CLIENT ENDORSEMENTS

FORD FOUNDATION

Long-term consultancy providing project management, strategic planning, field mapping, grant vetting, evaluation, research and reporting for two portfolios with combined grantmaking of $72M in five years.

“I have had the benefit of working with Lorelei on a range of research, mapping and program development projects over the last five years, and highly recommend her to anyone seeking creative, strategic help in developing and nurturing an idea from an abstract concept to a concrete project.  Lorelei is smart and self-motivated, innovative and insightful, and a joy to work with.  Her intellectual acumen is complemented by her deep commitment to social justice – and her work ethic and standards for excellence are unparalleled.” ~ Thomasina Williams, Former Program Officer Ford Foundation Initiative on Promoting Electoral Reform & Democratic Participation

“Lorelei Williams has provided invaluable assistance to me in developing and implementing a grantmaking portfolio focused on increasing the democratic participation of underserved populations in the U.S.  She has broad experience with a diverse array of organizations and issues – along with powerful analytical and program management competencies.  These skills have been critical to the success of our program.  Her multi-disciplinary approach to achieving social justice allows her to work on many different types of projects with equal ease.  Whether reviewing statistical data to help set grantmaking priorities, creating a communications strategy, or developing an analysis to advance more effective donor collaboration, Ms Williams is an inspiring colleague.” ~ Alta Starr, Former Program Officer, Ford Foundation Initiative on Increasing Civic & Political Participation

KELLOGG FOUNDATION

Collaborated in the development of a $25M initiative to build a new foundation promoting racial equity in Northeast Brazil.  Provided assistance in strategic planning, organizational modeling, performance benchmarking and budget development.  Cultivated key international partnerships with donors and other relevant stakeholders.

“I had the pleasure of working with Lorelei on the development of Fundo Baobá (The Baobab Fund), a pioneering fund devoted to promoting racial equity in Brazil.  As a consultant on this project, Lorelei’s expertise in organizational design and her relationships with major international institutions were highly valuable. Lorelei’s key contributions included designing business models, case studies and cost-benefit analyses for the new fund.  Another core contribution was the site visits Lorelei coordinated for our Brazilian delegation to connect to leading US social justice foundations and community-based organizations. The enthusiastic and generous welcome we received during these visits – and the subsequent offers to advance our proposal for the Baobab Fund – are due to the respect and confidence that Lorelei has built in the field.”~ Sueli Carneiro, Founding Board Member, Baobob Fund for Racial Equity & Executive Director of Geledés Institute for Afro-Brazilian Women 

“Lorelei’s work with the Programmatic Committee for the creation of a new fund to fight racism in Northeast Brazil was immensely significant.  As a consultant, she brought a deep knowledge of Brazilian politics, organizational development experience and helped us to define models for the governance and operations of the new fund.  Beyond these contributions, Lorelei’s ethics and integrity were fundamental in our collaboration.” ~ Elias de Oliveira Sampaio, Founding Board Member, Baobob Fund for Racial Equity & Director, Bahia State Secretariat on Racial Equity

 

NATIONAL CARES MENTORING MOVEMENT 

Managed infrastructure development initiative to strengthen internal business processes, and templates for HR, financial management, fundraising and affiliate development. Facilitated quarterly organizational planning process and retreats. Codified organizational policies and practices into new operating manual and employee handbook.

“Lorelei Williams was a pivotal asset to the National CARES Mentoring Movement at a defining moment in our development. Her understanding of finance, programmatic excellence and infrastructure building helped to elevate our work. And her writing is exquisite—accurate, poetic and strong. It was a great gift to learn from and work with Lorelei Williams, a focused, dedicated and brilliant leader.” ~ Susan L. Taylor, Founder National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-in-Chief-Emeritus, ESSENCE Magazine

 

MIT COMMUNITY INNOVATORS LAB (MIT CoLAB)   

Designed and facilitated a strategic planning retreat to help team develop a shared vision, theory of change, and strategies to guide CoLab programming.  Produced report with recommendations for strengthening CoLab’s business model, programs, evaluation, governance and staff development.

“On very short notice, Lorelei accepted our request to facilitate a strategic planning retreat for our organization.  Lorelei jumped right in and was incredibly effective.  She was firm but gentle and worked amazingly fast to build trust with the group.  Lorelei’s facilitation technique calls on a unique combination of mind, heart, body, and institutional development skills.  She showed great depth in her ability to listen, build and hold the space for our group.  Lorelei possesses tremendous organizational intelligence, quickly understanding the dynamics of our group and figured out the key issues we needed to address, bringing immediate clarity to issues that had challenged our staff for months.”  ~ Dayna Cunningham, Executive Director, MIT CoLAB

 

BRAZIL FOUNDATION  

Developed a business plan and fundraising strategy with President and Directors.  Cultivated and managed relationships with prospective donors. Produced grant proposals and institutional publications.

“Onirá Philanthropic Advisors, in the hands of Lorelei Williams, has an important role to play in American and Brazilian philanthropy. The five I’s she has chosen to describe the essence of the new company’s objectives are reflective of her personal and work ethic and approach.  To her choices I would add a few more – good instinct, wonderful inventiveness and a definite trait of idealism.  I have enjoyed and deeply value our work together at BrazilFoundation.  I know I want to continue to rely on Lorelei’s wisdom and professionalism in philanthropy, the field we have both embraced.” ~ Leona S. Forman, Founder/Board Chair of BrazilFoundation and Founder/Director of Fundo Carioca

 

THE GLOBAL LANGUAGE PROJECT 

Executive coaching, visioning and strategic planning

“I worked with Lorelei Williams when I was launching the Global Language Project.  As a new organization we needed seasoned leadership to assist us with the strategic direction for our nonprofit.  Lorelei helped us to focus our vision and mission. In my role as executive director, Lorelei has served as a mentor for me providing valuable advice and feedback. She challenges people and organizations to go beyond what they think they are capable of, in order to maximize potential.”~ Angela Jackson, Founder & Executive Director, Global Language Project

 

BRAZILIAN INSTITUTE OF ETHNIC MEDIA

Executive coaching, visioning and strategic planning

“Lorelei Williams’ collaboration with the Brazilian Institute of Ethnic Media (IME) has been decisive in the development and consolidation of our organization. She is a dedicated professional and we have counted on her guidance for over five years. Lorelei has shared valuable management tools with IME and helped connect us to U.S. institutions that share our mission of improving media diversity, conquering the digital divide, and promoting media ownership.  Without Lorelei’s assistance, IME would not have achieved its current success as a pioneer in using media and technology to combat racism in Brazil.” ~ Paulo Rogério Nunes, Founder & Executive DirectorBrazilian Institute of Ethnic Media

 

SEASONS FUND FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

Collaborated in management of a grant portfolio on transformative organizing for social justice leaders, organizations and movements. Directed a story-telling initiative to document the impact and outcomes of grantees projects. Conducted site visits, interviews and grant evaluation. Coordinated grantee-learning community and best practice exchange.

“It was an absolute pleasure working with Lorelei as she refined and implemented Seasons Fund’s grantmaking and donor mobilization programs.  Lorelei collaborated seamlessly with many stakeholders to assess needs and develop appropriate programming.  Lorelei’s inspired written and verbal communications skills were valuable as she connected with Seasons Fund’s grantees and crafted a compelling series of stories to lift up the value of transformative approaches to social change.  In addition to Lorelei’s incisive mind and discerning judgment, she brings an inclusive and accepting approach to collaborative efforts.  Lorelei’s grace with herself and others creates an atmosphere of calm and love even in the midst of intense deadlines and demands.  I am confident Lorelei will bring great gifts to her future endeavors.”~ Tara Brown, Board Chair of Seasons Fund for Social Transformation and Director of Hidden Leaf Foundation

 

PROJECT PEOPLE FOUNDATION – SOUTH AFRICA 

Designed new business model and grant programs in collaboration with President and Board of Directors. Evaluated impact of socio-economic development programs targeting women and youth. Assisted with fundraising, proposal writing and donor cultivation. Cultivated key partnerships in South Africa and Botswana.

“Lorelei’s originality of ideas and capacity for hard work have been outstanding characteristics critical to the success of Project People Foundation and our work with NGO’s supporting women and youth in the townships of South Africa.  Lorelei Williams thinks strategically, has extensive knowledge about global issues that impact women and girls and possesses first-rate skills in dealing with people of diverse backgrounds.  She is reliable and enthusiastic; the consummate professional at all times.”~ Linda Tarry-Chard, President & Founder, Project People Foundation

“I came to know Lorelei’s remarkable strategic planning abilities while I served as a Board member of Project People Foundation.  As a small, grassroots organization preparing for the next phase of its work in South Africa, Project People needed a focused and innovative strategic plan that would allow it to be most successful in meeting its mission.  Lorelei’s plan for moving PPF forward showed an ability to dive deep into, and truly understand a non-profit and the community it serves; to create a well-tailored, crisp, creative, yet workable plan for the organization; brilliantly communicate that plan in writing and through presentations to the officers and Board; and execute it.” ~ Ashley Hufft, Chief of Staff & General Counsel, Millennium Promise  

“I came to work with Lorelei through directing the Western Cape branches of Ikamva Youth in South Africa. Ikamva empowers underprivileged township youth through education, e-literacy training and career guidance. We were proud to receive a grant through the South Africa Grant Fund that Lorelei developed for Project People Foundation.  With this support, Ikamva made a visible jump in its programming.  It enabled our students to receive valuable mentoring and career guidance and successfully access college and career growth opportunities that they are typically excluded from. Lorelei has shown ongoing support, a high degree of professionalism, and genuine interest in helping the youth of South Africa to reach their full potential.”  ~ Luyanda Kota, Director, Western Cape Branch of Ikamva Youth in South Africa

 

THE STEVE BIKO INSTITUTE OF BRAZIL

Collaborated with the Institute to design and direct a youth leadership development project to train Afro-Brazilian college students for careers in public service. Formed a bi-national Advisory Board. Spearheaded fundraising activities. Designed leadership curriculum and activities. Negotiated partnerships with public and private institutions. Managed all financial, human resource and operational systems.

“Lorelei is effective in negotiating solid international partnerships and designing high-impact programs. Creative, ethical, and skilled in cross-cultural negotiation and collaboration, Lorelei has exceptional management skills. Our program, POMPA, has opened an important and ample space for Afro-Diasporic collaboration. We’ve had the opportunity to live in practice the Afro-Brazilian and African American way to manage people, resources and the imponderable.  Our partnership is marked by unity of action, flexibility, and intuition and also by objectivity, creativity, commitment and the capacity to overcome obstacles. The result has been very successful: an unforgettable experience for all involved, principally the POMPA fellows and alumni. Through POMPA, their horizons were broadened, their posture changed, their self-esteem increased and their commitment to our communities was strengthened. As a result, many are now occupying spaces of power and influence in Brazil and the United States.”  Silvio Humberto, Co-Founder of the Steve Biko Institute of Brazil

“We Brazilians are privileged to count, from time to time, on Lorelei’s cross-culture competency in our quest to strengthen civic engagement and public policies to promote racial equality in Brazil.  I am sure that all those committed to advance social and human development will benefit from Oníra Advisor’s initiatives. ~ Daniel Teixeira, Director, Law and Racial Relations Program, Brazilian Center for the Study of Race, Employment and Inequality