It is a great honor and joy to greet you as Neighborhood Funders Group’s new President. And I do so while holding grief and outrage for George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Dion Johnson, Ahmaud Arbery, and the untold thousands of Black people killed by police. I am also reflecting on Pride Month as we near the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings — led by trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera in response to police violence against the LGBTQ community.

Protest movements like Pride have been pivotal to the struggles for power and self-determination by Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities and low-income communities. In the 15 days that have passed since the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, communities across the world have galvanized to protest state violence, demand divestment from criminalization, defund the police, call for investments in critical public programs & social protections, and assert that Black lives matter. We are witnessing and experiencing anti-Black racism inherent in the militarized response to protests and the increase of fatal violence specifically against Black trans women, including Nina Pop. And these uprisings are correlated with the global coronavirus pandemic and ensuing public health and economic crisis that has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.

NFG is grounded in these histories, strengths, and struggles. They are our own histories, strengths, and struggles too. In this new moment, I am heartened to lead NFG and am rooted in community with you.

This organization is privileged to be many funders’ political home at a time when moving resources to struggles for justice is critically important. For 40 years, we have been committed to centering low-income and Black, Indigenous, and people of color leaders in places, movements, and philanthropy. We create joyful and inspiring organizing spaces for funders. And we at NFG are committed to pushing philanthropy to support grassroots power building so that Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities and low-income communities thrive.

As more funders look to NFG as a place to find co-conspirators, explore ideas, and shift power and money towards transformational justice and equity, it is important to me that you know who I am and what NFG values so that you too can feel at ‘home’ in our dynamic community of grantmakers and grassroots leaders.

I am a Mexican New Yorker, who immigrated from Toluca, Mexico to Detroit, Michigan as a child with my super fierce, loving, and protective parents — Aurora and Gustavo, a former public school middle school teacher and engineer. My first leadership role was navigating the language and systems of the United States — serving as my family’s language broker from the age of 8.

I am survivor of child sexual abuse and, alongside Aishah Shahidah Simmons of Love WITH Accountability, envision a world that ends child sexual abuse without relying on the criminal injustice system. My healing journey began in earnest when I became a mom to Emiliano — a now 8 year-old whirlwind of pure joy, energy, and love — and when I joined fellow survivors of color as part of the Just Beginnings Collaborative. Becoming Emiliano’s mama made me realize that I needed to be fully present and embodied to be the mama I wanted to be.

I am a banana slug by way of UC Santa Cruz, a futbol fanatic, and a fashionista. I love to dance (and met my husband, Ivan, while dancing merengue) and am a karaoke queen!

I have served as a promotora, a case manager, and a hotline call taker using my language and cultural grounding to provide access to much needed HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, and health services to the Latinx community throughout California.

I have walked alongside nearly 80 grassroots power building organizations in New York City as a consultant, place-based grantmaker, and board member, being with them as they grow in strength and numbers, as they fall and reassess, and celebrate wins for our communities.

My work and purpose is for the liberation of all marginalized people and communities. I joined NFG’s staff team three years ago as Vice President of Programs, having previously been an NFG member. I have had the privilege of working with and alongside many people in the NFG community to develop new programming and lead our 2018 and 2020 national convenings. I have also advanced our leadership development and peer coaching programs because it is clear that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American people in philanthropy often face institutional barriers to being viewed as leaders in the sector and to moving money to those most impacted by injustice. I look forward to building on this work as President.

Finding a place like NFG that you believe in, and that believes in you, is a gift. I take great care of this gift as well as pride in making sure NFG is a home where staff and members want to be.

Thank you for being part of NFG. I look forward to collaborating and co-conspiring with you to challenge systemic oppression and anti-Black racism in philanthropy as we accelerate racial, gender, economic, and climate justice with our communities and movements. Keep reading for details to join NFG's upcoming events and stay tuned for a call to action from NFG's Funders for Justice to defend Black lives.

In solidarity,
Adriana Rocha