This week, Marguerite Casey Foundation is welcoming two new faces, Janelle Choi and Elizabeth (Liz) Posey. Janelle and Liz will be joining the foundation as Program Fellows, part of the Momentum Fellowship program launched by Philanthropy Northwest this year.
The Momentum Fellowship grew out of conversations on how foundations were grappling with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Philanthropic leaders felt strongly that creating a strong pipeline of diverse leaders was a key factor in expanding diversity and equity among the field. To this end, the Momentum Fellowship was conceived as a way to prepare professionals from underrepresented communities, particularly communities of color, for successful careers in the philanthropic sector. As our own Luz Vega-Marquis noted, an initiative like this cannot, by itself, cure philanthropy’s diversity, equity and inclusion challenges, but “we have to start somewhere.”
A total of nine fellows were selected, who will be placed in full-time positions with six foundations across the Northwest. Fellows will also receive professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities, in addition to substantive work experience at their host foundation. We are grateful to be among the sponsors of this effort. (Learn more about the inception of the Momentum Fellowship program at the Philanthropy Northwest website.)
Meet our Momentum Fellows:
Janelle Choi has been supporting grassroots organizations in the philanthropic sector for the past seven years. She set up a foundation called the Slingshot Development Fund, which works in a post-conflict area of eastern Myanmar after graduating with a master’s degree in education from Seattle University. During her seven years with the fund, she formed strategic partnerships, mentored civil society organizations and leaders, and built the mechanisms for a strong funding organization that supports local initiatives. She is excited to be back in the United States to help strengthen and support grassroots organizations and initiatives across America. Janelle will be supporting our grantees in the Midwest region.
“The Marguerite Casey Foundation supports a community-driven model for philanthropy. They provide a platform that amplifies voices that are traditionally marginalized and are willing to take bold risks. I am very excited to learn from their innovative model and be a part of their team.”
Liz Posey is committed to empowering and strengthening communities by connecting people, organizations and resources. Originally from Alaska, she attended Lewis & Clark College for her undergraduate studies and received her Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Liz brings a wealth of experience in public policy and community development having worked at the local, state and federal level in government. She has worked in community health both at the local and international level, which included supporting health technical programs for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Health in Liberia. Liz also has developed mobile health solutions for urban centers in Baltimore, New York and Chicago. She also developed community engagement programs for underserved communities and served as the director of an award-winning statewide youth civic engagement initiative in Alaska during the 2008 election cycle. Liz is an alumna of the National Urban League Young Professionals and served as the organizing Anchorage affiliate chapter president. Liz is relocating to Seattle from Washington D.C. Liz will be supporting grantees in our National portfolio.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to dig in and learn more deeply about my new role and assigned community of grantees. The mission of the Marguerite Casey Foundation to empower low-income families and communities is so critical at this point in history. We are on the cusp of a generational transition which creates a unique opportunity to ensure greater participation of the voices of low-income families in our national conversation to create a more equitable society.”