February 16, 2021

The Labor Innovations for the 21st Century (LIFT) Fund is proud to announce and wishes to congratulate Valeria Treves, LIFT’s director, on being selected to serve in the Biden-Harris Administration as Advisor for Worker Voice Engagement in the Department of Labor. 

Valeria has been a critical part of strategically building LIFT to support innovative and creative strategies to build worker power across the country. While it is a big loss for LIFT, we hope that we will all find ways to continue to work with her. We are grateful for her leadership, and thank her for leaving the organization poised to continue its growth and advance its mission.

Valeria stepped into the director role in 2016, and over the last five years has been a key driver of LIFT’s continued growth and development. Some of her accomplishments include:

  • An expansion in the number of funders that have joined LIFT, a tenfold increase in our budget, and plans to move significantly more into the field in 2021.
  • Supported over 50 unique partnerships and collaborations between unions, worker centers, and labor organizations as part of LIFT’s core-grantmaking programs – including critically important seed-funding for experiments when resources were often hardest to find.
  • Overseeing the expansion of LIFT’s programs to include strategic convenings, research & learning for funders and field-experts, and other new programmatic initiatives at the LIFT Fund, including some initiatives to be announced later in 2021.
  • Brought together unions, worker centers, and other labor organizations to have critical and challenging conversations about the nature of their partnerships, navigating strategic differences, and building stronger relationships. 
  • Eternally championed workers, worker centers, unions, and other labor organizations everywhere she went.

Valeria’s passion, leadership, and vision will be missed by everyone at the LIFT Fund, including staff, the steering committee, allies and partners, our “field” of practitioners, and everyone who’s ever been a part of the LIFT community. We wish her the best of luck in her next steps, where we know she’ll continue bringing that excellence to all her endeavors.

“While we will miss Valeria’s leadership, we are excited for the LIFT Fund’s inspired initiatives that remain ahead, and to find and welcome a new leader who will build on Valeria’s legacy and take the LIFT Fund vision to continue to build worker power” – Jose A. Garcia, Ford Foundation 

“Valeria Treves will be a champion for working people in her new role within the Biden Administration’s Department of Labor. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership at the LIFT Fund through what continues to be a very challenging time for working families. Systemic barriers and legal hurdles deprive millions of their right to join a union, which makes LIFT’s work so important. This is a time to be innovative and ambitious in our efforts to raise standards and wages, and that includes innovations in organizing and partnerships that build power for working people. This is a moment that calls for leaders like Valeria.” – AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler

The LIFT Fund remains committed to advancing its core grantmaking and field building support programs, and as always will remain dedicated to supporting collaboration around new forms of worker organizing. LIFT’s approach to its work and programs has evolved over time, and always aimed to be in response to learnings from the field and leaders who are wrestling at the edges of innovation and what it means to organize in a changing economy. Our hope is to always carry that approach as we move forward. 

“Under Valeria’s leadership, the LIFT Fund has played a critical role bringing together philanthropy, labor, academia, and worker centers to drive innovation in worker organizing, which is so important given how technology and economic shifts are shaping the workplace. We congratulate Valeria on her new role and look forward to supporting the LIFT Fund as it continues in its important mission.” Tracy Williams Director, the Omidyar Network and LIFT Steering Committee member

In 2021, we will also be advancing a number of new initiatives: a new racial and economic justice initiative between labor, community, and racial justice organizations in various cities across the country; and a new initiative to support the critical worker organizing happening across the U.S. South. We are bringing in a number of new partners who can help move resources into these areas, so if you want to be part of this work, please let us know!

Over the next few months, the Steering Committee will conduct a process to find LIFT’s next Director. In the interim, Nefeli Mourti of Social Strategy Associates, a NY-based social impact consultancy, has been retained to play an interim Managing Director role. Nefeli and SSA have deep experience with supporting pooled funds and their growth, and most recently helped shepard the Families and Workers Fund. Nefeli Mourti will be the main point of contact for donors and other partners she can be reached at Nefeli@theliftfund.org. Jennifer Munoz, who has been a steadfast pillar of LIFT’s core programs, will continue to support LIFT’s grantee partnerships and can be reached at jennifer@theliftfund.org. In addition, Carlos Jimenez from the AFL-CIO, who currently supports LIFT’s work and programs, will also step-in and be providing additional support and time for LIFT’s work and can be reached at cjimenez@aflcio.org.  Should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact them! 

More on all of these things in the coming weeks and months. Today, we want to invite everyone in our extended family to celebrate, thanks, and congratulate Valeria for all her work and her next steps in the comment box below!

Sincerely, 

The LIFT’ Fund’s Steering Committee:

  • Christian Sweeney, Deputy Director of Organizing, AFL-CIO
  • Carlos Jimenez, Special Projects, AFL-CIO
  • Jose Garcia, Program Officer, Ford Foundation
  • Virginia Mosqueda, Program Officer, James Irvine Foundation
  • Rebecca Greenberg, Senior Program Officer, Solidago Foundation
  • Domenico Romero, Program Officer, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock
  • Nik Theodore, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Marissa Guananja, Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Tracy Williams, Director, The Omidyar Network
  • Laine Romero Alston, Acting Division Director Open Society Foundation
  • MB Maxwell, Senior Advisor, Open Society Foundation
  • Iris Kuo, Principal, WorkPlace Equity, Tara Health Foundation

Make sure you sign up for LIFT email updates HERE, and check our new grantee partnerships HERE.