I am a collaborative leader, facilitator, and co-creator of new economic and governance models that build and retain power and wealth in communities. I've been working in philanthropy, donor advised funds, integrated capital, and participatory grantmaking for 10+ years. I am a founding member of the Participatory Grantmaking Community, a Just Economy Institute Fellow and a Transformative 25 committee member.
While getting my Anthropology degree at San Diego State University I decided saw that the best way to create change for a better world is to start with our own communities. Coming from a community of privilege and wealth, I joined the then nascent field of social finance as an opportunity to engage with those around me with wealth to better align that money with their values.
During my 15 years at RSF Social Finance, a non-profit loan fund and donor advised fund provider, I oversaw the donor advised fund program, and worked on investment policy, client engagement, and organizational culture. I helped design and facilitate RSF's community pricing conversations that brought together investors and borrowers from our community loan fund to discuss how to set the interest rate. In 2010, I launched RSF's participatory grantmaking program and have designed, led and participated in over 20 participatory processes with foundations, individual donors, and intermediary funders across issue areas. In 2012, I was a co-creator of RSF's Integrated Capital approach to financing. Through this work I partnered with our lending and investing teams to work to deploy flexible capital to social entrepreneurs.
In 2021, I launched my consulting practice and have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients across the philanthropic and non-profit sector.
I am passionate about supporting work that furthers a Just Transition to a regenerative economy, and philanthropy that furthers the Resonance Framework for Transformation. I have been practicing anti-racism work with my local Showing Up for Racial Justice chapter (SURJ Marin) to dismantle white supremacy and white supremacy culture in our communities.
"I seek freedom, for myself and everyone else. I want to be in a world that allows everyone to be gorgeously flawed and figuring it out. The real honor of my lifetime is found in my connections and their outcomes. The cross-pollination that occurs when we gather is nectar from the gods. Weaving a world from love and care is the creation I want to be remembered for. " - Chani Nicholas
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, I currently live in Basel, Switzerland with my partner, kiddos and our cat Binti.
participatory grantmaking community-led grantmaking Integrated capital community-led governance Philanthropy Grantmaking Donor Advised Funds Shift the Power