Groundswell is made up of a volunteer board of 12 trustees who make the decisions for the fund. Trustees sit for a two-year term and can serve consecutive terms. Coming from a variety of different social justice organizing backgrounds, trustees do the work of running the fund.


Deborah Cowen (she/her/they/them) is an activist, author, and scholar. Deeply committed to social transformation and justice struggles, Deb 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 working in the areas of public interest, Indigenous rights, labour, and human rights law.

vibhor garg (he/him) 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.

Cierra Garraway (she/her/they/them) is a birthworker with roots in youth actions for abolition. She has experience in collective organizing and most recently in fund design for care workers. At the moment, she does birthwork as a community doula and abortion care nurse.

Brianna Greaves (she/her/they/them) is a queer white settler, facilitator, and grassroots community organizer with a passion for building strong, unbreakable teams working together for social change. A founding member of SURJ-TO (Showing Up for Racial Justice-Toronto), Brianna shared her enthusiasm for moving money (aka fundraising) and supporting fellow white settlers to take meaningful action in BIPOC-led movements for racial justice. Following a decade of frontline social service work with people experiencing poverty and food insecurity, Brianna currently works under the organizational change consultant Tina Lopes and as contract faculty at George Brown College in Toronto.

Stefanie Gude (she/her) has deep roots in anti-poverty and migrant justice organizing, and striving to support the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty. She has worked as a legal assistant, waitress, administrator, television producer, and editor, among other things. Based in Toronto for over a decade, she now lives in southern France.

Mostafa Henaway (he/him) is a long-time community organizer, activist, radio producer, and writer. He has been a community organizer with the Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) in Montreal since 2007, organizing with textile and warehouse workers, and other precarious immigrants and migrants for both migrant and labour justice. He has also been active in Palestine solidarity campaigns for many years. Before moving to Montreal, Mostafa was active in anti-poverty, anti-war, and Indigenous sovereignty organizing. Mostafa was a radio producer in Toronto and still is in Montreal. He is also doing a PhD on logistics and warehouse workers.

Yafa Jarrar (she/her) is a Palestinian-Canadian Human Rights lawyer. Yafa was born in Jerusalem and raised in Ramallah, Palestine. She moved to Canada in 2003 to attend Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, in the traditional territory of the Lekwungen/Songhees peoples. Deeply committed to cross-border solidarity and influenced by her own lived-experiences, Yafa has been involved in social justice movements and international solidarity movements. Over the years, she has witnessed the violent arrests of her parents, both of whom were political prisoners in Israeli prisons for many years. Yafa’s mother, Khalida Jarrar, an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and is currently a political prisoner in Damon Israeli prison. Yafa resides in Ottawa, the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People.

Gerri Nakirigya Lutaaya (she/her) belongs to the Ngonge clan within the Buganda kingdom. In pursuit of truth and justice, Gerri maintains a spirited zest and commitment to young people because of their potential to spark action, impact and change on society’s most pressing issues. With 8+ years of professional experience, Gerri has gained an in-depth understanding of the nonprofit sector working for internationally recognized charities including Invisible Children, United Nations Association in Canada and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Gerri has completed a B.A. Hons. in Global Development Studies at Queen’s University and an M.A. of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) from Carleton University. To complement her academic accomplishments, Gerri is grounded in Nelson Mandela’s challenge that “a degree means nothing unless you go out into the community to prove yourself” and most recently recognized as a 2019 Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award Nominee for her outstanding volunteer work. Born in Halifax, raised in Ottawa, and currently residing in Toronto, Gerri is a daughter, sister, singer, and baker working on her laugh lines.

Kimalee Phillip (she/her) 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.

Anna Willats (she/her/they/them) 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!