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Michele Kumi Baer

Philanthropy Project Director

Race Forward

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Michele is an advocate for social justice working in philanthropy and the larger nonprofit sector. She recently joined the Race Forward team as the new Philanthropy Project Director, a role that has her working nationally with foundations, donor collaboratives, and affinity groups to strengthen philanthropy’s ability to advance racial equity, both within individual institutions and throughout the sector.

As The New York Community Trust's Program Associate for Thriving Communities, she organized grantmaking and convening activities in the arts, community development, and the environment. In this role, she devoted herself to advancing racial equity at the foundation and in the larger sector through funder collaboratives and affinity groups.

Michele has worked in programming, advocacy, research, capacity building, and communications roles at Columbia University, Dance/NYC, the Global Fund for Women, and the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Michele is a trained dancer in African disaporic traditions from Brazil, Haiti, and West Africa (Guinea and Mali). Her dance practice is core to her social justice work.

Michele identifies as "hapa" (of mixed Asian descent) and is a proud Yonsei (fourth generation Japanese American).

Michele has a Bachelors from Brown University and a Masters from Columbia University.

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