Our Team

Yark Beyan, Program Associate
Joy Messinger, Director of Training and Leadership Development
Lorraine Ramirez, Executive Director

Yark Beyan

Program Associate

Yark brings over 4 years experience in program administrative and event logistics support, youth civic engagement, and social entrepreneurship. Prior to joining FFJ, Yark was a Senior Program Assistant at the Open Society Foundations Fellowship Program, where she supported cross-programmatic operations and programming. Yark graduated Summa Cum Laude from Stony Brook University in May 2019 where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies. Yark has been recognized nationally for her efforts to advance youth voter participation. She is a recipient of the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Award, and the 2019 recipient of Stony Brook’s first-ever Excellence in Civic Leadership Award.

Joy Messinger

Director of Training and Leadership Development

Joy Messinger is a queer, disabled, femme organizer of spreadsheets, funding, and people to build sustainability, healing, wellness, and power for reproductive justice, queer and trans liberation, and disabled, migrant, and POC communities. Based on Neshnabé / Bodéwadmi (Potawatomi) land (Chicago, Illinois) for the past decade, she was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in semi-rural Western New York. She comes to Funders for Justice (FFJ) with more than 15 years experience in the areas of social justice philanthropy, behavioral public health, reproductive and birth justice, mental health and disability justice, youth development and organizing, LGBTQ/QTPOC advocacy, Asian American community building, immigration justice, HIV/AIDS prevention and support, facilitation and curriculum development, higher education and student affairs, grassroots fundraising, and nonprofit management. In her role as Director of Training and Leadership Development, she will oversee the expansion of the network’s fellowship program, political education, and funder training strategies.

Most recently, Joy spent five and a half years as a Program Officer at Third Wave Fund, a national funder of youth-led intersectional gender justice activism, where she supported the relaunch of the organization’s rapid response, multi-year, and participatory grantmaking strategies. During her time with Third Wave, she also advised dozens of grantmakers, donors, and funder networks on rapid response, participatory, youth-focused, and cross-movement grantmaking practices and served as both Co-Lead of FFJ’s Healing Justice Strategy Group and Co-Chair of the Funders for Reproductive Equity (FRE) Youth Leadership & Engagement Working Group. In addition, Joy was a Rockwood Leadership Institute Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Fellow and holds graduate degrees in public health and social work from the University of North Carolina and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Joy is a board member of Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP), which uses creative arts, healing justice, and youth leadership development to address LGBTQ youth homelessness, and organizes with her neighbors to imagine and create a world beyond policing and prisons. She also loves the WNBA, the Shonda Rhimes one-hour drama, noodles and dumplings of all kinds, and her cat Kimchi Lox, who you may be lucky enough to virtually meet over Zoom someday.

Lorraine Ramirez

Executive Director

Lorraine has worked in social justice philanthropy for nearly 20 years, in the areas of LGBTQ rights, gender justice, racial justice, immigrant rights, anti-violence organizing strategies, and housing and the foreclosure crisis. Lorraine previously worked at Neighborhood Funders Group, managing their housing and place-based funder organizing work in its earlier formation, and then as co-founder and director of Funders for Justice while it was a program of NFG. Prior to NFG, Lorraine was part of the US Programs team at the Open Society Foundations, as a member of the Equality and Opportunity Fund. She began her work in philanthropy with five years on the grantmaking team at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, across their international and US-based grant programs. She has consulted and partnered with a number of grassroots social justice community-based organizations across the US, in the areas of fundraising strategies, organizational development, safety and security practices, and coalition-building.

She currently serves on the board of JustFund.us and of Kolibri Foundation. She has previously served on the board of the Audre Lorde Project, Queers for Economic Justice, and the Justice Committee, a people of color organization dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in NYC. More recently, Lorraine served as a board member of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT), Trans Queer Pueblo, and Resource Generation; and as a member of the grants panel for the Mobilize Power Fund of Third Wave Fund. Lorraine holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Pomona College.

Jenell Rosa, Administrative Manager
Lolan Buhain Sevilla, Director of Organizing
KIta Urias, General Member Organizer

Jenell Rosa

Administration Manager

Jenell Rosa brings many years of commitment to philanthropy. She is motivated to fostering authentic partnerships with individuals and organizations in our communities, both in front of and behind the scenes. As the Administration Manager, she brings strong administrative support and coordination skills, manages all day-to-day operations of the organization, and grants management.

Jenell’s career in philanthropy began at the Nathan Cummings Foundation which allowed her passion for equity to flourish. From there, she became the program assistant at the Weissberg Foundation, where she provided programmatic, communications, and administrative support to advance the foundation’s mission. Jenell’s commitment to democratic values and social justice started at home with family discussions and education on issues of human rights. One of Jenell’s favorite quotes (and words to live by) is from Jon Bon Jovi, “nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.” She believes passion is what fuels us to work for the change we believe is possible.

Jenell has a creative soul and loves everything arts related. The Washington, DC native has a passion for fashion, which led her to pursue her BA in Fashion at the Art Institute. In her spare time, she dabbles in pottery, interior design, crafting, and DIY projects. She also enjoys catching up with family and friends, playing with her dog Lucky or binging on the latest Netflix series.

Lolan Buhain Sevilla

Director of Organizing

Lolan Buhain Sevilla, MPA (gender pronouns: they/them/their) is a queer Filipino Trans cultural worker, organizer, and trainer who strives to root their work in community, study and practice. They have spent their career cultivating an expertise in cross-sectoral nonprofit leadership & management, specializing in crisis response, program strategy, and organizational development that is grounded in an anti-oppressive framework. Lolan is excited to join the Funders for Justice team as the Director of Organizing, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Audre Lorde Project as well as the Rutgers University Alumni Leaders Council. A few of the organizations across the anti-violence, gender justice, and immigrant rights movements that they have collaborated with are The NYC Anti-Violence Project, The New York Women’s Foundation Justice Advisory Committee, Asian American + Pacific Islander Women Lead, the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative (University of Rochester), CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, GABRIELA NYC, the Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies, generationFIVE, and INCITE!. A long-time member of the National Writers Union (Local 1981), they also have numerous publishing credits, including the recently co-authored “Speak Up About It: Community Experiences, and Actions to Reduce the Impact of Anti-TGNC Discrimination in the Workplace.”

Kita Urias

Membership Manager

She brings over 5 years of administrative expertise, operational experience, and programmatic support. Prior to joining Funders for Justice, Kita was the Executive Coordinator at Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) where she worked closely with the President to keep all of the organization’s programs and operations running smoothly. During her tenure at NFG, she supported the launch of several programs including: Project Phoenix, the Amplify Fund, Philanthropy Forward, and Integrated Rural Strategies Group.

Kita has a background in education and a passion for youth development and supporting racial and gender justice. She was an early childhood educator before making the leap into philanthropy and has since deepened her values and awareness around diversity, equity, inclusion, and gender equality. Kita earned a BA in English with a concentration in Education from the University of Texas – San Antonio.