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

Their 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.

As 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, she was 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 grantmaking strategies and oversaw three funds for youth-led gender justice activism, grew the grantee 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. 


Prior to Third Wave, Joy was Deputy Director at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health. During her five-year tenure from 2010-2015, she grew ICAH's training & education, oversaw the expansion of its youth development programs, established its monitoring & evaluation system, broadened its employment policies, and collaborated on the passage of Chicago Public Schools' Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Policy & Illinois' conversion therapy ban.

They previously 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, and writing have appeared in a variety of media platforms and publications, including The Lit Review podcast, Good Day Chicago, Daily Dot, Lost Daughters, Common 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 online magazine.

Joy is a Master Certified Professional & Life Coach and an alum of Jade T. Perry's Cecilia Weston Spiritual Academy, the NYU IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector, and the Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellowship for Leaders in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice. They hold a BSW from Nazareth College of Rochester (2004), an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of North Carolina (2010), and an MSW in Community Health and Urban Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2011).

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