The Andrus Family Fund (AFF) welcomed Nyoka Acevedo as its new program officer on February 4, 2020. In her role as program officer, Nyoka will help manage a $4 million national portfolio of more than 50 grantee partners. Her experience in education, restorative justice, community organizing, direct service, policy and grants management give her a diverse skill set that contributes to AFF’s unique approach of building deep, trusting relationships with grantee partners.
“I am thrilled to work within a foundation committed to creating an equitable world for young people as they lead the change for future generations,” Nyoka said. “Andrus Family Fund’s commitment to racial justice and equity-based work is exactly what is needed to bridge the gap between the philanthropic sector and grassroots organizations as we all work towards creating a just society.”
Nyoka brings more than 15 years of experience in the field of program development, management, grant-making and education, all in service of creating social change and advancing outcomes for our nation’s most vulnerable youth and communities. She has trained hundreds of educators in New York and Los Angeles on restorative practices through a racial justice framework. Her leadership has helped advance safety and healing while moving communities away from punitive practices that drive mass incarceration. She has worked with the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, Red Hook Initiative, Urban Arts Partnership and The Future Project. Nyoka also served as the Grants Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, working alongside more than 30 grassroots organizations nationally to advance public policy that combats the war on drugs and ends the criminalization of Black and Latinx communities.
A deep listener and life-long participant in the social justice movement, Nyoka believes that change starts by listening to the needs of those most impacted—which aligns with AFF’s values. “Centering the needs of those most harmed is a central tenet of the restorative justice practices that I hope to bring to this work as a program officer,” she said. “By continuing to listen to our partners, we will gain greater insight on how to best use our resources to leverage long-lasting change in our communities, especially for our young people.”
Nyoka holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the School of Professional Studies, City University of New York. A born-and-raised New Yorker, she likes to get away from the city sometimes to hike and explore nature with her son and extended family.