A very warm welcome to Zakia McKensey to the TJFP 2019 Grantmaking Fellowship! Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Zakia is currently working extremely hard to carefully review hundreds of applications in preparation for our upcoming grantmaking meeting in June. We cannot wait to learn and grow from her leadership on this years team!
Zakia McKensey is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She has been an active member of the LGBTQ community. For many years Zakia was a national performer and pageant competitor. She is a former Miss Gay Black America, Miss Black National, Miss International Supermodel, Miss Godfrey’s and Miss Virginia Capitol Pride. She has worked for Fan Free Clinic where she was instrumental in creating the Transgender Clinic as well as Richmond City Health District, where she was a DIsease Intervention Specialist and also the 1st African American Transgender Women to ever work for the health distirct. October of 2015 she opened the Nationz Foundation a 501©3 organization that provides advocacy for transgender individuals as well as offering HIV/STI testing, Food Pantry, Emergency Housing and other supportive services to the Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area. Recently she aquired an RV to create a mobile testing unit to offer her services in communities where transportation is a barrier to access testing or safer sex items and food. Zakia also works for the Virginia Anti-Violence Project where she serves as the Transgender Advocate, assisting individuals who have experiences of violence. She was named a 2018 Outstanding Virginian, by Equality Virginia. Zakia was honored with a Firework Award by Virginia Pride in 2018. In her free time she enjoys time with family and friends, traveling, competing and attending pageants, cooking and spending time with her dog.
Yes Zakia, YESSSSS!
It’s that time of year again when we have the honor of introducing another fabulous grantmaking team.
Kicking off a series of introductions, we’re ecstatic to welcome Sammie Ablaza Wills to the 2019 TJFP Grantmaking Fellowship!
Sammie will join five other ground breaking, trans, non binary activists and organizers from across the country to select this years grantees.
Sammie is an enthusiastic queer, non-binary Pilipinx person with a vivid love for their chosen family, social justice, and grassroots
organizing. They currently serve as director of APIENC, a trans and queer Asian and Pacific Islander grassroots organization in the SF Bay Area. Sammie’s politic has come from witnessing xenophobia against their family, from fighting budget cuts to public schools, and from learning from queer Pilipino people in their communities. It’s from this that Sammie has worked to trained hundreds of young, queer, trans, Asian people to lead from values of abundance and interdependence. Sammie is dedicated to ethnic studies, racial justice, and environmental justice, working closely in groups such as Asians4BlackLives and Movement Generation. Sammie believes that anything can be turned into a chant and brought onto the streets (literally and emotionally). At all times, they strive to learn more about their ancestors, practice vulnerability, and share stories.
We can hardly wait to do this work with you Sammie!
“Sharing space with the other grantmaking fellows and hearing from people from rural Montana to communities in Hawaii helped to open my mind about how differently the work looks for people in different areas. Sometimes when you’re on the ground, it is easy to lose that perspective, and instead think, “This is what’s working for me and my girls in Detroit, so it should work for everyone, right?” But, no, it doesn’t always work like that. So when an application came in from a rural part of the country, it was important to hear from someone from that community. These conversations really helped me be more strategic and forward-thinking about who we were supporting and funding.” -Bré Anne Rivera
Each year we invite our talented Fellows to share their thoughts and experiences as grantmaking panelists in our “Letters From the Table” section of our annual report. Last year fall we were fortunate enough to get a chance to sit down with 2018 TJFP Fellow, Bré Anne Rivera to gain a better understanding of her experience reviewing over 200 applications and selecting grantees through a community-led process.
In her interview Bré bravely spoke from the heart, candidly sharing powerful reflections and recommendations for the funding world that we hope will resinate with you whether you’re a grassroots organizer, a funder or someone interested in trans justice and liberation.
Please check out this remarkable interview, Lessons on Being Bold!
Register here to be apart of, Black Out: Understaning LGBTQ Advocacy and Back Communities.
This webinar hosted by ABFE, a philanthropic partnership for black communities is featuring a fabulous panel that you wont want to miss!
Sponsored by Funders for LGBT Issues and The Third Wave Fund.
Spots are limited so sign up today!