Who We Are

Staff

Gabriel Foster, Co-founder and Executive Director
gabriel@transjusticefundingproject.org

Gabriel Foster is a black, queer, trans, ‘momma’s boy’ who’s returned to his home Seattle, WA, most recently from New York. From age fifteen to twenty-six he went from a program constituent to program staff in the American Friends Service Committee’s GLBTQ Youth Program. Gabriel has worked with the Northwest Network of bisexual, trans, lesbian & gay survivors of abuse helping to create their youth programming in Seattle; at SPARK Reproductive Justice Now with LGBTQ youth of color and allies in Atlanta, GA; the Leeway Foundation, supporting women and trans people creating art and social change in Philadelphia, PA and provided outreach for the Johnathan Lax Fund at the Bread and Roses foundation in Philadelphia, PA. Gabriel is also a former staff member of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a retired disco dancer extraordinaire and lover of memes!

 

Cathy Kapua, Deputy Director

cathy@transjusticefundingproject.org

Cathy has worked with the transgender community since 2003, first starting off as a Peer Educator at Kulia Na Mamo, then eventually moving on to become the Transgender Service Manager at the Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center. Cathy is proud of her academic accomplishments in the University of Hawaii- West Oahu where she received a B.S. in Public Administration and continues to use these skills to help her Native Hawaiian community. She has been successful in advocating for transgender programming and providing culturally competency trainings throughout the nation but prides herself mainly on being a role model for younger transgender women in Hawai`i.

 

Marin Watts, Director of Operations and Communications
marin@transjusticefundingproject.org 

Marin is a queer, trans, Filipinx-American multimedia artist who is deeply committed to social justice and moving resources to grassroots trans leadership. Over the years, he has been involved with many grassroots media projects, as an artist and media educator. He is constantly exploring art and media as a tool for change and can often be found getting messy in his art studio exploring how personal and political everyday experiences and intergenerational histories, impact our sense of self—our physical body, emotional landscape, and spirit. When he’s not in the office or his studio, he can be found walking his dog somewhere in Brooklyn and day dreaming of the ocean, the mountains, or a long country road.

 

Demian Yoon, Administrative Assistant

demian@transjusticefundingproject.org  

Demian Yoon received his BA in English and minored in Religion at Haverford College. Since then, he’s worked in education (both indoor and outdoor) and currently splits his time between roles as an Administrative Assistant at Trans Justice Funding Project and a Trust & Safety Assistant at DonorsChoose. He is a New Yorker born and raised, now living in Brooklyn, and enjoys science fiction, educational podcasts, hiking, and spending time with his loved ones.

 

Karen Pittelman, Co-founder

Karen is the author of Resource Generation’s Classified: How to Stop Hiding Your Privilege and Use It For Social Change and co-author of Creating Change Through Family Philanthropy. In 1999, she dissolved her $3 million trust to co-found the Chahara Foundation, a fund run by and for low-income women activists in Boston. She’s been organizing people with class privilege ever since. She lives in Brooklyn where she works as a writer and a writing coach, and sings with her country band Karen & the Sorrows.

Community Grantmaking Panels

Each year, we bring together a new group of trans and gender non-conforming activists from across the country to choose our grantees. 

2020 Community Funding Fellows

 

Christopher Cuevas

As the Executive Director of QLatinx, Christopher Cuevas provides vision, energy, and leadership in the fulfillment of the mission and vision of the organization, working to advance the visibility of and empower LGBTQ+ Latinx communities and create spaces that foster growth and healing.

A lifelong peace practitioner, educator, and community organizer, Christopher leads their work for cultural transformation by centering the unapologetic and unwavering power of radical love. A child of undocumented immigrants and a queer person of color, Christopher interconnects their lived experience and drives the necessary heart work of building a culture of peace, compassion, and change through advocating for LGBTQ+, immigrant, and racial justice movements.

Through their work with state, national, and transnationally recognized initiatives and organizations, Christopher has led conversations and facilitated education campaigns specifically addressing structural racism, health equity, and LGBTQ+ issues.

 

Nicole Fernandes

Nicole Fernandes is a South Asian Trans Woman new to the world of philanthropy. She comes from a more direct service and grassroots background, having worked at the LGBT Center of New York, and participating as a fellow at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Currently, she is the Finance and Administrative Associate at Funders for LGBTQ Issues where she is beginning her career in philanthropy. Nicole finds joy in binge watching shows with her sisters and making a mess with acrylic paints. She is thrilled to become a part of the TJFP family in any capacity and is eternally grateful for this amazing opportunity to connect with her community.

 

nathaniel gonzalez

nathaniel is a facilitator & organizational development consultant whose work focuses on supporting local and national progressive non-profits in growing their work.

Rooted in healing justice practices, nathaniel, specializes in facilitating intersectional: process consultation, strategic planning, leadership development, organizational culture change, program development, and decision-making strategies. He also has a deep familiarity with Board development, conflict mediation, and onboarding processes.

He observes silence most Mondays, spells his name lower case, is the founder of For the Culture, listens to music loudly, and giggles deep belly giggles at inappropriate moments. He questions capitalism but loves new sneakers. And truth be told, when he asks how your day is, he genuinely wants to know.

 

Kayla Rena Gore

Kayla Rena Gore works to help to coordinate homeless services, conduct direct outreach and advocate for the rights of TLGBQ people, especially  transgender women as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of My Sistah’s House. She studied Sociology at Southwest. Her organizing work has includes fighting for housing equity for all people who are chronically homeless and advocating for the just treatment of transgender people by law enforcement, prison abolition and anything tied white patriarchy or rooted in Anti-Blackness. Her work has and always will be intersectional in not only in theory but in action.

 

 

Isyss Agaiotupu Honnen 

Isyss Agaiotupu Honnen is an unapologetic fa’afafine and trans woman from Amerika Samoa. She is a fa’afafineist, descendant of celestial navigators, cat mama, and lover of all things Pasifika. Isyss works as the Director of TRANSform Washington, a program of Pride Foundation using public education, community organizing, and political advocacy to shift culture to keep trans communities safe by changing norms, hearts, and minds one story at a time. She is the Co-Chair for her political home, UTOPIA Seattle – United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance, a fa’afafine and trans womxn of color-led organization in Washington that serves the QTPI – Queer and Trans Pacific Islander – Community, and has been on the Board since 2012. She Co-Chairs for the first ever Washington State LGBTQ Commission and is honored to serve alongside Co-Chair and community icon, Marsha Botzer, and a truly brilliant group of Commissioners eager to put in the heart work. She is also the co-founder and core team member of the Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network in Washington which provides low to no-barrier funds to cover the basic needs of Two-Spirit, Black and brown trans women and femmes. She uses her lived experience to fight like hell for trans and gender diverse sex workers in Washington affected by lack of access to healthcare, education, employment, housing, and more. Seeing trans people in love, starting families, and traveling the world brings her joy.

 

Emmett Schelling

Emmett Schelling is a South Korean trans immigrant by way of foreign adoption who leads the largest statewide trans led advocacy org in Texas. While his primary focus of work is on trans issues, his passion and understanding that individuals at their wholest and fullest are not impacted by single issues, but rather a myriad of issues that often manifest themselves in oppression and marginalization.

Before entering into movement/nonprofit work he came from corporate management after studying Business Management and Marketing in college. He felt compelled to invest deeper into the ongoing work towards collective liberation of trans folks after taking on various levels of community organizing and engagement combined with a series of eye opening events that pulled him into the work he currently does.

As well as currently serving as the Executive Director of Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) Emmett serves on the Community Council for Transform Houston, is a board member of Deeds Not Words, is a Co-Director for the TransFORWARD, a statewide trans powered research collective in Texas.

He resides in Houston with his better half, child, and two dogs.

 

Previous Community Grantmaking Panels 

Our Support Team

Cristina Herrera, Community Grantmaking Meeting Coordinator

Cristina founded the Translatina Network back in 2007, in order to organize and empower the transgender immigrant community through leadership development and education.  Over the years she has served on countless panels, committees, and boards in order to provide expertise on effective HIV prevention and community organizing. Cristina has been presented with awards and recognition by NYC DOH, The AIDS Institute, City Council , the Queens Borough President and many organizations.

Cristina was formerly the Trans Program Coordinator  at the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center), where she worked for eleven years. She oversaw the workforce development program that is specifically designed to meet the needs of the TGNC community. She has been working in the field of HIV prevention, advocacy and community organizing for almost 20 years.

 

Our Facilitators, Past & Present

AndreaAndrea Jenkins is a Poet and Writer living and working in the Twin Cities. She is currently employed by the Minneapolis City Council as a Senior Policy Aide. As an African American, Out Transgender Woman she has faced her share of significant challenges, however she continues to move on with grace, dignity and pride. Andrea has worked on several causes to improve the the lives of young TG Women of Color, to help them realize that sex-work is not the only occupation they have to rely on. She was the Program Director for the All Gender Health Seminars hosted by the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota, and serves on the board of Out Front, MN. Nationally, she was grant panelist for the Out Fund at the Funding Exchange in New York City, and she served as a consultant for the first ever Transgender Consultation at the Centers For Disease Control in 2005. Andrea’s work work has appeared in several publications, journals and websites, including The International Journal of Transgenderism. She has performed with Leslie Feinberg, Kate Bornstien and Minnie Bruce Pratt to name a few. Andrea has a B.A. in Human Services, a M.S. in Community Economic Development and an MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.

 

Nico Amador grew up in California and is now a trainer, organizer and writer based in Philadelphia. Nico got his start as a trainer working with youth around issues of oppression and leading workshops on the impacts of militarism and the prison industrial complex on people of color. As part of the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Nonviolent Youth Collective, Nico helped to train volunteers preparing to do human rights work in Colombia, led week-long retreats on nonviolence and social justice, and organized a California arts and education tour.

As part of Training for Change, Nico has led workshops in the US, Canada and Europe for groups such as Choice USA, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Energy Action Coalition, Greenpeace, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Earth Quaker Action Team, the New Sanctuary Movement, Prometheus Radio Project, and the Diverse City Fund.

Nico is also an experienced community organizer who has participated in grassroots efforts for prison abolition, urban farming, and keeping casinos out of residential neighborhoods.  Most recently he led a campaign that successfully changed a policy that was causing harassment of transgender riders on Philadelphia’s public transportation system.

He has authored articles such as “Lessons from the Borders: Empowering Participants with Disabilities and Transgender Participants” and “Into the Streets! Training as a Tactic” and has published poetry in a few small journals and anthologies.

 

Zakia McKensey  

Zakia 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 district.

October of 2015 she opened the Nationz Foundation a 501C3 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 acquired 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 Japan.

 

Glo Ross is originally from Los Angeles, CA and currently lives in Atlanta, GA. As a full-time gender-queer lover of all animals and the earth, Glo is committed to building the world we all deserve to live in by organizing power in our communities and actively practicing compassion for all beings day to day. Currently, Glo works in the public sector as a policy analyst on environmental issues. In previous lives, Glo directed campaigns at FIERCE! to build power among LGBTQ youth of color in New York City, has helped lead anti-police brutality organizing in Atlanta, and has facilitated numerous youth organizing trainings for college students across the country. In the past eight years, Glo has also supported community-based organizing strategy through technical assistance and issue research. When not facilitating or conducting research, you can find Glo hiking with their pups (two lovable rescued pit bulls), trying out a new vegan recipe, or road-tripping to the beach.