Meet our members!  AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility. Check back each month and meet your peers!   

1: What is the mission of your organization and how is advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility incorporated into the work?

As a funder, we challenge ourselves to consider this fundamental question: “What actions will be disruptive to deeply entrenched, institutionalized systems of racism and poverty so that true transformation toward antiracism and full inclusion will occur in our schools, communities, and society to allow equity in education to become a reality?”

We know that education and resources are highly correlated; students who graduate from well-resourced schools tend to achieve higher levels of educational and wealth. We also know that those most impacted by this problem are often excluded from the rooms that are “developing solutions”. Thus, we work with those most affected to center the experiences and wisdom of communities of color and those living in or near poverty as indispensable to designing the solutions needed. Advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility is naturally incorporated into our work as a fundamental component to helping build community power and wealth needed to disrupt inequity.


2: How does your organization bridge the racial wealth gap?

Our mission, vision, policies, strategies, etc. all focus on working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty. It is embedded into the fabric of our organization. All of our grantmaking, investing and capacity building activities are evaluated and conducted through this equity lens.


3: Where are we lacking investments as a sector that will result in greater economic equity, and how can we address the gap?

As a sector, Endowed Foundations particularly, are lacking in using all of its assets to further its mission. I believe that my work is important because the IRS requires that foundations only spend 5% of their endowed assets to further their charitable purpose. This means that probably the majority of foundation assets are invested in companies that are not mission aligned and conflict with their programmatic work and grantmaking activities. Our Trustees made the pledge to align 100% of its endowment to its mission to ensure that all of its capital is being used to further its mission, and that is where my role stems from, implementing an impact investment strategy across its endowment.


4: Share a question you would like to raise to your AFN community.

Is your organization giving 100% effort also know as using 100% of its asset to achieve its mission? If no, why not?


5: What have been some of the biggest benefits of being part of the Asset Funders Network?

The biggest benefit has been the opportunity to network and connect with other Connecticut funders.


6: What is the last book you read?

Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva.

About Sheena Strawter-Anthony, Director of Impact Investment Strategy

My role as the Director of Impact Investment Strategy is to ensure that the Memorial Fund’s endowment assets align with its mission and financial objectives. In simple words, my work entails assessing an investment’s impact on racism and poverty. When evaluating investments, I assess how and if the managers and/or entrepreneurs are developing solutions for, allocating money to, and/or advocating for BIPOC and low-income communities, in addition to the financial aspect.