STAFF

Sally Smith, Executive Director

Sally founded The Nexus Fund in 2012 to build and strengthen the global community to end mass atrocities. She also serves as the inaugural co-chair of the Conflict and Atrocity Prevention Funders Working Group, a joint project of the Peace and Security Funders Group and the International Human Rights Funders Group. Prior to her work with The Nexus Fund, Sally managed the Sudan Now campaign, led by Humanity United and six other major anti-genocide and human rights organizations. She also worked on advocacy for Sudan and South Sudan through the Enough Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities at the Center for American Progress. Since 2003, Sally has worked for numerous campaigns, foundations and nonprofit organizations, including the Partnership for Public Service, Obama for America, Nick Lampson for U.S. Congress, Walmart Watch, EMILY’s List, and more. She has written pieces for the Washington Post and is an alumnus of EMILY’s List Campaign Corps. Originally from Texas, Sally graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rollins College and is currently pursuing a mid-career Masters in International Public Policy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, with a focus on Conflict Management.

KKT, Myanmar Field Coordinator

KKT joined The Nexus Fund as a field researcher in Myanmar in February 2016. 

Michael Olufemi Sodipo, Nigeria Field Coordinator

Michael, based out of Kano, Kano State, conducts The Nexus Fund’s field research in Northwest region of Nigeria. Michael is Founder and Project Coordinator for the Peace Initiative Network (PIN), a Nigerian peace-building organization founded in 2004. PIN conducts a range of peace education, advocacy, and training activities in schools and through extracurricular programs in several northern Nigerian states. He has spoken widely on the role of civil society organizations in promoting peace among diverse youth populations, including at conferences in Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and the United States. Michael studied Political Science at the University of Abuja and International Relations at the University of Nigeria. He is an alumnus of INCORE University of Ulster, Derry Northern Ireland, and the prestigious U.S Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

Prince Charles Dickson, Nigeria Field Coordinator

Prince Charles, based out of Jos, Plateau State, conducts The Nexus Fund’s field research in the middle belt region of Nigeria. Before joining the Nexus Fund, Prince Charles worked on projects for  UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group on several, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa.

Delaine Powerful, U.S. Coordinator

Delaine Andrea Powerful (she/they) is the U.S. Coordinator at the Nexus Fund, leading the U.S. Program's development & implementation. She/They identifies as a Black queer agender femme and has held multiple roles doing justice and anti-oppression work as an organizer, consultant, trainer/educator, and doulx. Before joining the Nexus Fund, Delaine was the Youth Initiatives Coordinator at the National Institute for Reproductive Health where she/they led the incorporation of reproductive justice and anti-oppressive politics within the youth programming. Delaine has organized with Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and Liberate, Eradicate, Activate to Dismantle (LEAD), and sits on a number of coalitions, working groups and taskforces looking to change polices and institutional requirements and dismantle oppressive structures. She/They recently transitioned out of a three year fellowship with Women Deliver where her/their work was intentionally centered on addressing anti-Blackness, reproductive/body oppression and decolonizing global sexual and reproductive health. Delaine graduated with her Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 2017 and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.

Sadia Hameed, Managing Director

Sadia serves as Managing Director of The Nexus Fund and has spent her career deeply engaged in field-building. Through working strategically with a range of diverse human right organizations, identifying and inviting new stakeholders into conversations, Sadia serves as a thought partner who seeks to identify and create opportunities, connections and collaborations that allow the global mass atrocities prevention and response field to thrive and grow.

Before joining Nexus, Sadia most recently worked as the Program Officer for Wellspring Advisor’s Atrocities Prevention and Response Program. Here, Sadia delivered a significant portfolio of grant-making to develop frameworks and test interventions for upstream violence prevention before they escalate toward mass atrocities. This included supporting early warning mechanisms and identifying a global ecosystem of practitioners, funders, activists, academics and influencers to understand and mitigate the harmful consequences of Dangerous Speech. In addition her work also covered responding to crises that are already underway and where urgent action is required to ensure the protection of civilians.

Beyond grantmaking Sadia has worked for a diverse spectrum of non-governmental organizations since 2000, including Human Rights First, Oxfam America and Amnesty International, undertaking investigative and field research, leading policy advocacy initiatives, developing strategic campaigns and building civil society partnerships to advance human rights protections in the United States, Myanmar, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic and across South Asia, Central America, West Africa and the Great Lakes Region.

Sadia has served on the Steering Committee for the Peace and Security Funders Groups, as an Advisor to the Nexus Fund and was an inaugural co-chair of the Conflict and Atrocity Prevention Funders Working Group. She is also a member of the Protection and Prevention Working Group’s Expert Committee on Atrocity Prevention and is the founder and convener of the International Working Group on Speech that Can Catalyze Violence and a US Working Group to Combat Hate in the U.S.

Sadia earned her MA in International Development in 2003 from American University’s School of International Service, and holds a BA Honors in Political Science and Economic Development as well as a professional certification in International Human Rights Laws and Practice.

Maggie Leahy, Country Director

Maggie oversees The Nexus Fund's programs in Myanmar and Nigeria. Prior to joining The Nexus Fund, Maggie worked with international human rights nonprofits including Malala Fund, where she focused on securing funding opportunities for girls' education globally, and Invisible Children, where she partnered with a range of actors to combat the abuses perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa. Maggie also has experience with the Clinton Global Initiative and AmeriCorps. Maggie attended New York University where she studied psychology and global development.

Lindsey Platt, International Programs & Communications Coordinator

Lindsey, based in Kampala, Uganda, coordinates The Nexus Fund’s communications and International Programs, including the Dangerous Speech Global Fund and the Atrocity Prevention Small Grants Fund. Before joining The Nexus Fund, Lindsey worked with various organizations focused on peacebuilding, leadership and education in the Great Lakes region of Africa. She is passionate about community-led transformation and interfaith peace processes. She co-created The Unity Initiative that brought together young professionals from East Africa, the Middle East, and the West to deepen their ability to form relationships across divisions of race, religion and culture. Lindsey completed her studies at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a degree in Communication Studies and minor in Religious Studies.

Bryan Funk, Development Manager

Bryan Funk is the Development Manager at The Nexus Fund, engaging individuals and grantmakers to provide the critical resources necessary to prevent and end global mass atrocities. His career has spanned securing funding to reduce decades of violence perpetrated by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army to international mental health advocacy and political campaigns. He has seen first hand the transformative power of a well-told story and how global movements can end violence by mobilizing thousands of people to raise millions of dollars. Bryan completed his studies in English with a minor in Peace and Social Justice from Plymouth State University. He is currently a 2018 New Leaders Council Fellow working with political and thought leaders across the country to enact progressive change in our communities.

 

ADVISORY BOARD

Brittan Heller

Brittan Heller works at the intersection of human rights, law, and technology. She is the first Director for Technology and Society for the Anti-Defamation League. She established ADL's Center for Technology and Society, to examine issues like countering violent extremism, cyber-harassment and cyber-bullying, hate speech at home and abroad, and social justice applications for technology. Heller formerly served as an Honors Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She investigated and prosecuted genocide, war crimes, human smuggling, and international fraud. At the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions section, Heller also served as the Computer Hacking and IP Coordinator, gaining specific expertise in cybercrime and electronic evidence. In addition, Heller also handled DOJ's interagency policy work, including at the Atrocities Prevention Board at the White House.
Before government service, Heller practiced international law. As a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford Law School, she worked in Kabul and established a law school at the American University of Afghanistan. Heller was a Luce Scholar in Seoul and assisted North Korean refugees throughout Asia. She also prosecuted the first cases at the International Criminal Court and worked on a trial team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
During law school, Heller spearheaded groundbreaking impact litigation to combat cyber-harassment. The case gained national attention and was one of the first efforts to shed light on this important issue. In addition to her studies, Heller interned at the Office of the Secretary of State, the International Crisis Group, and the United Nations. Heller graduated with distinction (highest honors) from Stanford University (BA/MA) and Yale Law School. She is a Truman National Security Scholar. In her spare time, she has volunteered in Syrian refugee camps. Heller is a Jeopardy! champion and award-winning travel photographer.

Nadia Firozvi

Nadia Firozvi is the Project Manager for the Just and Inclusive Society Project at the Democracy Fund.  Prior to joining the Democracy Fund, Nadia served as a Policy Advisor in the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She also served as Domestic Policy Coordinator at the Arab American Institute and as a Staff Attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, where she provided direct legal services in immigration, language access, civil rights, and more.
Nadia was also a founding board member of Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) which fosters leadership and facilitates community-led initiatives to increase the meaningful inclusion of immigrants in the District of Columbia who do not speak English as their primary language. Nadia received BA from Loyola University in Maryland, her JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and her LL.M. in the International Protection of Human Rights from American University Washington College of Law.

Milton D. Speid 

Milton D. Speid is an experienced Business Development and Corporate Social Responsibility professional with extensive experience developing global corporate philanthropy programs, and creating strategic philanthropic partnerships across a range of objectives. Currently, Milton is responsible for supporting the ”Beyond the Bay” and Eastern Region strategies that seek to promote Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s role as global social enterprise and the premier philanthropic partner for charitably minded individuals and corporations. Previously, he was the Head of Donor Engagement & Vice President of Business Development for North America at Epic Foundation, a global NGO that’s improving the way individuals give back to charitable causes. Prior to joining Epic, he worked for TED Talks, Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
While at TED, Milton helped fortune 500 companies share their best ideas with the world. During his tenure at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, he advised companies on their philanthropic strategies including SAP, Dolby, SanDisk, LinkedIn, Texas Instrument, Stub Hub, and Intuit to name a few. At Bank of America Charitable Foundation, he was responsible for crafting and executing the community and employee engagement strategy for the San Francisco Bay Area.
As the son of Jamaican immigrants, Milton has a personal commitment to poverty alleviation and developing partnerships that maximize resources and achieve greater impact. Milton received a  degree in Psychology from The University of Hartford where he captained the Men’s Soccer Team.  He’s been a key note speaker at many organizations including the International Olympic Committee, He is a member of the Madison Council, a volunteer arm of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. He also sits on the advisory board of the Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy, SEEDs of Africa, We are Family Foundation, Wrestle Like a Girl, Human Rights Watch (New York Committee) and Equality League.  He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Mark Hanis 

Mark Hanis is a serial social entrepreneur.  He is a Research Fellow with Stanford University's Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice. Previously, Mark has helped found several social impact organizations: the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University to engage global leaders to drive social change at scale; the Organ Alliance (now Organize) to address the unnecessary deaths due to a shortage of transplantable organs; and United to End Genocide to empower citizens and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide.  Mark also served as a White House Fellow working in the Office of Vice President Joe Biden as the National Security Affairs Special Advisor for South America, Africa, and Human Rights.
Mark has been awarded several fellowships for social entrepreneurship, including Ashoka, Echoing Green, Draper Richards Kaplan, and Hunt Alternatives Prime Movers. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Hanis graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Public Policy. He is the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors and was raised in Quito, Ecuador.

Lindsay Scola 

Lindsay Scola serves as the Senior Director of Talent and Public Relations at the Television Academy, where she specializes in relationship building with artists, networks and studios to provide talent a home at the Academy. Lindsay is actively involved in the Academy’s Honors brand that recognizes television programs moving the social needle across genres, building academy diversity programming and producing “Power of TV” panels that highlight television’s ability to educate on social causes and start a conversation.
Prior to her move to the entertainment industry, Lindsay spent eight years with the Obama campaigns and Administration. Starting as an organizer in the snows of Iowa in February 2007, ultimately joining President Obama’s advance staff, traveling the country and the world to direct logistics for the President and First Lady for major events and international summits. Lindsay ran scheduling and advance logistics for Ambassador Susan Rice at the US Mission to the UN and served as the Director of Advance for First Lady Michelle Obama during the 2012 Obama for America Campaign.