Vanessa Lowe joined the Board in 2018. She’s a native New Yorker who embraced Philadelphia as her home in the early 1980s. Her early career was spent in legal advocacy programs including the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women and the AIDS Law Project of PA. She’s spent the last 20 years in federal service supporting access to capital for underserved communities. She underwrote investments in community development financial institutions (CDFIs) while working for the U.S. Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund, and developed online training content for the National Credit Union Administration. She’s currently pursuing the Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFc©) designation as she builds her financial education and consulting practice. Ms. Lowe has a B.S. in Education from Temple University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Aisha Mohammed joined the board in 2018. She is a couple and family therapist who uses harm reduction principles to support individuals and families experiencing harms from various systems and policies. She manages the Student Assistance Program at Einstein Hospital, which provides mental and behavioral assessments for K-12 students in the Philadelphia School District. Aisha is also an advisory board member at Project SAFE, a grassroots direct-service and peer-based advocacy organization that provides women and femme-centered services to people involved in the street economies in Kensington, Philadelphia. In 2016, she helped establish the Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, a collective of sex workers and allies that advocates for the human and labor rights of sex workers. She has been advocating for sex workers and substance users for 10 years.
Staci Moore joined the board in 2020. She is a visual artist, and board chair of the Women’s Community Revitalization Project serving low income women and their children with high quality affordable housing and resident leadership development. Her volunteer work with WCRP started in 1997 and she has continued to lend her voice to issues of affordable housing ever since. Staci also is a proud volunteer for Women’s Way participating in their Women’s Economic Security Initiative work. Staci’s artwork has been featured with the Philadelphia Art Museum as part of one of the museum’s most extensive social practice of the arts project, Philadelphia Assembled of 2017.
Annike Sprow joined the board in May of 2019. Annike Sprow is the Lead Social Worker at The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Carceral Communities (The Center) where she works with Philadelphia residents who are involved in the criminal justice system and returning to the community after incarceration. The Center is the only agency in Philadelphia that provides completely free therapy, specifically for those who are justice-involved. Annike is committed to working toward decriminalization of drugs and sex work and breaking down the victim/perpetrator and non-violent/violent dichotomies that are apparent in the criminal justice system as it exists. Before The Center, Annike attended Temple University and University of Pennsylvania to obtain her Bachelors and Masters in Social Work and worked with elementary-age youth with emotional support needs (which is another passion of hers.)
Azucena Ugarte is the Director of Domestic Violence Strategies for the City of Philadelphia and, as such, has been assigned the responsibility of improving the City’s Health and Human Service agencies response to families and individuals affected by intimate partner violence. Before working with the City, Azucena worked for 11 years for the largest domestic violence organization in Philadelphia implementing education programs about Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence for community members and professionals; as well as developing teen dating violence prevention programs in middle schools, high schools and other organizations for youth. Azucena holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology and Education, a Master in Education of Human Sexuality, and is a PhD Candidate for Human Sexuality. She joined the board in May of 2019.
Jennifer Kates is an attorney and Chief of Staff for Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym, and previously served in the office of Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez. She is a graduate of Penn Law School and Temple University, and studied at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Oxford University. Her work in City Council has emphasized equity in public education, economic justice and fair taxation, and juvenile justice reform. She has also focused on the law and policy of housing, community development, and land use. She advocates for increased access to justice for low-income Philadelphians and the establishment of a civil right to counsel. She serves on the board of the Valentine Foundation and was a founding board member of the Philadelphia Land Bank.