Vanessa Daniel is the founder and Executive Director of Groundswell Fund, the largest funder of the U.S. reproductive justice movement and of Groundswell Action Fund, the largest fund in the country centering giving to women of color-led 501c4 organizations.
Under her leadership, Groundswell has moved more than $50 million to the field, with a focus on grassroots organizing led by women of color, low-income women, and transgender people, and ninety percent of its total giving going to work led by women of color.
Vanessa’s roots in labor and community organizing inspired a unique funding model at Groundswell: a program staff team of women of color who come directly out of grassroots organizing and who support grantees through grantmaking, capacity building, and funder organizing to raise the visibility of grantee work in the broader funder/donor community.
Groundswell’s work includes the only fund in the country dedicated to supporting access to midwifery and doula care for women of color, low-income women, and transgender people, and a robust women of color-led Integrated Voter Engagement training program.
In 2017, Groundswell received the National Committee of Responsible Philanthropy’s “Impact Award” for smashing issue silos and Vanessa was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of 15 “Influencers” who are changing the non-profit world. She is also the recipient of a 2012 Gerbode Foundation Fellowship, and the 2017 National Network for Abortion Funds’ Abortion Action Vanguard Award.
Prior to Groundswell, Vanessa supported LGBT rights, 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 (now Race Forward).
Vanessa currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Common Counsel Foundation. She 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.