Rajasvini Bhansali is the Executive Director of Solidaire Network and Solidaire Action, a community of donor organizers mobilizing critical resources to the frontlines of social justice. She is a passionate advocate for participatory grassroots-led power building and a lifelong student of social movements. In a wide-ranging career devoted to racial, economic and climate justice, she has previously led an international public foundation that funds grassroots organizing in Asia, Africa and Latin America; grown a national youth development social enterprise; managed a public telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing the digital divide in the Southern United States; and worked as a community organizer, researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant.
Born and raised in India, Rajasvini earned a Master’s in Public Affairs with a focus on Telecommunications and Technology Policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor′s in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley. Vini also spent several years working in rural Kenya with community leaders, an experience she credits as having inspired her to work to transform philanthropy and international development. To that end, she currently serves on several philanthropic boards.
Vini co-authored Leading with Joy: Practices for Uncertain Times, recently published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. She is also a published poet, essayist, popular educator, yoga instructor and leadership coach. When not engaged with community organizations, Rajasvini can be found nesting with her family, taking long naps in the garden or plotting the next dance party with friends.
What Liberation Means to Vini
Tell us why you do what you do.
I deeply value interdependence, pluralism, truth-telling and authentic relationships. I put my cherished values to work with our team to resource social justice movements in such a way that they have what they need to transform the lives of people impacted by injustice and dispossession. Together with our team, we seek to organize donors and funders so that they, too, can be protagonists in the struggle to transform the conditions that perpetuate white supremacy and oppression.
What’s most important to you about being part of Solidaire?
Our members, our staff and our board members all exemplify how to grow from mistakes and mishaps, learn from each other and from grassroots organizers, build community with care and humility, move money quickly and responsively, and claim joy in the daily work of social change. It is not just what we do but how we do it that inspires me!
What does liberation mean to you?
Liberation means a practice of love. In the poetic words of June Jordan, “the awesome, difficult work of love: loving ourselves so that we become able to love other people without fear so that we can become powerful enough to enlarge the circle of our trust and our common striving for a safe, sunny afternoon near to flowering trees and under a very blue sky.”