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MISSION

To nurture the systemic shifting of power to constituencies and leaders who support an inclusive, educated and democratic society.

About Us

Maria and Greg Jobin-Leeds founded the Partnership for Democracy and Education in 2006. With expertise in education and social justice, Maria and Greg have dedicated their careers to launching and nurturing successful high-impact social change organizations.

We are instigators and incubators of webs of change. We connect leading thinkers and change makers to passionate philanthropists and influential political leaders who share a common vision: a vibrant, inclusive society where every person participates in and steers the decisions that affect their lives.

Team

Maria Jobin-Leeds

Greg Jobin-Leeds

Margo Braithwaite

Remona Davis

Rose Gschwendtner

Yooree Losordo

Diana Hwang

Wilnelia Rivera

 


Maria Jobin-Leeds
Managing Partner

Maria Jobin-Leeds likes to think at the systems level. Using democracy as a tool, founding Access Strategies Fund became an opportunity to fund grassroots civic organizations to wield more power. Collaboratively, over the last 15 years Access has helped develop many leaders, organizations and improved public policies to benefit low income communities, African Americans, Latinos, Immigrants and Women. We help community focused leaders, especially women leaders, to actively engage their constituents to think critically about the policies we need, to advocate effectively and to either help or hold their representatives accountable, or encourage one of their own to run for public office. Maria and staff incubated the Women's Pipeline for Change which addresses the barriers to democracy for low-income grassroots women of color with an eye toward remaking the system and developing more women to take public leadership.

At Access Strategies, our current understanding of the link between economic power and democratic power moves us towards a participatory understanding of the Solidarity Economy and how it could support democracy. We are leveraging our endowment as an investment tool to support the same mission, by investing in the same communities in which we make grants.

The Schott Foundation for Public Education supports the movement for high quality public education in an era when there is pressure to dismantle the largest civil rights project in the country: our free system of excellent public education. Maria's founding direction keeps the work of bringing students, parents, teachers and policy makers focused and effective at changing the public frame from individual student achievement to opportunity for all, including girls, and students of color.

The Partnership for Democracy and Education provides the research on viable, community oriented candidates for public office that will lead us towards a just, egalitarian society. As an individual she fundraises for the most promising and provides access to the issues, leaders and constituencies they might need to serve. She has made good use of Statehouse and Washington visits, with community activists and donors to remind elected about the women and low-income communities that need representation in out state and federal budget.

Currently her focus is shaping the endowments on which she advises into powerful forces that create the solidarity economy, where foundation assets are used to create wealth in the same low-income communities where our grant money fosters democratic power and excellent public education. You can be assured that this 'impact investing' is guided by and benefits progressive women of color and community.

She has received numerous community awards, and provides board leadership for the Proteus Action League, Access Strategies, Schott Fund, Schott Foundation. She supports the Investment Committee for each of these organizations.

Her youth in Puerto Rico and Sudan, family orientation of feminism and civil rights, along with her early career in the first decade of the HIV epidemic provide rich learning opportunities which fuel her inclusive strategy. She and her husband sent their kids to bilingual public schools in Cambridge, and travel with them to understand other worldviews. She earned her BA from Colby College and Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Greg Jobin-Leeds
Managing Partner

Greg Jobin-Leeds is the author of When We Fight, We Win! twenty-first century social movements and activists that are transforming our world. Greg is the Chair of the Board, Co-Founder and first President of the award winning Schott Foundation for Public Education. Under Greg's leadership, Schott nurtured the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) in 1993 and later helped found the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE). Through litigation, legislation, media and grassroots organizing, both organizations' efforts led to winning $7.4 billion for high-need New York schools to improve teacher effectiveness, early education opportunities and desperately needed resources. Schott won the Council of Foundation's 2007 Critical Impact Award for this victory.

In 2006, Schott began publishing the report, “The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males” which has created a groundswell of support for reforming public education. In 2008, Schott launched the Opportunity to Learn Campaign to build a national movement to close the opportunity gap in public education. Schott helped organize grassroots and religious groups across the country around the opportunity to learn framework.

He has made a career out of launching and nurturing successful, high-impact social change organizations. His talent for recruiting effective leaders and encouraging their efforts to break new ground has led to milestone victories for the nation’s historically underserved children and most under-represented families.

Greg has helped launch:

  • The Partnership for Democracy and Education whose mission is to nurture the systemic shifting of political power to constituencies and leaders who support an inclusive, educated society.

  • Access Strategies Fund, which has played a leading role in closing the racial gap in voter turnout in targeted communities and overturning racially unjust gerrymandered districts which has led to progressive leaders of color being elected.

  • The 501(c) (4) Education Voters of America that creates the political will to transform the nation’s public education system by holding public officials accountable for serving the needs of all children.

  • The Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), a leading high school redesign organization, with tremendous student outcomes.

  • The Alliance for Excellent Education — now a highly effective national advocate for public high school policy.

  • The CMP Media Foundation, and served on the corporate board of CMP Media.

Greg currently serves on committees of six investment portfolios with particular interest in mission related investing. In 2007, Greg was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve on the Massachusetts’ Readiness Project Leadership Council, specifically as a member of the Long-term Funding subcommittee.

Early in his career, he worked as a high school English teacher in rural Maine, then became head of the English Department of a high school in Columbia, South America. Later he trained adult literacy teachers at Roxbury Community College and then became a community organizer. Mr. Jobin-Leeds has a master's degree from Teacher's College, Columbia University, and thirty years of education, public policy, media, community organizing and leadership experience.

As the son of immigrants who escaped Nazi persecution, Greg lives the commitment of fighting for fairness and social justice. He is driven by the fundamental belief that excellence is the result of inclusion not exclusion. He often speaks and writes on the topics of Strategic Philanthropy, Organizational Development and Transformational Movement Building.

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Remona Davis
Manager of Operations

Remona Davis joined the Partnership for Democracy and Education, LLC, in 2007 as the Executive Assistant, and was later promoted to Operations & Special Projects Coordinator. She manages the administrative operations for the LLC. She brings a wealth of skills and experience from the field of human services and organizational management. Her experience and background consists of Human Services, Resident Organizing, Board Development, Criminal Justice, and Residential Property Management.

She has a passion for empowering people. A former member of the Boston Housing Authorities Resident Advisory Board she served 5 years as a board member and 3 years as a Co-Chair. In July of 2005 she initiated and successfully partnered with 8 organizations to hold the first Resident Leadership Summit for public housing residents in Boston. She continues to serve on the Community Committee sub-committee of Partners for Health and Housing Prevention Research Center. In 2008 Remona was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination Advisory Board.

Remona has a M.S. in Organizational Management and a B.S. in Human Services with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Springfield College. She studied at Curry College for certification in Residential Property Management. When she is not involved in community service or playing Bingo, she enjoys spending time with her granddaughters Monet and Kennedi.

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Yooree Losordo
Assistant

Yooree Losordo (she/hers) is an aide to Greg Jobin-Leeds and the producer of When We Fight, We Win!: The Podcast. Prior to joining the Partnership family, she was the owner of On the Dot Books, which was one of two Asian-owned general interest bookstores inthe US. She was an inaugural Woman on Main Fellow at Babson College WIN Lab, and remains a passionate advocate for women entrepreneurs. She has nearly 20 years of experience in project management, marketing and business development.

She live in Roxbury with her children in a limited equity housing cooperative she founded. She is on the board of Ashmont Nursery School, a parent cooperative nursery school in Dorchester; and is on the leadership team of the Boston chapter of Boomerane Bags, a worldwide grassroots effort to combat plastic waste.

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Diana Hwang
Consultant

Diana Hwang is the Founder and Executive Director of the Asian-American Women's Political Initiative (AAWPI), the country's only political leadership organization for Asian-American women. Through coalition-building, advocacy and first-of-its-kind programming, AAWPI works to ensure that Asian-American women have a voice in their government, and trains and mentors the next-generation of low-income and immigrant women leaders.

Diana began her career in politics at the State House as the Executive Director of the Caucus of Women Legislators and as the Legislative Aide to late State Representative Debby Blumer (D-Framingham). She then served as Chief of Staff at the Boston City Council.

Diana is a Founding Commissioner on the Mayor's Women's Commission for the City of Boston. She also serves on the Boards of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy (CWPPP) at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Salesian Boys and Girls Club of East Boston, and served as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Boston Women's Fund. Diana was profiled as "one of Boston's most powerful thought leaders" in Boston Magazine for her work and has spoken at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. and at a number of colleges, including Dartmouth College, Wellesley College, Northeastern University and Salem State University where she gave the convocation address.

Diana is a former candidate for state senate in a district that includes Boston, Cambridge, Winthrop and Revere. Her candidacy was endorsed by the Boston Herald, which said she "stands out as smart, experienced in the ways of Beacon Hill, politically savvy enough to pick and choose her battles and smart enough to exercise an independence of thought and of priorities." Diana won the city of Boston and raised the most money in a race that included a sitting state representative and former mayor.

Diana is originally from Houston, Texas and graduated from Dartmouth College and Columbia Business School.

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Wilnelia Rivera
Consultant

Wilnelia Rivera is the Founder and Principal of Rivera Consulting. From leading statewide policy campaigns for the reform of the criminal record system to integrated voter engagement and candidate campaigns, Wilnelia Rivera, Founder of Rivera Consulting, Inc., leads a movement building firm that inspires and enables social change while operationalizing solutions for the 21st century. Wilnelia is a political strategist, urban planner, and project management professional. Her journey began in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where her childhood was defined by the duality of injustice and persistent hope — planting her lifetime commitment to social change. This commitment took her first to the neighborhoods of Chicago and Detroit as a union organizer and then back home with Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts (N2N-MA).

At N2N-MA, she took a deep dive in the grassroots and progressive political movement of the Commonwealth, where she represented over 18,000 members. Together they elected dozens of candidates to political office, recruited 8,000 new members, and ushered a new era of criminal justice reform with the Commonwealth CORI Coalition. During this time, she also deepened her professional experience, through strategic partnerships and learning journeys that brought her to Los Angeles, Oakland, New Mexico, Miami, and New York City (Brooklyn and Bronx), Mondragon, and Venezuela. The course of Wilnelia's career shifted when she joined Governor Deval Patrick's senior staff as the Director of External Affairs, ushering a profound phase of public service in state government. She then established a cross-sector early college consortium at Madison Park Vocational High School and now is the Founder and Principal of Rivera, Consulting, Inc.

Wilnelia's track record of success thrives at the intersection of cross-sector collaboration, engagement, and research. By focusing on the nexus of people, planning, and politics, Wilnelia has come to understand that the most important economic and social issues from race, class, the environment, education, transportation to healthcare are all interconnected.Her professional career and academic work centers on social justice, collective prosperity, and sustainability, key ingredients to producing successful results for clients but most important, the community at large. She has created change from the street level to the ivory tower in the political and public policy making process.

Wilnelia holds a B.A. in International Relations, B.A. in Women's Studies and an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning from Tufts University. She is the past recipient of the Mel King Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute for Technology's CoLab, focusing on public policy research related to urban politics, economic democracy, community planning, and sustainable community economic development.

Email: wilnelia@riveraconsult.com

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