When the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice launched its search for a new executive director in February 2021, they sought “a fierce feminist, intersectional, and radical leader.” They believe they have found that person in Joy Chia.
On September 20, Chia will take the helm of the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. The foundation makes grants to lesbian, trans, intersex and LGBTQI groups that promote racial, economic, and gender justice.
“This is really an opportunity of a lifetime,” Chia says. “I’m so privileged and humbled to be at Astraea’s helm at this moment of the organization’s evolution, and to work together with the Astraea community to chart out the next part of our journey.”
Astraea was founded in 1977 out of the recognition that queer women and women of color would have to fund their own priorities. In 1996, they expanded their grant making internationally and now fund work in 27 countries including the U.S.
“To me, feminism is about power—who has it, who does not, who is making decisions and about what?” says Chia. “As funders, we wield one of [the] most important manifestations of power. This comes with great responsibility—and I believe that global LGBTQI feminist philanthropy has transformative potential, and that this potential must be harnessed towards building and shifting power to advance the ability of all people to exercise their rights and freedoms.”
Chia’s previous post was as the team manager of the Women’s Rights Program at the Open Society Foundations. There, she led work on the Power of the Collective, which “prioritizes strengthening feminist activism, community mobilization and leadership.”
Chia has also been an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and at Fordham University Law School, and holds degrees from Yale University and Columbia University School of Law.
Astraea Board of Directors co-chairs Eboné Bishop and Bookda Gheisar said in the announcement that they are “thrilled to have such a strategic and visionary leader joining Astraea at this critical juncture.”