in Seattle, WA and raised by her single mother and grandmother with a house full of aunties and uncles. She has spent decades working to build a new left through grassroots movement formations trying to make history including: JustAct: Youth Action for Global Justice, Labor/Community Strategy Center, US Social Forums, and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

Most recently, she helped to build a think tank/act tank in Los Angeles and “a working class organization on wheels” with the Labor/Community Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union. At GPP, Tammy leads our state alignment work in California and in the climate sector.

Tammy is grateful for the teachers in her life: politicized by her school teacher Mary Ellen Cardella, who first handed her Wretched of the Earth, and Zinn, Mao, Hughes, Hurston, to all the teachers at the Strategy Center, Eric Mann, Lian Hurst Mann, Manuel Criollo and so many other, and to the international Third World Left tradition that has shaped her thinking and practice for liberation and self determination.

Vikas Maturi

Chief of Staff
Liberation Ventures


Vikas a strategist, researcher, and organizer dedicated to building a more just world - one where all people have what they need to live, heal, and be joyful. His focus is on efforts that seek to redress the harms of colonialism, stop needless suffering, and rebuild our systems to combat poverty and exploitation. He currently serves as Chief of Staff at Liberation Ventures, a field builder accelerating the movement for Black-led racial repair, where he co-leads their research and strategic grantmaking efforts.

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We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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