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Fela Thomas

Fela Thomas

Fela Thomas

Senior Program Officer, People
Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do because the ancestors and all my relations continue to invite me to be a part of shaping this world into what the land and the people need to thrive. My experiences as a Black person, as gender non-conforming, as a child, as a baba, as a renter, as a family member to people formerly/currently incarcerated, and as a worker/worker-owner guide me to be in service. I transitioned from my work as an organizer, in direct service, in higher education and eventually as an intermediary to my current role to continue to be in service. I aim to support the resourcing of work that is going to continue to nurture the people, the institutions and the movements to bring about a just transition in this world. I am because we are, we are because I am.

What drew you to the foundation?

I have called the Bay Area home for more than two decades — longer than any other place where I have lived.  The Bay is where I have been growing with my family (blood and chosen). This community foundation, in serving my home with an explicit racial and economic equity lens, felt like where I needed to be.

How would you describe your role?

I help to hold the work and individuals that are connected to the People Pathway in advancing the economic security of low-income Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the Bay Area. I do this by listening, learning, and working with people engaged in that work, centering the people and communities closest to the problems.

Are you involved in any volunteer activities?

When I am not co-parenting four beautiful and powerful Black children, I volunteer on the board of Youth Together, an organization where I proudly served as a staff member for a decade early in my journey.

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