Today, we are highlighting long-time member and leader within our network Keesha Gaskins-Nathan. Keesha is the Program Director for Democratic Practice – United States at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and currently serves on FCCP’s Advisory Board.
Q: Tell us about your journey in philanthropy and your current work.
In Minnesota, I had the opportunity to use my background as a lawyer and judicial clerk to connect improving democratic systems with grassroots communities across the state in serving as executive director for the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus and later, the League of Women Voters Minnesota. This ultimately brought me to New York to work nationally as Senior Counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice focusing on redistricting reform, voting rights, and modernizing election administration. In 2014, I joined the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) and was charged with leading up the Democratic Practice Program – United States, with the goal of advancing a vital and inclusive democracy in the United States.
In 2018, I helped develop the RBF’s effort to develop a new funding strategy dedicated to movement-building for systemic reform of democratic institutions to advance economic and racial justice. Through this effort, the RBF supports organizations that work to deepen relationships between elected officials and the communities they represent, advance meaningful political and economic policies, and develop community leaders.
From 2020-2022 I led the RBF’s Racial Justice Initiative – which advanced funding to support racial equity in the U.S.
Q: How has your work with FCCP informed your journey?
FCCP has enabled me to find a cohort of like-minded, motivated peers who want to see our democratic system improve to be more inclusive, more representative and equal. From its large space programming – like the national convening – to its more targeted programming – like its working groups, FCCP allows the philanthropic community to dig into critical issues affecting civic participation and work together to identify strategies and tactics that can be adapted and used from funder to funder network-wide.
On a personal note, FCCP has also helped me grow my leadership and platform to uplift the priorities that mean the most to me, that is to help shed light on how we can make our democratic systems more equitable.
Q: You’ve been involved in FCCP for a while. What would you tell someone considering membership?
I would check out an upcoming webinar opportunity featured in our bi-weekly newsletters. It’s a great taste of what FCCP does. FCCP embraces and transcends civic participation, connecting grantmaking to supporting communities and funding efforts to uplift the voices of those who are often unheard. The basic tenets FCCP focuses on can apply to virtually any grantmaking program. So, start small; join a webinar or working group. See what it’s all about and hopefully you do join our network. I am sure you won’t be disappointed – and come introduce yourself at the national convening. I would love to meet you!
Thanks so much, Keesha, for your time and continued support of our network.