Our team

We are decolonizing wealth

Founder and Principal

Edgar is a globally-recognized author, activist and expert on social justice philanthropy. Edgar is author of the best selling book, Decolonizing Wealth, and is founder and principal of Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital.

In 2018, Edgar released his first book, Decolonizing Wealth, which offers hopeful and compelling alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in the philanthropic and social finance sectors, and established Decolonizing Wealth Project (DWP). In 2019, he founded Liberated Capital, a fund that invites individuals and organizations to give through a reparations model that trusts and supports the leadership of those most impacted by historical and systemic racism.

Edgar advises organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to global and national philanthropies and nonprofits on advancing racial equity inside of their institutions and through their community investment strategies.

He holds two degrees from the Gillings Global School of Public Health at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. and is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

Vhee Ananda
Manager, Healing Programs

Vhee Ananda serves as Manager of Healing Programs at Decolonizing Wealth Project. He is honored to lead programming at DWP which advances transformative healing and aims to restore the sacredness of the gift within philanthropy and beyond.

Prior to joining DWP, Vhee Ananda served as the founder & vision keeper for the Genesis Healing Institute- where he facilitated healing spaces for thousands of people across the country. Vhee Ananda designed innovative programs aimed at making holistic and ancestral healing accessible. In addition to his work at Genesis, Vhee Ananda was a Culture of Health Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where he focused on cultivating politicized & community-based models of mental health. Vhee Ananda has also served as a mental health specialist for the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration as well as a Training Lead for the CA Psychological Association.

Sheena Brown
Director, Resource Mobilization

Sheena serves as the Director of Resource Mobilization, ensuring strong relationships and vibrant and fulfilling experiences for the Liberated Capital member community. Additionally, Sheena helps develop grantmaking strategies and strengthens our grantee partners’ ability to do their work and connect to other resources.

Sheena has held several leadership roles in fundraising at local and national organizations working to build progressive political power, such as: Third Wave Foundation, New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, and Color Of Change. Most recently, Sheena worked with over 50 organizations within the Center for Popular Democracy affiliate network to strengthen their fundraising capacities, and move millions of dollars from philanthropic individuals and institutions to support their work. Working with BIPOC Executive Directors and Development Staff, she provided 1:1 coaching and group trainings on how to successfully engage funders and donors while navigating race and class dynamics in philanthropy.

Sheena is an advisor to the Native Organizers Alliance, a national organization dedicated to building the organizing capacity of Indigenous organizers, tribes and community groups fighting for transformational policy change. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Resource Generation, a multi-racial membership community of young people (18-35) with wealth and/or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power. She is the Chair of the Organizational Development Committee.

Sheena is a member of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island and recently relocated to Chicago’s Southside after living in Brooklyn, NY for twenty years.

Chrissie Castro
Advisor, Programs

Chrissie Castro is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, and a social justice consultant working on equity for all peoples, and focusing on the self-determination of American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

Chrissie has more than 15 years of senior management experience in government and nonprofit sectors. Throughout her career, Chrissie has been a strong advocate in promoting equity both within and outside of the nonprofit sector. She has substantive expertise in community organizing, community building, and developing and managing communications campaigns in the fields of violence prevention, economic development, child welfare, mental health, youth development, and for Native American/Alaskan Native populations generally.

Kwesi Chappin
#Case4Reparations Campaign Advisor

As the #Case4Reparations Campaign Advisor for Decolonizing Wealth Project / Liberated Capital, Kwesi leads the community-building and technical assistance for the grantee partners and also advises the DWP/LC team on narrative change and campaign strategies.  He is the former Senior Political Director at Color Of Change where he was in charge of harnessing the talent and energy of Color Of Change’s over 7 million members to build independent Black political power. Before Color Of Change, Kwesi worked as the Deputy Political Director at Center for Popular Democracy and as the Training Director for New Organizing Institute, where he developed the Black Roots New Media Boot Camp, a week-long digital strategy training for people of color. He also briefly served as the Eastern Organizing Manager for the Sierra Club.

Prior to that, Kwesi was Deputy Director at Get Out The Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in Ohio. Kwesi began organizing for Obama in 2007 in the early primary state of South Carolina and continued to organize in four more states during the primary season. In the general election, he became Regional Field Director for Cleveland, Ohio.

William Cordery
Senior Advisor, Liberated Capital

Will is a Senior Advisor for Liberated Capital. He has held several roles in the field of philanthropy – from working at large national private grantmaking institutions to managing fundraising efforts for large, international nonprofit organizations. Over his career, Will has developed and implemented multi-million dollar grantmaking and fundraising portfolios.

Will received his B.S.B.A. in Business Finance from Xavier University and his M.P.A. from New York University. He formerly worked with Marguerite Casey Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. His philanthropic board leadership includes the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Hill-Snowdon Foundation. Greater New Orleans Funders Network, Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing, and Grantmakers for Southern Progress. Additionally, Will is an Advisor for the Global Engagement Lab at the EDGE Funders Alliance, and is an alum of the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ Connecting Leaders Fellowship.

Tricia Levesque
Chief of Staff

Tricia serves as Chief of Staff for the Decolonizing Wealth Project.  Her previous work includes several years as  General and Commercial Counsel in New York City and L.A., as well as Chief Strategy Officer for a human capital start-up in London, U.K.

Her nonprofit and third sector work began as an intern for the Rasmuson Foundation in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska after earning her B.S. Health Policy and Administration (Public Health) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also consulted with the Alaska Community Foundation and Anchorage Community Land Trust before attending Seattle University School of Law where she obtained her Juris Doctor with a focus on Intellectual Property. More recently, Tricia consulted with The Foraker Group on communications and DEI strategy. A storyteller at heart, Tricia is an occasional producer, and most recently, executive produced the web series, Wed-Locked, which was an Official Selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival and Pan African Film Festival.

John Okhiulu
Tom Ford Fellow in Philanthropy

As a recipient of the Tom Ford Fellowship in Philanthropy from Stanford University, John serves as the  Philanthropic Fellow at Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital. As the first to carry out this placement with the organization, he is excited to contribute to strategy and development across all of DWPs program areas. Having recently graduated from Stanford with degrees in African & African American Studies and Human Biology, this is John’s first opportunity to apply his learnings from previous philanthropic and community organizing experiences to impassioned work within the avenues of decolonization and healing.

In school, John served as the first undergraduate on the President’s Black Community Council; he also served as a mentor for high school students and an organizer of youth education initiatives. John aspires to become an interconnected advocate for community restoration and sovereignty and aims to use this 11-month fellowship to learn more about supporting movements and radical transformation across sectors. John previously spent a year in philanthropy with the Emerson Collective’s Global Health Equity Team supporting grant-making and landscape analysis especially focused on community health worker models across the world. As an artist, John pushes the boundaries of time and form to tell stories of ancestry, remembrance and belonging. John hopes to use his creative voice to inspire presence, resilience, and liberation on the personal and community levels.

Carlos Rojas Álvarez
Manager, Executive Office

Carlos serves as the Manager of the Executive Office for Decolonizing Wealth Project, providing executive support and programmatic strategy to all areas of our work. Carlos is a recognized champion of education justice, immigrant rights, and racial equity and brings over a decade of expertise in community organizing, movement building, and philanthropy. As an undocumented immigrant, he began to organize at 16 through the Student Immigrant Movement, where he eventually became the Campaign Coordinator, and later the United We Dream Network, where he played a critical role in coordinating the network’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) registration and Comprehensive Immigration Reform campaigns. Most recently, Carlos was the Director of the ListeningWorks Project at Youth on Board, where he developed, staffed, and executed various capacity-building programs for the youth justice movement field and partnered with philanthropy to advance support for healing justice initiatives across the country.

Carlos currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Schott Foundation for Public Education and Massachusetts Advocates for Children, in addition to serving as a consultant and advisor to other philanthropic and organizational partners.

He is honored to continue his work of connecting people, healing divides, and building community power through the Decolonizing Wealth Project. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with his partner.

Vanessa Thomas
Director, Global Programs
Vanessa serves as the Director for Global Programs at Decolonizing Wealth Project. As the inaugural Director, she is honored to lead the strategy and management of Decolonizing Wealth’s activities outside North America. Having worked in the philanthropy sector for six years, Vanessa joins us from the donor Comic Relief, where she designed and managed a diverse portfolio of funding programs spanning across Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Dedicated to power shifting philanthropy and equity in global development, Vanessa has spent her career disrupting sector norms, from single story African narratives in communications, and pervasive anti-Black racism, to the way and who donors fund. At Comic Relief, Vanessa pioneered the first funding program addressing racial inequality and is the Co-Founder and Director of Diasporic Development, a community for Black professionals interested in or working in social justice.
Cara Venter
Operations and Events Manager

Cara Venter serves as the Operations and Events Manager for the Decolonizing Wealth Project. She is also a Film Producer with projects taking her to international destinations for a diverse group of projects.

With a BDram degree and postgraduate studies in Marketing at the University of Stellenbosch, in South Africa – she acquired events experience at the top event management company in the country, before moving to New York City. Her US-based work experience has been Operations, Education and Production based – with a number of years at the New York Film Academy, before being planted in the Film Industry. Here she focused on short-form story-telling and Documentary filmmaking.

People, healing and storytelling, form the foundation of her life-work, which she hopes to build on and share, as she invests in movements, such as the Decolonizing Wealth Project.

Our Advisors

The Indigenous Philanthropic Advisory Group (IPAG) plays an important role in the learning and narrative change work of Decolonizing Wealth Project and will share wisdom to impact the broader philanthropic sector.

Carla Fredricks
The Christensen Fund

Carla F. Fredericks joined The Christensen Fund in January, 2021 as Executive Director. Carla is a seasoned leader in sustainable economic development, human rights, business and finance, Indigenous Peoples law, and federal Indian law.

Carla’s core work has focused on realization of Indigenous Peoples human rights. She has served in several capacities, including providing core support to the UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples for the entirety of her two terms, serving as of counsel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in bringing their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline to international for a and financial institutions, assisting the Maya peoples of Southern Belize in implementing the affirmation of their land rights, and developing a model for Indigenous-driven consent processes and remedy. She has deep experience as an expert and innovator in the fields of finance and human rights. With First Peoples Worldwide she created a model for a Private Equity Fund that supports sustainable resource development and entrepreneurship in Indian Country, amplified perspectives of Indigenous Peoples during the UN treaty body sessions and Universal Periodic Reviews, and supported the Gwich’in people in protecting their lifeways from extractive industry development in the Arctic.

Through her long affiliation with the Investors & Indigenous Peoples Working Group, Carla has advocated full integration of human rights into the capital markets and facilitated improvements to environmental and social risk management frameworks, including the Equator Principles. In 2020, she led the organizing of investors representing $630 billion AUM that helped to achieve the Washington Football Team name change.

Carla has significant practice experience in litigation and was previously a partner at Milberg LLP in New York, where she also founded Milberg’s Native American practice and directed the firm’s civil/human rights litigation. As Director of the American Indian Law Clinic at Colorado Law, Carla led a year-long clinic in which students have the opportunity to represent American Indian tribes, designed to ready students for the complexities of general counsel work. Carla is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Columbia Law School. She is Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Mashantucket Pequot (Western) Endowment Trust and is a proud, enrolled citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation of North Dakota.

Erik Stegman
Native Americans in Philanthropy

Erik Stegman (Carry the Kettle First Nation – Nakoda) serves as the Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. Erik previously served as Executive Director for the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. He has held positions at the Center for American Progress on their Poverty to Prosperity team, as Majority Staff Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and in the Obama administration as a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. Erik began his career in Washington, D.C. at the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center.

He holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, an M.A. in American Indian Studies from UCLA’s Graduate Division, and a B.A. from Whittier College.

Jodi Archambault
Wend Ventures

Jodi Archambault Gillette is the Director of Indigenous Peoples Initiatives at Wend Ventures, a social impact investment portfolio working across sectors to create positive change. Prior to joining Wend Ventures, Jodi was a Policy Advisor at Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry LLP, a national Native American rights law firm. Between 2009 and 2015, she was as a political appointee for President Barack Obama. During her tenure in the Obama Administration, Ms. Gillette served as the Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Jodi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Native American Studies from Dartmouth and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Justin Hueneman
Formerly with Notah Begay III Foundation

Justin Huenemann, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, brings 20 years of experience providing executive leadership in the nonprofit, government, and higher education sectors. His professional career has focused on community economic development in low-income communities, Native American communities, and communities of color. He has spent his career working to advance American Indian self-determination, believing strongly in the strength, knowledge and resiliency of Indigenous people.

Prior to joining the NB3 Foundation, Justin served as a Senior Program Officer for the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF). With a mission to reduce poverty and build sustainable prosperity, Justin supported champions of change who were building assets, wealth and opportunity in rural, urban and Native American communities across eight states and 75 tribal nations. He also served as the founding President and CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), an award-winning community development organization located in Minneapolis, MN. Here he led numerous community development projects, including establishing the American Indian Cultural Corridor.

Justin holds a B.A. degree in Architecture and a M.A. degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Lourdes Inga
International Funders for Indigenous People

Lourdes Inga has over two decades of experience in international philanthropy serving foundations and nonprofit organizations with rights-based approach and social change missions. Under her leadership, IFIP is focusing on expanding Indigenous Philanthropy and influencing the broader field for the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples leadership, rights, and increased funding resources for Indigenous Peoples. Prior to IFIP, she was with The Christensen Fund a private foundation which focuses on Indigenous peoples’ rights and backing the stewards of cultural and biological diversity. Before that, she was with The Global Fund for Women; a public foundation focused on advancing women’s rights globally. Lourdes is on the Board of Saphichay, an Indigenous-led organization that re-awakens indigenous identity, knowledge, and traditional practice in the Mantaro Valley of Peru. She has served on multiple boards and advisory roles including as founding Board Member of EDGE Funders Alliance and former Board Member of Grantmakers without Borders. Lourdes is from Lima; she is Quechua and Spanish-Croatian. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and stays engaged with the Peruvian diaspora.

Michael Painter
Nia Tero

Physician, attorney and health policy advocate, Michael is Managing Director, Programs, at Nia Tero, working with Indigenous peoples around the world to nurture and support Indigenous guardianship of Earth’s vital ecosystems. Michael is originally from Oklahoma. He is a proud, enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. He works enthusiastically but with focused urgency around the nation and the world looking for ideas and innovation that will help build a better, just and healthier future for all on a rapidly warming planet. Before coming to Nia Tero, Michael had 15 productive years as a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2003-2004, Michael was an RWJF Health Policy Fellow with Senator William Frist, MD, then Majority Leader where, among other things, he was the Senator’s lead staff person for the “Closing the Health Care Gap Act” (S2091). Prior to that, Michael was an attending physician and the chief of medical staff at the Seattle Indian Health Board, a community health center serving urban American Indians and Alaska Natives. Michael holds a JD from Stanford Law School and an MD from the University of Washington. He is a member of the Association of American Indian Physicians. He serves on the boards of We Are Healers and the Princeton Buddhist Meditation Group.

Nick Tilsen
NDN Collective

Nick Tilsen, President & CEO of NDN Collective, is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Nick has over 18 years of experience building place-based innovations that have the ability to inform systems change solutions around climate resiliency, sustainable housing and equitable community development.

He founded NDN Collective to scale these place-based solutions while building needed philanthropic, social impact investment, capacity and advocacy infrastructure geared towards building the collective power of Indigenous Peoples.

Nick has received numerous fellowships and awards from Ashoka, Rockefeller Foundation, Bush Foundation and the Social Impact Award from Claremont-Lincoln University. He has an honorary doctorate degree from Sinte Gleska University.

Raymond Foxworth
First Nations Development Institute

Raymond Foxworth serves as vice president of grantmaking, development and communications at the First Nations Development Institute. He is responsible for the organization’s national grantmaking activities to Native nonprofits and tribal entities, its fundraising activities, and all communications functions. Raymond holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, originally from Tuba City, Arizona.

Tim Fox
Calgary Foundation; The Circle

Tim Fox is the Vice President of Indigenous Relations with Calgary Foundation where he hopes to strengthen, enhance and shift the culture and practice at the foundation while incorporating work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission both internally and in the broader community.

Tim is a proud member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Kainai (Blood) reserve. Tim facilitates Indigenous men’s domestic violence groups at the Calgary Correctional Centre, is co-chair for The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and is the proud father of a 9 year old daughter.

As a self proclaimed edgewalker, Tim endeavours to incorporate a lens of equity and decolonization in all he does and was recognized as one of Calgary’s top 40 under 40 in 2019 for his efforts of mobilizing reconciliation. In an effort to revitalize his Blackfoot language, Tim recently wrote his first children’s book titled, “Napi kii Imitaa” (Napi and the dogs).

Vanessa Roanhorse
Roanhorse Consulting, LLC

Vanessa is an inclusive solutions-driven problem solver committed to liberating all peoples and delivering impactful mechanisms for social, environmental and economic change. She launched Roanhorse Consulting (RCLLC) in 2016, an Indigenous women-led think tank. RCLLC works with unheralded communities, businesses, organizations, and individuals to achieve and aspire their self-determination through forging communities of practice, strengthening indigenous evaluation methods, creating equity through entrepreneurship, and encouraging economic empowerment from within. RCLLC co-designs wealth and power building efforts that directly invest in our leaders, support meaningful data collection informed by indigenous research approaches, and helps build thoughtful community-led projects that enforce values that put people at the center.

Vanessa is a 2020 Conscious Company Media’s World Changing Women in Sustainable Business awardee and is a 2020 Boston Impact Initiative Fund-Building Cohort fellow. She is a retired member of the ABQ Living Cities leadership table and is a Startup Champions Network member. She sits on the boards of Native Community Capital, Zebras Unite and the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers. Vanessa is one of 8 co-founders of Native Women Lead, an organization dedicated to growing Native women into positions of leadership and business. She is a mom of one, living with her family in Albuquerque, NM. Vanessa is a citizen of the Navajo Nation.