About Us

An Update from Third Wave’s Board and Staff

June 2, 2011

We are pleased to share that Mia Herndon, our Executive Director, will spend the summer on sabbatical. For ten years Mia has given her loving spirit, visionary leadership and strategic support to our staff, grantees and the broader Third Wave community. We are grateful that we can honor her service with this gift of time to reflect and rejuvenate. Under Mia’s leadership, Third Wave has focused its grantmaking, technical assistance and thought leadership to provide strategic support for a growing number of youth-led organizations at the leading edge of social transformation. As a staff and Board, we are excited about the work ahead and will use the space of the sabbatical to prepare for the implementation of our strategic plan over the next three years – maximizing the skills, talents and innovations of the organization’s leaders and partners at all levels. Tara Ellison will be leading the organization in the role of Acting Executive Director until Mia's return in the fall. As Third Wave’s Deputy Director, Tara has demonstrated a deep commitment to the Third Wave mission and brilliance as a manager. She will guide the strategic operations of the organization with the support of Alex DelValle, Program Director, and McKensey Smith, External Relations Manager, and she will harness the expertise of the rest of the organization's talented staff. Our Board has confidence in this team and is committed to providing them with any support they may need to ensure that this process deepens our impact, strengthens our capacity as leaders, and allows us to better serve the movement that we have all built together. We think this is an effective and important model of how organizations can and must support and nurture social justice leaders in order to ensure that they can best create and serve. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mia, Kai Gurley, Third Wave Board Chair, or any of the members of the Board. During the sabbatical, please take the opportunity to reach out to the Third Wave team to offer your support and get to know them. We are excited to continue to learn from our community and to work with you to advance our work. Thank you again for being a part of this community with us and for making the work of Third Wave Foundation possible. Warmly, Third Wave Foundation Board and Staff


Yasmin Ahmed dom brassey Adrienne Maree Brown Angélica Cházaro Andrea Flynn Tierney Gleason Kai Gurley Darshan Khalsa Carter Klenk Amoretta Morris Liza Siegler Mia Kim Sullivan Alexandra Teixeira


Mia D. Herndon, Executive Director mia@thirdwavefoundation.org Tara Ellison, Deputy Director tara@thirdwavefoundation.org Alexandra DelValle, Program Director alex@thirdwavefoundation.org McKensey Smith, External Relations Manager mckensey@thirdwavefoundation.org Melissa Gira Grant, Senior Communications Officer melissa@thirdwavefoundation.org Rye Young, Program Associate rye@thirdwavefoundation.org Agatha Patterson, External Relations Associate agatha@thirdwavefoundation.org Christine Davitt, Administrative Assistant christine@thirdwavefoundation.org

Posted in: About Us

Rosalba Messina named Interim Executive Director

November 16, 2012

New York, NY Rosalba The Board of the Third Wave Foundation is pleased to announce that Rosalba Messina has been named Interim Executive Director, effective September 1, 2012. Messina is Principal and Founder of Messina Consulting Group, LLC, a management consulting firm that assists national and international non-profit organizations in fulfilling their mission by improving human and organizational capacity. Messina’s firm specializes in change management and human capital development, and their services include comprehensive organizational assessments, leadership transitions, and board and staff development.  Messina’s clients have included social service, advocacy and philanthropic organizations such as The Center for Constitutional Rights, The Funding Exchange, and Women In Need.  In her roles as CEO, COO and consultant, Messina has successfully addressed the needs of organizations going through an executive transition. “As Third Wave prepares for an important transition, we are delighted to have Rosalba Messina join us as interim Executive Director.  Messina brings more than 25 years of experience as an effective transformational leader, manager and coach to the new position.  She is Principal and Founder of Messina Consulting Group – a management consulting firm that provides organizational assessments, leadership transitions, and board and staff development. Messina has extensive experience developing working partnerships among board, staff, community members, NGOs, government agencies and donors worldwide and successfully addressing the needs of organizations going through an executive transition. Her skills and experience will undoubtedly help us to move forward seamlessly,” said Mia Kim Sullivan, the co-chair of Third Wave’s board of directors. Before launching her own consulting firm, Messina held executive-level positions for numerous nonprofit organizations and corporations. Her leadership in the LGBT community has been instrumental in facilitating educational programs on breast cancer and HIV/AIDS and securing funding for those programs. Professionally and personally, she has made a life-long commitment to advance reproductive justice and lesbian, gay and transgender rights. “Third Wave is an important organization with a rich history of supporting young feminist activists and movement building. I’m absolutely honored to provide my skills, knowledge, and experience during this time of change,” Messina said. Ms. Messina will replace Mia Herndon, who led Third Wave's successful programmatic and financial growth from 2009 until August 2012. Third Wave Foundation is a feminist, activist foundation that works nationally to support the vision and voices of young women, transgender and gender nonconforming youth ages 15 to 30. Third Wave’s purpose is to support and strengthen these young activists and their allies who work for gender, racial, social, and economic justice. For more information please contact: Terry Ferreira 212-228-8311

Posted in: About Us, Blog

Third Wave Foundation’s Executive Director Mia Herndon Steps Down

June 18, 2012

Mia Hernton, Executive Director, Third Wave FoundationAfter more than a decade of extraordinary leadership, commitment, and service, Mia Herndon will step down as the Third Wave Foundation’s Executive Director at the end of the summer. Under Mia’s direction, Third Wave has driven the philanthropic community in funding reproductive justice and work led by youth of color as a powerful tool for social change. She has overseen the creation of the Reproductive Health and Justice Initiative, ushered in a technical assistance and movement building program for grant partners, launched a national network of youth-led and -focused groups and, most recently, shepherded a new initiative to advance a gender justice framework within philanthropy and social movements. From its founding 15 years ago, Third Wave today remains the only national feminist fund dedicated to supporting the social justice work of young women and transgender youth. Since 1996, more than 180 grantee partner organizations and individuals have successfully changed critical policies at local and state levels, shifting the terms of national debates on issues like reproductive rights, education, and health. In Mia’s four years as Executive Director, Third Wave supported 35 organizations through technical assistance, national convenings, and more than $1.4 million in grants; more than doubling funding for the field, despite the economic crisis and lasting recession. “We will miss Mia’s incredible vision, grace and tremendous generosity as a leader,” said Mia Kim Sullivan, board co-chair. “As we celebrate our 15th anniversary, we honor the sustained impact of groups Mia has nurtured over a decade at Third Wave, first as Outreach Coordinator, Program Officer and Director, and then as the Foundation’s Executive Director.” For many of these groups, Third Wave was the first and lead funder whose support opened critical paths to new philanthropic resources. “Working with Mia was a definitive moment for me and so many of us in this movement,” said Paris Hatcher, Executive Director of SPARK Reproductive Justice Now. “She represents what reproductive justice means - the politics and the heart, and it is a fierce heart. She took risks on our work, leadership, and bringing us together. She is simply golden.” Mia’s leadership in the field has extended the reach of Third Wave. She served on numerous boards, including: Women’s Funding Network; Funders Network for Population, Reproductive Health and Rights; and Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She shared the importance of supporting feminist youth work in low-income communities and communities of color through trainings and national conferences, including Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, National Council for Research on Women and the Women Donors Network, and as an Affiliate Scholar and Practitioner of the Women of Color Policy Network. Mia is a Progressive Women’s Voices fellow and She Source expert, and has been featured on television ranging from Grit TV, CNN, CSPAN, and an upcoming spot on “MAKERS: Women Who Make America.” In 2011, Mia was named a “Power Woman of the Year” by NY Moves Magazine. This executive director transition has been planned for more than two years. In the year ahead, the Foundation’s board will embark on an ambitious campaign to secure continued support for effective youth-led, multi-issue and multi-strategy work. “The transformative struggle for justice, equity and sustained joy in our world requires the innovation and leadership of Third Wave grant partners,” Mia said. “The threats posed by the economic downturn, the Right and our movements’ own challenges in taking the lead from the most impacted and standing up for each other’s dignity is too great to defeat without their voice.” The disproportionate toll levied on our communities by recent economic hardship comes at a time when Third Wave, like other publicly supported foundations across the country, is facing one of the most challenging fundraising environments of the past 40 years. Over the past year the board made the prudent decision to streamline staff and programming, reducing yet maintaining financial reserves. Despite these challenges, Third Wave will pursue its grantmaking and continue to champion young people’s leadership and organizing as critical sites for innovation, building power, and working across divisions to build a road map to freedom. Over the next several months, the Foundation’s board will partner with current staff, founders, and community stakeholders to ensure programmatic activities are maintained during the transition, and to plan for the long-term stability and sustainability of Third Wave. An interim director will be engaged to work with staff while the Board conducts a national search for a new Executive Director.

Posted in: About Us, Blog

Three Open Positions at Third Wave!

January 13, 2011

It's exciting times here at Third Wave Foundation, where we've got big changes happening and are seeking three fabulous activist-philanthropists to join our crew! As Third Wave enters the milestone of it's 15th year, we're looking for a few more movers and shakers who can help us empower young women, trans and gender non-conforming activists to create change in their own environments. (Edited, Feb 8 2011: thank you all for your interest. We are no longer accepting applications for these positions.) We promise, you'll get to meet some of the smartest, savviest and world-changing-est youth-led activist projects out there. We are looking for: External Relations Manager Third Wave Foundation is seeking a dynamic individual to help manage and grow our external relations (fundraising and communications) program. A new position in the organization, the External Relations Manager will be responsible for diversifying, expanding and managing relationships with the community of people and institutions giving to the foundation. External Relations Associate Working under the supervision of the External Relations Manager and closely with the Executive Director, the External Relations Associate is responsible for executing administrative work and the daily operations of Third Wave’s development and communications department, including major donor relationship support, event planning, and scheduling. Administrative Assistant Working under the supervision of the Deputy Director, the Administrative Assistant is responsible for supporting the day to day operations of the Third Wave Foundation.

Posted in: About Us, Blog, Philanthropy