A Note Regarding Feminist Staff Transition
at Global Fund for Women:
Thanking Leila Hessini
Dear Global Fund for Women community:
After many years of vision, leadership, and service, Vice President of Programs Leila Hessini is stepping down from Global Fund for Women on July 15, 2022. We are incredibly grateful to Leila, who began as an advisor in 1998 and served as a Board member and Board Chair 2006-2015, as well as on Global Fund for Women’s staff 2017-2022.
Leila brought sharp feminist analysis, strong advocacy skills, a deep understanding of the need to shift power in philanthropic spaces, and a commitment to centering Global South strategies to Global Fund for Women. She contributed to many milestone achievements, including doubling grantmaking to $17 million over the course of her tenure; updating our strategy to provide a continuum of support across crises, innovation, and supporting movement-led approaches; refining grantmaking policies to move money in more flexible, less onerous, movement-centric ways; launching a $5 million feminist technology commitment; creating an Adolescent Girls Advisory Council and piloting our first participatory grantmaking; and working closely in partnership and allyship with the community of feminist funds.
I have had the pleasure of working with activists and advocates from across the globe who are advancing some of the most radical and progressive visions of a more just and harmonious world.Leila Hessini
Statement from Leila Hessini:
“It has been a privilege to work in the feminist funding and movement space over the last five years. I have had the pleasure of working with activists and advocates from across the globe who are advancing some of the most radical and progressive visions of a more just and harmonious world. I believe deeply in the importance of this work: moving more and better resources to feminist funds and movements, including by working closely with bilateral, institutional, and individual resource partners. I am so proud to continue to support and cheer on this work, and look forward to Sangeeta Chowdhry’s bold, feminist leadership as Interim Vice President of Programs.”
Under Leila’s leadership, Global Fund for Women exponentially increased funding to feminist, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ funds, as well as to those who most experience marginalization, including sex workers, transgender and intersex activists, women and Indigenous human rights defenders, adolescent girls, and Black and Brown communities. She represented Global Fund for Women in spaces that are committed to decolonizing philanthropy and moving money in strategic and political ways including through Prospera’s Board; the Alliance for Feminist Movements; Fenomenal Funds; and Shake the Table.
She also cultivated and enjoyed deepened solidarity with advisors and strategic partners and advanced a holistic accompaniment program grounded in trust, care, and justice.
While Leila is stepping down from Global Fund for Women, she will continue to play a central role in feminist movements and we look forward to celebrating her leadership with a public digital event on July 15, 2022. Please save the date—more information will be shared soon about how to sign up and attend this farewell event, as well as how to share well wishes with Leila on her journey ahead.