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Gabby dizon, grants & operations manager

Gabby joined the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation in January 2017. As Grants & Operations Manager, she manages the Foundation’s grants administration, financial management, and operations functions in support of the Foundation’s programmatic and strategic vision. She believes that in order to maximize its impact on the field, philanthropy’s commitment to social justice should inform foundation operating practices as well as grantmaking.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Gabby was a Relationship Manager with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ Sponsored Projects and Funds division. In that role, she was responsible for providing clients with guidance and support on financial and legal compliance, grants management, and other aspects of non-profit management. Gabby was also a Senior Program Associate for the Strong Local Economies Program at the Surdna Foundation, a private family foundation working to foster sustainable communities in the United States. While at Surdna, she worked with organizations and thought leaders striving to create economic opportunities for historically-disadvantaged communities, including low-income people, people of color, women, and immigrants. She has also served as the Co-Chair for Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy's New York City chapter. Earlier in her career, Gabby worked as an Account Coordinator at a global communications firm.

Gabby graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2008, where she studied Politics and Spanish. 


Kolu has 15-years of experience managing grantmaking, providing technical assistance, and convening and evaluating grassroots organizations serving low income communities and constituencies working at the front lines of the food system. She has supported equitable, sustainable, and resilient food-oriented development that spans the rural-urban continuum and builds health and wealth within low-income communities.  Kolu developed and directed two three-year, multi-funder initiatives to build the capacity of grassroots organizations serving family farmers and ranchers, farmworkers, food chain workers, “food swamp” neighborhoods, and Native American communities. She raised $2.5 million for these initiatives from eight private foundations. 

Kolu is a co-founder of Community Food Funders, a philanthropic organizing project supporting the development of a sustainable food shed for New York City. She is an active leader of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders and served as steering committee co-chair in 2005 and 2006. Additionally, Kolu has been active in the Environmental Grantmakers Association and Philanthropy New York.

In 2014 Kolu was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and received a certificate in Environmental Design. In 2000 she completed a fellowship at Columbia University through the Charles H. Revson Fellows Program on the Future of New York. Kolu completed coursework for a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and has an undergraduate degree in Rural Development Studies with a focus on West Africa from Stanford University.  She resides in Central Harlem with her husband and is inspired by her Liberian grandfather, an upland rice farmer and village chief in the Upper Guinea Rainforest of Lofa County, and her Italian grandmother, a co-leader of a Protestant orphanage, clinic and school in Portici.