McCormack+Kristel Recruits Executive Director for Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

September 17, 2021 – LGBTQ-focused executive search firm McCormack+Kristel has placed Joy Chia as the new executive director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice in New York City. The charitable foundation supports grantee partners in the U.S and internationally who challenge oppression and seed change. Interim executive director Sandy Nathan has been leading the non-profit organization since 2019.

Ms. Chia joins Astraea at a time when we are experiencing critical growth, investing in and upgrading our infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the organization and our movements, and strengthening our organizational culture to ensure our feminist, anti-racist, international values are being put into practice across all aspects of Astraea’s work,” said the foundation.

Ms. Chia’s commitment to social justice is rooted in her own life experiences, radical politics, and vision for the collective liberation of the organization’s movements. She joins Astraea from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), where she has most recently been the women’s rights program’s team manager. Ms. Chia led the program’s work on the “Power of the Collective,” which prioritizes strengthening feminist activism, community mobilization and leadership, so that all women and gender non-conforming people have voice, power and agency in all aspects of economic, social and political life. Previously, she led OSF’s LGBTQI work in East Asia as a program officer, supporting groups working to advance human rights and equality for LGBTQI people across the region.

“When we relaunched our search process in February 2021, we sought a fierce feminist, intersectional and radical leader. Joy embodies all of these qualities and more,” said the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. “She brings to Astraea an uncompromising commitment to advancing gender, racial, economic, and environmental justice and an expansive vision rooted in the politics of global solidarity. We are so proud and excited that she will be stewarding the Astraea team and leading the organization through its next chapter.”

Working Together

Ms. Chia said she was thrilled to be at Astraea’s helm at this time in the organization’s evolution, and to work with the Astraea community to chart the next part of the non-profit’s journey. “I’m very excited to learn deeply about Astraea as an organization—and the people that make up the community that stands with us,” she said. “I’m excited for the difficult but productive work of putting our values and principles into practice—in both how we as Astraea work with and fund our community partners, but also how we engage with each other as human beings and advocates. What does it really mean to work at the intersections of gender, sexuality, disability, class, race and other aspects of our complex lives? How can we channel resources in ways that are context-appropriate, efficient, and accountable?”

“I look forward to exploring these questions in the fellowship of others who share my values and aspirations, both within Astraea and also with other public and private foundations,” Ms. Chia said. “I often call myself a donor organizer — I’ll like to see us organizing other funders to increase resources to LGBTQI organizations, to align resources in collaborative ways that reflect feminist values, and to broaden support for organizations in fields that are under-resourced and less visible.”

Established in 1977, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is one of the first women’s funds in the world and the only solely dedicated to LBTQI rights globally. As a LBTQI women’s fund, Astraea uniquely fuels groups at the nexus of feminist and LBTQI movements. Since its inception, the non-profit has granted over $49 million via more than 5,000 grants to over 2,000 grantee partners in 120 countries and nearly all 50 states in the U.S.  Astraea’s mission is advanced by more than 30 staff in the U.S. and around the world. The organization has a budget of $14 million and a 13-person board of directors.

Veteran Search Consultants

McCormack+Kristel was started in 1993 as McCormack & Associates with the mission of recruiting senior leadership for the many research, advocacy and human services organizations growing exponentially in response to AIDS pandemic. Diversity recruiting has long been on the firm’s agenda.

With the advent of effective treatments for HIV/AIDS, and the diminishing needs of many of these organizations, the firm broadened its client base into areas like social justice; healthcare; women’s issues; higher education; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender; civil rights; and more.

Four years ago, founding partner Joseph A. McCormack formed a new business partnership with Michelle Kristel, a former non-profit executive and an associate with the firm since 2013. The firm has offices in New York City and Palm Springs, CA. McCormack+Kristel clients have included the ACLU, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, TransForm, Planned Parenthood, SAGE and the Tides Foundation, among others.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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