March 22, 2023

Big News from Third Wave's Co-Directors

ID 1: Light blue background with a white polaroid shaped box and a cut-out photo of our co-directors Kiyomi Fujikawa and Ana Conner hugging and smiling in the middle. There are flowers on the top right and bottom left corner of the image and the Third Wave Fund logo is in the bottom center. Pink, large text says,

Dear Third Wave community,

We’re sharing big news! After five years at the helm of Third Wave Fund, we, Ana and Kiyomi, will be stepping down as Co-Directors in the beginning of 2024. Since day one, it was our intention to lead Third Wave for five years before passing the baton to a new team of bold and courageous leaders. It has been an honor to lead an incredible team as we’ve worked towards fundamentally transforming philanthropy and redistributing power and wealth. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the powerful legacy of youth-led intersectional gender justice activism and grantmaking that far preceded us.

We are excited for the next chapter of Third Wave. The organization has strong finances, six thriving grantmaking programs, and a creative, insightful, and leader-full team of staff and Advisory Council members who have always been committed to the vision of Third Wave. Since we came on board in 2018, our budget has grown from $2.4 million to over $6.4 million dollars, with much of that in committed revenue, and with reserves to weather economic uncertainties. This growth was because of the support of many of you reading this letter, and it leaves us feeling very confident in the continued growth of Third Wave with new leaders.

Where the organization is now, our journey here, and our success and accomplishments as co-leaders has everything to do with the Third Wave community. Our work has always been about our power as a collective. Every single one of our staff brings a different expertise and perspective to our work, and our broader community makes Third Wave powerful, resilient, flexible, and revolutionary. When we joined as Co-Directors, movement leaders, donors, our staff, Advisory Council, and the broader social justice philanthropic community threw down for us — making connections, amplifying our work, and advocating for Third Wave. We want to provide the same level of support and trust for our next co-leaders through the Powerful Futures Pledge because it was critical to our success as new leaders. Help us support sustainable leadership and powerful youth leaders in philanthropy!

We’ve begun to receive the “what will we do next” question. Our primary focus right now is on Third Wave and ensuring the success of the leadership transition. We won't be far from social justice philanthropy and movement spaces after the transition. Ana will be continuing to sharpen their liberatory operations and finance skills and Kiyomi is excited to continue doing programmatic work. Any tips, recommendations, and connections are welcomed — including great beach vacation recommendations! Ultimately, the opportunity to lead Third Wave has meant that we have had the honor to build strong, lasting relationships with many of you reading this, and we are looking forward to working both with and alongside you in different capacities!

We are very excited to be working with Strategies for Social Change (SSC), Third Wave staff and our Advisory Council for the leadership transition and position search process. SSC led our leadership transition when the baton was passed from Rye Young to us in 2018. We were in awe then, as we are now, at SSC’s ability to lead organizations through smooth hiring, transition, and onboarding processes. Our Leadership Transition Committee is being held down by Advisory Council Co-Chairs Adjoa Tetteh and Loan Tran, Advisory Council Members Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, Quita Tinsley Peterson, and Yecelica Jaime Valdivia, and staff members Agustina Vidal, Christian Giraldo, Maryse Mitchell-Brody, Monica Trinidad, and Rachel Caïdor. We want to give a special shout out to Adjoa Tetteh, who has been a leader on our Advisory Council for six years now, was on the committee that hired us, and will now be a part of our next process. Thank you, Adjoa!

Having the opportunity to serve as Co-Directors of Third Wave has been an opportunity of a lifetime. Coming from different social justice organizing backgrounds, neither of us had planned to be in philanthropy, let alone lead a foundation — and yet Third Wave made it possible for us as two new leaders to work together to fund and organize philanthropy on behalf of our people. Leading Third Wave through Black liberation uprisings, the COVID-19 pandemic, and full scale attacks on trans people, reproductive health and bodily autonomy has shown us the resilience of movements, and the dire need for organizations like Third Wave to exist. Thank you for believing in us, holding us accountable, and trusting us to lead Third Wave.

With gratitude and love,

Ana and Kiyomi