About RGE 

Grantmakers for Southern Progress’s Race and Gender Equity Leadership Cohort Program (RGE) creates an intentional space to build authentic relationships, sharpen systemic analysis and technical skills, cultivate passions and interests, and inspire a common vision to help transform institutional philanthropy into a committed and effective partner to the movement for structural change in the South in service of justice.  

RGE is designed to combine the wisdom and practical experience of program participants with grassroots practitioners in order to create a learning environment that is relevant and informed by lived experience on the ground in the South’s diverse contexts. To this end, grassroots movement leaders and thought leaders in philanthropy who practice with a reparations mindset will facilitate cohort meetings, and participants themselves will guide the learning process. 

What we mean by “cohort”: 

  • It is not just a group but an intentional, consistent, and coherent group with a shared identity and purpose. 
  • It has a well-resourced “container” to hold the group and all the programming support needs required for individual and group learning and development. 
  • Participants are responsible not only for themselves but for each other–there is some commitment to each other, mutual accountability, and support for each other’s learning; “support” includes challenging each other (the notion of “love and rigor”). 
  • It is a lifelong network and community that builds over time with other classes. 
  • The group itself is a learning laboratory for all the dynamics being explored and a place to practice new ways. 

Goals and Competencies

The program seeks to achieve its purpose by focusing on the following goals: 

  1. Inspire and equip a cadre of leaders to partner with GSP and direct philanthropic resources toward equitable structural change in the South.
  2. Catalyze field-level change by building the skill and agency of individuals who are positioned and primed to lead their philanthropic institutions and the sector with a clear focus on race and gender equity.
  3. Cultivate an ongoing, and growing, community of philanthropic leaders that thrives upon and embodies the ethos of “love and rigor” in service of their common purpose to move money toward social justice movements in the South.

 

Over a two-year period, participants will gain and sharpen knowledge and skill in the following competencies: 

  1. Politicized approach to philanthropy
  2. Philanthropy in right relationship to social justice movements in the South
  3. Race and gender equity
  4. Change agency
  5. Authentic healing
  6. Interdependence and care for people 

1. Politicized approach to philanthropy. 2. Putting philanthropy in right relationship to social justice movements in the South. 3. Race and gender equity lens. 4. Change agency. 5. Interdependence and care for people. 6. Authentic healing.

Meet the Faculty

Karimah Nonyameko

Karimah Nonyameko is a program officer with the Human Rights program at the Heising-Simons Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Karimah worked for the National Alliance on Mental Illness South Carolina (NAMISC) as the Ending the Silence Lowcountry Regional Program Manager. Before joining NAMISC, Karimah worked with Encore.org’s Generation-to-Generation Program designing an online learning community for youth-serving practitioners and supporting a diverse network of communities and organizations experimenting with innovative models for engaging older adults to help children thrive. Prior to Encore.org, Karimah was the Subject Matter Expert in Community Development for Habitat for Humanity International.

Earlier in her career, Karimah lived in every region of the US, working as a community organizer with local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations and networks supporting social change issues and building relationships across differences. Karimah has over two decades of experience supporting nonprofit organizations and movement building work as a community organizer, non-profit senior staff, an organizational development consultant, grantmaking foundation board member, award-winning trainer/facilitator, and skill-building curriculum designer.

Kim Pevia

Kim Pevia is an experienced life strategist, an engaging keynote speaker, and a skilled workshop facilitator. Her workshops are experiential and transformational. She specializes in identifying the issues that keep us stuck and addresses them by developing a personalized toolbox to help us hurdle over them. Her favorite work is done in circles. Her favorite topics include Emotional intelligence, Gifts of Conflict, Impacts of Historical Trauma, Cultural Healing, Innocuous Nature of Fear, most of which she includes in Race, Equity, and Inclusion work. Born and educated in Baltimore, MD she currently lives in Robeson County, NC where her roots run deep as a member of the Lumbee Tribe.

She serves on many local, state, and national boards that support community activism and local economy through arts, food, culture, and tourism. She recently served as Chair of the Board of Alternate Roots. In 2015 she founded Artist Market-Pembroke, providing retail opportunities for local and regional artists in southeast North Carolina. Her love of community and films is expressed as the curator of the annual Lumbee Film Festival (along with Cucalorus) and the quarterly CommUnity Cinema (in partnership with Working Films). She expresses her creativity as a writer and workshop/training facilitator.

Leticia Peguero

Since I can remember, the idea that a more just world was possible was at the center of how I saw the world. Growing up in the Brooklyn as an Afro-Latina, my lived experiences and those of my community have been my compass. I truly believe that by deeply listening to those closest to the issues we seek to uproot, we can find solutions that are just and equitable. This philosophy has guided me throughout my career as a social justice leader working at the intersection of race, gender and transformational organizational change.

After spending more than 25 years in and around social justice philanthropy, I decided it was time to strike out on my own and make an impact on a much deeper, more personal level. In 2019, I became a Professional Certified Coach, completing Leadership That Works’ Coaching for Transformation program. I am now a member of the International Coaching Federation and in the process of becoming an Internal Family Systems certified practitioner.

In addition to my coaching practice, I am also the Vice President of Programs at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, developing programmatic strategies that are nimble, responsive and reflective of the integrated and complex nature of social change. I currently serve on the advisory council of Grantmakers for Girls of Color and am a trustee of Philanthropy New York, co-chairing the work on equity and inclusive philanthropy.

Before joining NCF, I was the Executive Director of the Andrus Family Fund, where I led the organization’s transformation from a small family foundation to an innovative funding institution with a clear mission and theory of change. Prior to AFF, I held leadership positions at the Posse Foundation, Planned Parenthood of New York City, The Door Adolescent Health Center, the Adolescent AIDS Program at Montefiore Hospital and am a graduate of National Urban Fellows — one of the country’s top leadership programs.

My alma maters include Fordham University, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and the Marxe School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, where I earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

A believer in the restorative power of the arts, I love to dance and use it as a form of self-care and liberation.

Rukia Lumumba

As Executive Director of the People’s Advocacy Institute, co-coordinator of the Electoral Justice Project, and campaign co-coordinator of the successful Committee to Elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba for Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, Rukia Lumumba is a transformative justice strategist and human rights advocate.

For more than 18 years, she has worked within and outside the system to foster justice for all, especially as it relates to criminal justice disparities for people of color. She has served as director of two of New York state’s largest criminal justice nonprofits, CASES (the Center for Alternatives Sentencing and Employment Services) and the Center for Community Alternatives, providing visionary leadership and building community and system partnerships to help break the prison pipeline. During her leadership tenure, more than 4,200 youths received supportive community-based services including housing, education, job, and health and well-being services, in lieu of incarceration. She also served as co-chair of the Anti-Violence and Criminal Justice Working Group and steering committee member of the first Young Women’s Initiative in the United States dedicated to developing gender equitable policies in New York City, particularly for young women of color. Her work contributed to the development of She Will Be, a 144-page report of recommendations from stakeholders across New York City, including but not limited to community-based organizations, advocates, policy experts, and young women themselves.

A graduate of Howard University School of Law, Rukia clerked for the Juvenile Rights Division of the Washington, DC, Public Defender Service where she represented children and collected data on human rights violations at the former Oak Hill Youth Detention Center, one of the nation’s worst juvenile facilities. The data was included in a report that contributed to the closing of the facility. She was program director of Parents Watch, Inc., a Washington-based nonprofit that assists parents in advocating for their detained child’s release. During her tenure, she helped launch the first parent resource center housed within a detention facility. She served on the board of directors of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, an association of lawyers, activists and legal workers who defend human rights and expose the criminal justice disparities for people of color. She served as national coordinator of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a membership-based organization dedicated to promoting human rights and self-determination. She co-founded Katrina on the Ground, an initiative that organized over 700 college students to participate in post-Katrina relief efforts in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. She launched the Community Aid and Development Day Camp, an education and cultural enrichment program for over 200 children ages 6-16 in Jackson, Mississippi.

Rukia currently co-chairs the People’s Assembly process in Jackson, Mississippi which works to (1) increase community access to city government and (2) to institutionalize People’s Assemblies as community governing models that enable a deep democratic participation of people in their own governance. She was selected as one of the brightest and most promising women of color by New York University Wagner School of Public Service and she is a 2011 Youth for Justice Leadership Fellow for the National Juvenile Justice Network.

Rukia holds family very dear and is most proud of being a wonderful mother to her son Qadir. She was instrumental in the successful and revolutionary mayoral campaigns of her father and brother. Her assistance to elect her brother, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, as mayor of Jackson united people across generations and cities, moving as brilliantly among the grassroots as it did among the grasstops.

Rukia holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in international relations from Tougaloo College in Mississippi. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. and has studied law and politics in South Africa at the University of Forte Hare and the University of the Western Cape.

Wesley Morris

Wesley Morris is a community organizer, facilitator, and Senior Pastor of Faith Community Church in Greensboro, NC. His work centers on addressing the interlocking injustices of systemic racism and systemic poverty. Wesley currently serves as Vice President of the Pulpit Forum and as Associate Director for Southern Vision Alliance (SVA) where he works with emergent social justice organizations to develop racial, economic, and environmental justice solutions for collective liberation in the US South.

Prior to joining SVA, Wesley served as an Intern chaplain at Harlem Hospital and worked for more than a decade as a community organizer with the Beloved Community Center, home to the nation’s first Community Truth and Reconciliation Process.

Through his solidarity projects in Cuba, Barbados, and Brazil he has supported opening cultural and spiritual pathways to bridge the gap between Black, indigenous people of color and the African Diaspora. Wesley acknowledges the pain caused by systems of oppression and has committed his efforts towards achieving a more just and equitable world. Wesley has been a strong supporter and active participant in the national Poor People’s Campaign – a relaunch of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s nonviolent civil disobedience protest in over 40 states addressing voter suppression laws, mass incarceration, and livable wages led by Dr. William Barber.

Wesley earned a B.A. degree from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He enjoys traveling, listening to his vinyl record collection, and reading.

Joining RGE

Participation Guidelines

We are looking for up to 30 participants to join the RGE Cohort launching in September 2022! The application for the first cohort will be available May 2 – 31, 2022.   

Eligible participants for the RGE Cohort include Program Directors, or individuals with equivalent philanthropic experience, who:   

  • Work at grantmaking organizations who are current or prospective members of GSP. 
  • Can commit to attending cohort convenings. 
  • Have a passion for racial justice, community, and dismantling White Supremacist culture.  
  • Have a foundational understanding of race, racism, and racial equity

 

What to Expect

The RGE Cohort experience is designed to give our community the space to learn, reflect, build relationships, and heal together. We know two years is quite a time commitment, but our goal is to be impactful and intentional with the time we share. As an RGE participant, you can expect the following: 

  • Six cohort convenings: This is our time to build community and learn with one another. Week-long convenings will take place in September 2022, January 2023, May 2023, September 2023, January 2024, and May 2024.
  • Affinity groups: This is time for participant-led gatherings in the months outside of our convenings. Participants will define their affiliations with fellow cohort members and design their engagement based on shared needs and desires.
  • Individualized coaching: The cohort offers up to 12 dedicated hours of coaching with a paired faculty member to help aid in the overall development of cohort members.
  • Self-directed learning opportunities: We are journeying together in search of a supportive environment. Therefore, we will remain flexible and resourceful for participants to address their own learning needs.
  • Field-level change initiative: This generative project opportunity will allow cohort members to use the learnings in practical ways both as they relate to making a tangible impact upon the sector and leveraging the diverse gifts, talents, and leadership skills among fellow cohort participants.

6 full cohort convenings, each spanning one work week. Up to 5 affinity group meetings. Individual coaching sessions. Support for self-directed learning. Platform for field level change initiatives.

 

Healing Justice and RGE 

The legacy of structural oppression in our country and in the South is centuries of accumulated advantage for the privileged and disadvantage for those on the margin. As such, authentic healing practices must address and seek to repair the effect of the historical oppression and the disparities in power it has caused.  

RGE participants will engage in practices to facilitate their personal healing as well as healing together, with the goal of providing tools they can use beyond the fellowship experience and incorporate in the contexts in which they work and lead. To this end, GSP will ensure the availability of additional supports including but not limited to: mental health and somatic healing resources, accessibility accommodations, and language justice resources. Participants are encouraged to name any needs they may have to allow for their fullest participation. 

 

Cost 

Our programmatic fees are determined on a sliding scale. Please refer to the fee structure to determine the appropriate cost for your organization. 

  • Public Foundations: Foundations funded by many donors. Their grant funds are not primarily dispensed through a re-granting process.
  • Private Foundations: Foundations funded by a single individual or family.
  • Intermediaries: Entities that are essentially re-grantors of public and private philanthropic dollars.

Scholarships are available for individuals needing supplemental assistance to participate in the RGE Cohort. In your application, please let us know if a scholarship would support your participation in RGE. 

 

Special thanks to the cohort planning group – Andrea Lynch, Angie Kim, Chantelle Fisher-Borne, Kenita Williams, Lavastian Glenn, Melanie Allen, and Tamieka Mosley – for their vision and persistence to bring this program to fruition. 

Contact 

Questions about RGE? We're here for you! Please complete the form below, and you will receive a response from Amber Brown or Elizabeth Houck-Zozaya.

“To get to social change, we need social movement. To build movement, we need network and relationships.”

Join GSP

Grantmakers for Southern Progress is a membership-based network of philanthropic leaders, practitioners, and individuals dedicated to leveraging resources for structural change in the South.