Our Story

We believe that philanthropy shouldn’t be about barriers and bottlenecks. Created by funders and organizers of color: JustFund removes traditional barriers that prevent funders from moving resources efficiently to organizations on the frontlines.

JustFund is the nation’s first -- and only -- giving portal that offers one simple common application, saving organizations time and increasing their visibility to new funders.

JustFund was built to take the friction out of grantmaking from start to finish, and leverage funding for under-resourced organizations working at the forefront of social justice movements.

Our Mission

JustFund is upending philanthropy by transforming grantmaking. We make moving money to the movement simple and fast, freeing you up to focus on what you do best.

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Our Team

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Iara Pengshe/her/hers

Founder and CEO

Iara is the founder of JustFund. She has worked in nonprofits for over 20 years, building new programs and organizations within the sector and supporting emerging leaders. She launched JustFund.us an innovative online portal that connects funders directly to organizations to help move resources more quickly while facilitating greater trust, transparency, and accountability across funder communities.

Early in her career, she worked to build the progressive leadership pipeline and started Young People For, a national progressive leadership development program that has identified and trained thousands of leaders across the country. She holds a Masters Degree from Columbia University, where she studied public administration and nonprofit management. She has served as a strategic consultant and on the boards of dozens of nonprofits and is currently a board member of Donors of Color Network and on the advisory board of She the People and Girls Crushing It.

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Melody Leeshe/her/hers

Managing Director

Melody Lee is the Managing Director at JustFund. She's passionate about moving resources to and investing in grassroots organizing. Prior to joining JustFund, she was the co-founder and Managing Director at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice and held various roles at the Drug Policy Alliance. She has worked on numerous criminal justice reform and public health campaigns in New York and nationally, including as the director of organizing and advocacy for the #CLOSErikers campaign. She currently sits on the board of two syringe exchange organizations, New York Harm Reduction Educators, and Washington Heights CORNER Project.

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Rachel Hyattshe/her/hers

Fund Coordinator

Rachel Hyatt is the Fund Coordinator at JustFund. Rachel joined the JustFund team in 2019. She manages grant cycles, supports general operations, and works closely with the Management and Development teams to identify new features and improve user experience. Rachel has worked in a variety of public interest settings focused on policy, education, and organizing. Previously, she worked in NYC Department of Education’s Office of Community Schools to improve education equity for students in temporary housing, and expand youth voice and leadership opportunities. Rachel received a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Criminal Justice and Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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Sofia Varonashe/her/hers

Operations Assistant

Sofia Varona is the Operations Assistant at JustFund. Sofia has shifted from direct service into the world of philanthropy and is thrilled to be part of the JustFund team. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for several years focused on youth development, the LGBTQ community, and immigrant rights. Previously, Sofia worked at Camp Bob Waldorf, a residential, nonprofit camp that serves low-income families with the goal of providing youth with enriching activities during the summer and throughout the year. Sofia received her B.A in Liberal Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and hopes to receive a certificate in nonprofit management in the future.

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Ready to Sign Up?

Join a community of funders and organizations re-imagining philanthropy.

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