Groundswell is made up of a volunteer board of 13 trustees who make the decisions for the fund. Board members sit for a two year term and can serve two consecutive terms.  Board members come from a variety of different social justice organizing backgrounds and do the work of running the fund.

Board members

Deborah Cowen is an activist, author, and scholar. Deeply committed to social transformation and justice struggles, Deborah has been engaged in research and organizing around the suburbanization of poverty, issues of race and space, the politics of securitization, and queer and labour issues.

Jackie Esmonde has been involved in social justice movements since the global justice movement. She is a lawyer in the legal clinic system, and a member of the Prison Justice Committee of the Law Union of Ontario.

vibhor garg grew up in the Robinson-Huron Treaty in Sudbury, Ontario and currently resides in Toronto. vibhor has been actively employed in the non-profit sector for nearly 20 years, working directly with youth programs focusing on intercultural learning. For the past decade, he has held executive director and other senior management roles in organizations working with youth across Canada. vibhor strives to work through systems to ensure youth from equity-seeking communities are fully included in both programming and key decision-making roles. Much of his past and current work focuses on ensuring young people from Indigenous communities and communities of colour have space to lead and access to resources to engage in social justice movements.

Stefanie Gude learns most of what she knows through being involved in anti-poverty and migrant justice organizing, and in support of the struggle for indigenous sovereignty. She has worked as a legal assistant, waitress, administrator, and television producer, among other things. Based in Toronto for the past decade or so, she recently moved to southern France.

Elene Lam (LLB, LLM, BSW, MSW) is a founder and director of Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) and Migrant Sex Workers Support Project. She has been involved in sex work, migrant, gender, labour and migrant movements for more than 15 years. She is a trainer on gender equality, sexuality, community organizing, and human rights. She teaches at university, and is also a mediator and sex therapist.

Sean Lee-Popham has been involved in movements to create positive change for most of his adult life.  Growing up going to ban the bomb and free Nelson Mandela demo’s morphed into joining Anti Racist Action in high school, student politics during the early years of Harris’ rule in Ontario and anti-poverty and anti-globalization work.  He worked with a variety of groups on prisoner’s rights and abolition issues in the Toronto area.  For the past 5 years he has worked as a Registered Nurse in rural Ontario, enjoying being outside, growing food, and getting involved in local harm reduction organizing.

Abeer Majeed is a cis woman and first generation immigrant settler from South Asia, currently living on the territories of the Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Mississauga of the New Credit, Turtle Island. She has been involved in community-based grassroots organizing in support of migrant justice, anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, intersectional feminist, and Indigenous sovereignty movements for 20 years. She works as a primary care physician in community health centres in Toronto.

Serena Nadir grew up in Calgary, Alberta. She moved to Toronto in her late teens to go to the University of Toronto and became very involved in activism against poverty and inequality. She now works as a teacher and believes that there must be a way to create a more fair and just society than the one we have.

Kimalee Phillip is an educator, organizer, consultant, and writer deeply committed to anti-colonial, anti-racist and Black feminist ways of organizing, living, and loving. She has conducted qualitative and participatory research, and created and facilitated various workshops, curricula, and learning spaces across Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, and Grenada. She is currently a forum program associate with the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and a senior equality officer (anti-racism) at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) National.

Karine Silverwoman is a social worker, personal trainer, and therapist. She currently teaches at Ryerson’s School of Social Work. She has worked as a street outreach worker, crisis therapist, and queer and trans youth facilitator. She is also a mom and wants to live in a more just and beautiful world.

Hamid Sodeifi has been involved in a number of anti-racist, anti-imperialist and international solidarity movements, as well as socialist organizing, for the last 35 years. He is a radical economist, working and teaching in the Toronto area.

Sarah Vance has been active in a variety of social justice initiatives since Ontario’s “Harris Years”. Over the years, she has been a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and an activist on campaigns concerning immigrant rights, First Nations issues, women’s rights, and access to affordable daycare.  Sarah is a high school social sciences teacher in Toronto.

Anna Willats has been a Toronto-based social justice activist, organizer and educator for over 30 years. As a professor and project coordinator at George Brown College she helps to prepare women and trans people for employment in a variety of sectors.  She has worked on a wide variety of community development and engagement initiatives, most recently on skills and leadership development with members/participants, staff and management at Toronto area drop-ins. Anna has extensive experience in governance and management of non-profit groups, campaigns and funds.  She is committed to working collectively in a variety of ways for meaningful and progressive socio-economic and political change from the ground up!