What is Solidaire?

Solidaire is a membership community of people with wealth who are committed to supporting progressive social movements which address crucial needs now, next year and beyond.  We aim to respond quickly and nimbly to urgent needs, while also making long-term sustained commitments to build movement infrastructure.

Facilitated by Solidaire’s communications platforms, members develop deep knowledge and connections with organizations on the front lines of resistance, action and innovation. Through their interactions, Solidaire members gain the confidence and knowledge of how to channel their donations to organizations that are on the frontier of transforming our society.

Our History

Solidaire began with the desire to answer a single question: What is the role of financial resources in supporting social movements that are fighting for deep systemic change?

In 2011, movements shook the globe. From the Arab Spring to anti-austerity protests in Europe, and Occupy Wall Street here at home, we witnessed the power of collective action – of individuals and communities taking to the streets and putting their bodies on the line to make their voices heard. It was surprising and challenging. What did these protesters want? Why was such disruption necessary? These movements upended the status quo, both in their vision and in their tactics.

Watching these events unfold led to reflection on the history of social movements, and the realization that they often take decades to achieve their goals. Deep structural change takes massive shifts in culture and narratives, as well as in social, political and economic institutions. The women’s, abolition, and civil rights movements each challenged a deep conception about who had rights, who was fully human, and who should be allowed to participate in society as an equal.

Upon further reflection, we realized that such movements don’t just happen. They require infrastructure. They require organizations and leaders that can sustain energy and vision over time. And this infrastructure requires resources.

In 2012, we decided to create a community of donors who wanted to participate in building this kind of long term social movement infrastructure. We looked at models and surveyed the landscape. Then, in 2013, Solidaire was born, launching with just a handful of people. Now, in 2018, we have over 160 members around the country, and we continue to experiment and learn together about the best role we can play in creating the kind of deep structural change our society needs.

Join Our Community!

If you are a person with wealth and are interested in making your giving more strategic, coordinated, and transformative, consider joining our community! Please reach out to our staff for more information: eugenia@solidairenetwork.org.

Founders

Our founding group worked together throughout 2012 and 2013 to create the shape, culture, and processes that make up Solidaire.

Farhad Ebrahimi

Jason Franklin

Richard Graves

Leah Hunt-Hendrix

Jee Kim

Brooke Lehman

Brendan Martin

Billy Wimsatt

Steering Committee

Our Steering Committee oversees the health of the organization and keeps us focused on our long-term goals.

Dr. Jason Franklin, Chair

Biography

Jason was appointed in June 2015 as the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy to which he brings a background in grantmaking and donor education, nonprofit strategy and leadership, social entrepreneurship, & community organizing and advocacy. As holder of the nation’s first endowed chair focused on community philanthropy, he engages in research, teaching, service, and thought leadership to explore and advance the field, nationally and internationally. Additionally, Jason is the President of Ktisis Capital Advisors through which he serves as a strategic advisor to a mix of progressive individual donors, families, foundations and philanthropic collaboratives.  He serves as board chair of the Proteus Fund; co-founder and co-chair of the Solidaire Donor Network; and on the boards of WiserGiving, Proteus Action League, and the Michigan Civic Education Fund. He is also an advisory board member of the Chartered Advisors in Philanthropy Program, Amplifier, Our LGBT Fund at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and the Movement Voter Project and a member of the Democracy Alliance, Threshold Foundation and their High Impact Documentary Funding Circle, and WINGS: Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. Prior to his appointment as the Kellogg Chair, he served as Executive Director of Bolder Giving, an organization that inspired people to give big & take more risks with their philanthropy and was credited by Melinda Gates as an inspiration for the billionaire Giving Pledge. He received his PhD in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where he also held an appointment for ten years as an award-winning adjunct professor teaching about philanthropy and social change.

Ingrid Benedict, Secretary

Biography

Ingrid, director of the Daphne Foundation, has spent over a decade helping leaders and organizations reach new levels of capacity and efficacy. In addition to working with the Daphne Foundation, Ingrid works with philanthropic and community-based organizations as an organizational development consultant and capacity builder,  facilitator, and grantmaker. She is the co-founder and co-chair of New York Blacks in Philanthropy and is on the board of the United We Dream Network and the Steering Committee of the Solidaire Network. Ingrid is dedicated to building the field towards social and systemic change, Ingrid brings her perspective and experiences to all of her work with social change leaders and organizations. A first generation immigrant from Nicaragua, Ingrid’s family moved to California in the early 1980s where she began her work in social justice as a regional organizer against an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative – Proposition 209. She continued to work in the field of student and youth leadership and organizing, supporting the programmatic direction of Youth Together, School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), and as the Director of the California Fund for Youth organizing, she helped foster collaboration between practitioners and funders to promote youth organizing as an effective strategy for developing a new generation of social change leaders.

Dr. Holmes Hummel, Treasurer

Biography

Holmes is the founder of Clean Energy Works, which connects champions of energy efficiency and renewable energy with resources that accelerate investment in the deployment of clean energy solutions. In addition, he serves on the board of Cleantech Open, the world’s largest accelerator built to find, fund, and foster the most promising cleantech startups and also on the board of Cornerstone Capital Inc.

 

In 2009, Holmes was appointed as the Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Policy & International Affairs, serving through 2013. In that capacity, Holmes engaged a wide range of industry and public interest stakeholders to inform energy policy decisions on such topics as clean energy finance, water-energy interdependency, natural gas resource development, trade policy, climate change, environmental regulation and grid reliability. In addition to stewarding agency work on energy and climate policy development, Holmes founded the Water-Energy Technology Team within DOE and also led the DOE Energy Finance Working Group.

 

In earlier public service, Holmes served as a Congressional Science Fellow focused on energy and climate policy. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Holmes designed corporate energy strategies for clients of Silicon Energy, an energy software firm acquired by Itron, and later consulted briefly with the Google Energy & Climate team. Holmes was first hooked on energy technology innovation 20 years ago as a co-leader of the Clarkson University Solar Car Team, which designed and raced a highly efficient experimental electric vehicle across the country using only the power of the sun.

Brooke Lehman

Biography

Brooke has been active as an educator and activist since the mid 80s. She was a founding member of the Direct Action Network, Bluestockings Bookstore (NYC), and most recently The Watershed Center. Brooke serves on the faculty of the Institute for Social Ecology, as well as on the Steering Committee of  Solidaire, and the Board of the Schumacher Center for New Economics. Brooke leads workshops on generative communication, yoga, non-violent direct action, and structuring democratic organizations, and works as an organizational transformation consultant for social justice organizations. Her true passion, however, is match-making and turtle whispering.

Sophie Robinson

Biography

Sophie is a filmmaker, social justice activist, and philanthropist. Sophie is the Executive Producer and Director of Outreach for the Age of Consequences, a documentary about how climate change impacts national security. She organized and coordinated with The Better Future Project and 350 Massachusetts for two years – spearheading one of the leading statewide climate networks in the country. Sophie has Psychology and Environmental Science degrees from Williams College, and is currently finishing a masters degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard. Her focuses in philanthropy are in racial justice and environmental justice.

Deborah Sagner, LCSW

Biography

Deborah is the president of the Sagner Family Foundation whose mission is to support non-profits working to make structural change in order to advance education, economic, and racial justice.  She is also the vice president of The Sagner Companies, Inc., a residential and commercial real estate development company. Deborah practiced as a family and play therapist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ.  She is the author of The Family Play Genogram (1999), a guidebook for the play therapy technique she pioneered and popularized; she has presented workshops on the Family Play Genogram technique in the US and internationally. Deborah is a member of the Steering Committee of Solidaire. She served on the board of directors of the HealthCare Foundation of NJ, New jersey Performing Arts Center, Culture  Project and J Street. Raised in New Jersey, Deborah has a BA from Brandeis University, an MA from Tufts, and an MSW from Fordham. She has four grown children and four granddaughters.

Our Staff

Rajasvini Bhansali

Rajasvini Bhansali

Job Position

Executive Director

Biography

Rajasvini (Vini) is the new Executive Director of Solidaire and served as Thousand Current’s (formerly IDEX) Executive Director from 2010-2018. In a wide-ranging career devoted to social and economic justice, she has led a national social enterprise, managed a public telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years. Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master′s in Public Affairs (MPA) with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor′s degrees in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies from UC Berkeley. Vini has been involved in community organizing and volunteer board roles for the last two decades.

Ravi Khanna

Ravi Khanna

Job Position

Director of Finance & Operations

Biography

Ravi is a first-generation immigrant from India. Throughout his life, he has worked to support and uplift the voices of people most marginalized by those in power. His past work has included organizing policy and advocacy campaigns; hosting a news and opinion website focused on amplifying the voices of activists from the global south; producing documentaries on the so-called “war on drugs”, child labor, and corporate globalization; providing training and support for immigrant-led organizations; helping raise funds to support frontline organizing; and philanthropic advising. Ravi has worked with or served on the Boards of such progressive organizations as Centro Nacional de Comunicacion Social (D.F., Mexico), Grassroots International, Haymarket People’s Fund, Movimiento Ciudadano por la Democracia (D.F., Mexico), Oxfam America, Peace Development Fund, Resist, Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, and Women’s Rights International.

Janis Rosheuvel

Janis Rosheuvel

Job Position

Program Director

Biography

For over a decade, Janis has organized with communities most impacted by injustice, following their lead and demanding just and right repair for past and ongoing harms. She has worked as Executive Secretary for Racial Justice with United Methodist Women and was formerly the Executive Director at Families for Freedom, a national anti-deportation organization center. She was also a Fulbright Fellow to South Africa, where she documented the struggles of migrants, shackdwellers, and other working class activists. Janis also does political education with the Flatbush Tenant Coalition and lectures at John Jay College on the criminalization of migrant life. Janis serves on the boards of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. She holds an MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford in England.

Eugenia Lee

Eugenia Lee

Job Position

Director of Community Engagement

Biography

Eugenia’s work has focused on community empowerment and bringing new voices to the table for more equitable decision-making. Prior to joining Solidaire Eugenia worked in international development and consulted for The Global Philanthropists Circle, a membership group for philanthropists moving over $1 MM/year to global causes. She has lived and worked in various parts of the world including in Nairobi, Kenya where she conducted teacher training and leadership development in informal settlements, and led projects throughout East Africa and South Asia. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Janisha R. Gabriel

Janisha R. Gabriel

Job Position

Communications Manager

Biography

Janisha R. Gabriel is an artist, designer, technologist, and strategist among many other things. A life-long organizer, she has been involved in numerous social justice initiatives, centering on efforts to advance Black liberation, gender justice, and LGBTQ equity. She is the founder and owner of Haki Creatives,  a boutique creative agency providing media, identity, and digital design for social change-makers. Additionally, Janisha is a a board member of The Black Feminist Project, a South Bronx non-profit fighting to bring healthy food to low income residents and a member of AfroInnova, an Afro-Colombian based collective of leaders and organizations working to establish visibility and empowerment for African communities globally. Janisha also holds a B.M.E. from Howard University and an M.A. from Nyack College.

Jacqueline Behan

Jacqueline Behan

Job Position

Operations Manager

Biography

Jacqueline (Jakki) is new to the nonprofit world, having come from an events and service background. Having coordinated events ranging from concerts to conferences for the University of Minnesota as well as flying for Delta for four years, she is excited to use her customer experience support background to make a difference with things she is passionate about.