January 22, 2024

Welcome Our New Leaders!

A graphic that reads “Welcome Our New Leaders” with photos of Mo and MARS collaged over pink, yellow, and blue waves of color, with Third Wave’s logo in the yellow blob inbetween Mo and MARS.

After a several month-long, nationwide search for Third Wave Fund’s next leaders, we are thrilled to welcome Morgan (Mo) Willis and MARS. Marshall as Third Wave Fund's new Co-Directors!

Starting in their new roles as of January 9th, we are confident that Mo and MARS. (capitalization and period intentional) will center transformative leadership and values-aligned stewardship of Third Wave’s resourcing work. As we continue to expand our organizational capacity to meet our communities and movements with responsiveness and support, we believe Mo and MARS. will excel at carrying forward Third Wave’s growing legacy of youth-led intersectional gender justice activism, grantmaking, and donor organizing.

For close to 15 years, Morgan (Mo) Willis (she/they) has created and strengthened many community projects and organizations, most notably directing and producing the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, MI for several years. “I’m so excited to join Third Wave as a Co-Executive Director,” said Mo. “It’s an honor to get to listen, learn, and collaborate with a group of people so dedicated to approaching this work with care, intention, and strong vision. BIPOC, queer and trans, disabled folks, sex workers, gender justice advocates—these are my folks. And I’m so grateful to work in service to our collective liberation. I look forward to offering my heart, skills, and commitment to this role, alongside MARS. I can’t think of a better partner to endeavor into this spectacular adventure of leadership.” Read Mo's full bio here.

MARS. Marshall (they/he) has worked with queer and trans BIPOC artists, movement, and cultural workers to create containers for meaningful relationships, strategic connections, and world-changing work for over six years. Also coming with brilliant experience directing and producing the AMC, their vision for leadership centers on the practice of liberation within the personal and professional, emphasizing how we can deepen a culture of care for our staff, and modeling a more human-centered way of working together. “What inspires me about resourcing gender justice and liberation is knowing that another world is possible. Truly." said MARS. "I believe there is a future where capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy no longer define our communities, bodies, and access to the things we need to thrive. I have given my life to co-creating a world where my niblings can live as their whole selves without attack and persecution. Where my gender is free to play. Where the experience of sex workers, immigrants, disabled folks, young people and all of us at the margins are centralized and uplifted.” Read MARS.' full bio here.

Both based in Detroit, Mo and MARS. have distinctly and uniquely invested in each other’s growth and partnership. Through producing the AMC, and subsequently designing its “Chrysalis” year of redefinition, Mo and MARS. have collaborated as managers, strategic planners, facilitators, resource creators, data managers, fundraisers, and so much more. Their abundance of creative and strategic experience will be essential as they embark on collaborating with Third Wave’s Staff and Advisory Council in transforming philanthropy and redistributing wealth and power to our communities.

“We are so excited for Mo and MARS. to be at the helm of Third Wave during this critical time in movement history,” said Ana Conner. “At a time of unprecedented attacks on bodily autonomy, trans justice, and reproductive justice, we are also witnessing a groundswell of movement responses — and a clear need for philanthropy to unwaveringly resource and flank that work.” Kiyomi Fujikawa adds: “Their expertise as movement leaders, conveners, and cultural workers will be invaluable to Third Wave and the broader social justice philanthropic community to keep us on the right track of aligning and centering movements and grantees.” You can read Ana and Kiyomi's leadership transition announcement released in March of 2023 here.

Many brilliant Advisory Council members, staff, and consultants made this transition possible. Thank you to Strategies for Social Change (SSC) for leading us through the hiring, transition, and onboarding processes. We also would like to thank our Leadership Transition Committee: Agustina Vidal, Maryse Mitchell-Brody, Monica Trinidad, Rachel Caïdor, Christian Giraldo (former staff), Adjoa Tetteh (former Co-Chair), Loan Tran (former Co-Chair), Yecelica Jaime Valdivia, and ourselves: current Advisory Council Co-Chairs Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez and Quita Tinsley.

We are excited for Mo and MARS.’ next chapter of partnership with Third Wave. Their shared commitment to BIPOC queer and trans liberation, gender justice, youth-led organizing, network resourcing and cultivation, and shifting philanthropy is exactly what we need in these arduous and justice-seeking times.

In Community,

Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez & Quita Tinsley

Third Wave Fund Advisory Council Co-Chairs