Director of Partnership & Capacity Building, Deaconess Foundation
As Director of Partnership & Capacity Building, Kiesha stewards a program of trust-based philanthropy with the Deaconess Foundation to build the power to advance its public policy agenda for well-being across the region. She leads the development of grant making strategy as well as curates capacity building support and relationship management with funded and prospective partners.
Throughout her career, she has developed strategies grounded in principles of social justice philanthropy that are nimble, responsive, and reflective of the integrated and complex nature of social change. Prior to joining the Foundation, she led a team responsible for an innovative capacity building model aimed to foster organizational sustainability and improve the quality of music engagement programs for black and brown youth in Memphis. Kiesha’s broad based experience has led to efforts to increase behavioral health access through the investment of $40 million annually on behalf of St. Louis County children, youth and their families, with a focus on school-based approaches and early childhood interventions. Additionally, she led immediate youth centered mental health response efforts in the wake of the 2014 unrest in Ferguson and throughout her tenure brokered expanded access to early childhood screenings and early identification interventions for underserved communities throughout St. Louis County.
Prior to her work in St. Louis County, Kiesha worked in multiple philanthropic institutions managing portfolios that included behavioral health, early childhood and community-based programs. She has led trainings/presentations on philanthropic redlining, arts and social justice grantmaking practices and authored feature articles that advocate for the dismantling of inequitable philanthropic funding practices.
Kiesha’s passion for creating equitable opportunities for communities of color was bolstered by past membership on the boards of Star Academy Charter School and in her service as the first African American Board Chair for Momentum Nonprofit Partners. Kiesha currently serves as Chair of the board for Places for People. In 2015, she was named a member of the 10th ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program class. Kiesha holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Alabama A&M University and a Masters of Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Kiesha and her fiancée reside in North St. Louis City.