The Vaid Group’s team brings significant experience in philanthropy and strategy, program and initiative design, project management and evaluation, individual donor strategies, research & policy analysis, organizational development, intersectional and community based approaches, network and coalition building & management, and leadership to advance racial, gender and social equity.

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Vaid Group Team

  • Urvashi Vaid, Founder and CEO
  • Carla Sutherland, Senior Advisor, Impact Evaluation, Program Strategy and Design
  • Ashindi Maxton, Senior Advisor, Donors of Color Initiative
  • Dawn Laguens, Strategic Advisor
  • Sabrina De Martini, Research & Organizing Assistant

Affiliated Advisors

  • Kate Clinton, Director of Donor Advised Fun
  • Emerson Wajdowicz Studios, Design Consultants
  • Hali Lee, Co-Director, Faces of Giving
Urvashi Vaid

Urvashi Vaid

Urvashi Vaid is President of The Vaid Group LLC, a mission driven consulting and social innovation firm advising nonprofits, foundations, businesses and individuals working for equity and justice, and executive director of Justice Work, a social justice incubator and think tank. Among the current initiatives of the Vaid Group and Justice Work are: the LGBTQ Poverty Initiative, the National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group, and the Donors of Color Network. Vaid has held leadership roles in philanthropic, advocacy, community, and academic organizations, including as: Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation; Deputy Director of the Governance and Civil Society Unit at the Ford Foundation; Senior Fellow at the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School; Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force; and Staff Attorney at the National Prison Project, ACLU. She is author of Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and The Assumptions of LGBT Politics (2012); Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation (1996); a co-edited anthology titled Creating Change: Public Policy, Sexuality and Civil Rights (2000); and is author of many reports. She is Board alumnus of the Gill Foundation, LPAC (which she founded), Roadwork Center. She is a Board member of the National Board of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Provincetown Commons, and the American Museum of LGBTQ History & Culture. Vaid is a graduate of Vassar College and Northeastern University School of Law.

Dr. Carla Sutherland

Dr. Carla Sutherland is Senior Advisor at The Vaid Group working on LGBTQ Poverty, education policy, gender and international human rights. Sutherland is former Head of Programs at the Other Foundation, an African Trust that advances the rights and wellbeing of LGBT people in Southern Africa. Sutherland helped establish the Other Foundation and also helped to found UHAI the East African Sexual and Human Rights Initiative, an indigenous activist funding network based in Nairobi.

Sutherland was an Associate Research Scholar at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University School of Law (New York), exploring how tradition, culture and religion have been used as a barrier to advance sexual rights within global and regional human rights mechanisms. Dr. Sutherland was director of the Arcus Foundation's international program on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Before joining Arcus, Dr. Sutherland led the Ford Foundation’s Education and Sexuality program in Eastern Africa.

She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics.

Ashindi Maxton

Ashindi Maxton is Senior Advisor at The Vaid Group working on research and engagement of donors of color. Maxton is an independent strategist and donor advisor with extensive work in democracy reform, racial justice, and education. She has developed funding strategy informing more than $100 million in investments from some of the largest foundations and individual donors in the United States including the Emergent Fund, Solidaire, Democracy Alliance, the Ford Foundation, The Women Donors Network, and the Sandler Family Foundation.

In addition to her work in philanthropy, Maxton has served as the National Policy Director of the NAACP and the National Director of Political Partnerships for SEIU, the largest labor union in the United States. Prior to this work, Maxton had an early focus in education which included time as a bilingual fourth and fifth grade teacher in a Title 1 school, a fellow to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Education, the National Policy Director of Teach For America, and the principal of an elementary arts charter school in Washington DC.

Maxton has been named to the “NAACP Power 40” list of most influential African-Americans under forty. She has also been listed three times to Washington Magazine’s “Young and the Guest List” of "forty and under geniuses, visionaries, crusaders and innovators shaping Washington's future". She was also a Fulbright Scholar to the Dominican Republic where she published the first national study on race consciousness in Dominican children. She serves on the c3 board of the Texas Organizing Project and recently completed three years as Board Chair of Free Speech TV during a time that the network audience grew from 30 million to 50 million viewers.

Maxton has an International Baccalaureate degree from the United World College of the American West in New Mexico. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College with a degree in Africana Studies and later received a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dawn Laguens

Dawn Laguens, previously the Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of Planned Parenthood, is Expert-in-Residence at IDEO, one of the world's foremost human-centered design and innovation firms, and Strategic Advisor at Redshift Leadership and The Vaid Group. In these roles she is partnering to imagine and build the socially responsible and responsive organizations, corporations and technology needed for a healthier and happier future for both people and the planet. As Planned Parenthood’s message, organizing and policy leader Laguens worked to defend access to care for millions of patients and advance reproductive rights and freedoms for all. She spearheaded innovative efforts to keep a century-old brand relevant for the next generation, and to change the way our culture views sex, health and equality. Laguens is a CLIO award-winning writer and director, and Executive Producer of Across the Line, a groundbreaking virtual reality experience that debuted at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. She is the mother of triplets, a sportswoman, a native of New Orleans, a resident of Austin, and a fan of the printed word.

Sabrina De Martini

Sabrina De Martini serves as the Research and Organizing Assistant for The Vaid Group. They have organized around, investigated, and documented racism in the education system, anti-oppressive workplace practices, sexual violence, policing, tenant’s rights, philanthropy in the arts, art therapy, and LGBTQ marriage rights. Their passions at the Vaid Group include organizing for structural policy changes with the National LGBTQ/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group and the LGBTQ Poverty Initiative, as well as assisting in the creation of a network of high net-worth donors of color. They also enjoy making post-punk immersive sounds with their band, reading speculative fiction, creating poetry, tattooing friends, painting, and cuddling with their dog-friend, Girl. They have a Master of Social Work degree from Hunter College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Kate Clinton

Kate Clinton is Director of Donor Advised Fun at The Vaid Group LLC. Clinton is an experienced political humorist and entertainer, a multi-talented and multi-platformed author, actress, stand-up comic, MC, activist, fundraising auctioneer and social mediatrix. With a career spanning thirty-five years, Clinton has used her humor to raise tens of millions of dollars for nonprofit and charitable organizations, including the Democracy Alliance, the Gill Foundation, the ACLU, the LGBTQ Task Force, the Women Donor's Network, among others. She is an expert event MC, auctioneer, and who brings engagement to events and fundraising activities. Clinton holds a Masters in English from Colgate University and a BA from Lemoyne College.

Emerson Wajdowicz Studios

Led by a deeply rooted creative philosophy that demands uncompromising standards, outstanding creative choices, and a level of personal involvement unique to the industry, Emerson, Wajdowicz Studios (EWS) has become a leading practitioner of socially responsible, issue-driven visual design.

EWS’ passion for bold, intelligent presentation ensures that every message is communicated not just concisely and effectively, but appropriately. The final products, with their emphasis on sophisticated typography, technological innovation, and powerful photographic imagery, have won hundreds of international communication and design awards.

Drawing on the distinctive background, talent and experience of its creative team―led by Jurek Wajdowicz and Lisa LaRochelle―EWS combines a remarkable clarity of vision and attention to detail with a focused, disciplined approach to every phase of the design process.

EWS is well known for its vast international experience working on projects related to social injustice, human rights, poverty, the rights of minorities, gender equality, protection of the environment, United Nations’ programs, worldwide health care, photojournalism, and other relevant social, political, and cultural issues. EWS works closely with the leading experts in international human development.

The combination of social responsibility, passionate personal conviction and what the design magazine Print calls a “reliance on obsessively high standards” makes Emerson, Wajdowicz Studios the outstanding choice for issue-driven design in North America, Africa, Asia and Europe.