J. M. Johnson
Senior Philanthropic Advisor
Why do you do what you do?
Like everyone, my life experience has shaped my values, and those values are what compel me to make social justice a focus of my professional pursuits. My personal journey includes growing up in poverty, studying community transformation, living for a time in the global south, and being a queer person who grew up in a non-affirming community. All of these were formative experiences that fostered a deep sense of empathy for those who are struggling in our community as a result of extractive and exploitative systems. My perspective on those struggles is why I hold an unwavering commitment to advancing equity and justice.
What drew you to the foundation?
I have lived in San Francisco my entire adult life, and this place, which felt like a refuge when I left my original home in the Midwest, holds an indelible place in my heart. SFF has a bold and increasingly urgent mandate to expand opportunity and ensure a more equitable future for all in the Bay Area. I am thrilled to use my experience in nonprofit and philanthropic work, combined with SFF’s deep expertise, to help Bay Area philanthropists be more effective.
How would you describe your role?
I am a resource to donors to help them navigate their personal giving journeys. I partner with them to find alignment between their interests and passions with the community’s needs. I can facilitate learning for donors to better understand issues they are curious about, find suitable giving opportunities, advise on structuring philanthropic partnerships, and ultimately help donors experience the deep joy of knowing their philanthropy is impactful.
Are you involved in any volunteer activities?
I am the treasurer of Horizons Young Professionals for Equality (HYPE), a giving circle, hosted by Horizons Foundation, which funds queer grassroots changemakers. I have also been known to ride hundreds of miles on a bike to raise money for a good cause every so often.