All Ears is stepping back this week from our COVID-19 focus to turn our attention to the national anguish resulting from the murder of George Floyd by police on May 25th. At the forefront of Abby’s mind is sharing her platform with movement leaders, both as an opportunity to listen and learn. This week Abby talks to Rajasvini Bhansali, the Executive Director of Solidaire Network (a community of donors mobilizing resources to social justice movements), about why it’s hard to fund social movements, how white people need to sit with their own discomfort when confronting their own racism, and why profound personal transformation is impossible to do alone.
Executive Director of the Solidaire Network
Rajasvini Bhansali is the Executive Director of the Solidaire Network. In a wide-ranging international career devoted to social, ecological, and economic justice, she previously served as Executive Director Thousand Currents for 9 years where she was credited with helping launch a collaborative climate justice fund, an innovative impact investment fund and grow the organization’s award winning grantmaking and partnership practices with social movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has led a national social enterprise focused on youth development; managed a publictelecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues in Texas; and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant for large public sector entities. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years, an experience she credits as motivating her to work to transform U.S. based philanthropy.
Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master’s in Public Affairs with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor′s in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley . In 2015, Vini was honored with a Leaders in Action award by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) , and she was a Social Entrepreneurship (SEERS) fellow at Stanford University in 2016.