Vanessa Daniel

HEFN Position: 
Steering Committee Member

Vanessa Daniel is Executive Director of the Groundswell Fund.  She currently serves as co-chair of the Health & Environmental Funders Network steering committee.

Vanessa has 18 years of experience working in social justice movements as a union and community organizer, researcher, freelance journalist, and social justice grantmaker. Under her leadership, Groundswell Fund has mobilized more than $10 million in new resources to women of color led grassroots organizing efforts for reproductive justice, with nearly half of its grantees led by young people under the age of 30, and one quarter working at the intersection of reproductive and environmental justice.

Prior to this, Vanessa supported LGBT rights and economic and environmental justice grantmaking at Tides Foundation; organized homecare workers with SEIU; helped win a landmark living wage law with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE); and conducted research to support the organizing efforts of welfare mothers with the Applied Research Center. Vanessa is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights, and she currently serves on the Board of EBASE as well as on the steering committees of the Health and Environmental Funders Network and Bay Area Justice Funders Network. Vanessa has a B.A. in American Ethnic Studies from Smith College and is a graduate of the Center for Third World Organizing’s Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program.

My Grantmaking Focus Is On: 

Reproductive justice.

What Drew Me Into HEFN Leadership: 

A growing number of women of color-led reproductive justice organizations that Groundswell funds are working at the intersection of reproductive and environmental health and justice. HEFN is a place where Groundswell staff can deepen our learning and practice around environmental health and justice grantmaking, and share our knowledge about the growing role of women of color in this field.

I See the HEFN Community Making a Difference: 

Concerns about environmental health are on the rise in the U.S., and HEFN is at the cutting edge of learning and innovation for grantmakers working to protect the health of communities. HEFN is forward thinking in highlighting the importance of grassroots, community-based strategies, among other important approaches, along with the needs and leadership of those who suffer the greatest health impacts from environmental pollution: women and people of color.

When I'm Not at Work You Might Find Me: 

Dancing and singing with my two year old daughter.

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