While getting my Anthropology degree at San Diego State University I decided 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 saw the then nascent field of social finance as an opportunity to engage with those around me with wealth to align that money with their values.
After moving back to the San Francisco Bay Area I got a job at RSF Social Finance in 2005. During my 15 years at RSF I had a wide range of experience across the fields of philanthropy and social finance, specifically with grants management, client engagement, investment policy, organizational culture, and overseeing the Donor Advised Fund program. 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 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.
Previously, I served on the board of the Haight Ashbury Food Program, coordinated the Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition, and ran an interactive performance art theme camp at Burning Man.
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