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Joy Messinger, MSW, MPH, MCPC (they/she) has been guided throughout their life by a commitment to social justice, health equity, and healing justice. Their involvement in community and campus activism started in 1999 when they were a young person, and they have nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, higher education administration, public health and social science research, and academic instruction.

Their professional and organizing background includes work in nonprofit management, social justice philanthropy, LGBTQ issues and communities, prison industrial complex (P.I.C.) abolition, sexuality education, HIV/AIDS, youth development, adoptee issues, social work policy and practice, and racial, gender, disability, immigration, reproductive, and birth justice.

A coach and consultant since 2010, Joy offers event and retreat facilitation, training and education workshops, program development, strategic planning, curriculum design, empowerment evaluation, community-based quantitative and qualitative research, and advising on fundraising, grant making, nonprofit management, and community engagement.

Until August 2022, they were the Director of Training and Leadership Development at Funders for Justice, a national network of funders increasing resources to BIPOC grassroots organizations working at the intersections of racial justice, gender justice, ending criminalization, and building models for community safety & justice. As a Program Officer at Third Wave Fund from 2015-2021, they co-designed the organization's philanthropic strategies, oversaw three funds for youth-led gender justice activism, helped grow the grantmaking portfolio from $70K to $1M+, and served as the Co-Chair of the Funders for Justice Healing Justice Strategy Group and the Funders for Reproductive Equity Youth Engagement and Leadership Working Group. Read more about their professional experience and education on LinkedIn.

Joy is currently a collective member with Rogers Park Free Store and a Steering Committee member with KQTx Network. A Unitarian Universalist with roots in earth-based spirituality, Joy co-leads their local congregation's Social Justice Ministries and is an active member of DRUUMMJoy is also an alum of Jade T. Perry's Cecilia Weston Spiritual Academy, and the owner of Femme of Spoons tarot and oracle reading.  


Previously, they served as Board Treasurer of Youth Empowerment Performance Project, National Board Co-Chair of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, Co-Chair of the LBTQ Giving Circle at the Chicago Foundation for Women, and a Core Collective Member of Invisible to Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago.


Joy’s work, activism, poetry, and other writing have appeared in a variety of media platforms and publications, including The Lit Review podcast, Good Day Chicago, Daily Dot, Lost Daughters, moonrootCommon Intuitions: A Poetry Anthology of Women Celebrating Women (Palettes & Quills), Stereo Visions: Looking Back, Moving Forward (Evolutionary Girls Club), and the now defunct Land of Gazillion Adoptees magazine. They also write tailored reading recommendations for Book Riot's TBR service.

In their free time, Joy likes to read all kinds of fiction and nonfiction, watch the WNBA, garden, spend time in nature, and tell their cat Kimchi how cute they are.

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