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About Katayoon (she/her)

I bring a diverse range of professional experiences that have informed my perspectives on advocacy, organizing, and grantmaking, and I have partnered with groups of all sizes -- from fiscally sponsored start-up projects to multi-million dollar nonprofits. I have worked as a direct service and civil rights litigator, policy advocate, technical assistance provider, and grantmaker, with a substantive focus in the last 15 years on youth justice and criminal justice. The common thread throughout has been a fierce commitment to advancing racial justice.

Most recently, I was Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives at Borealis Philanthropy, overseeing a team managing two donor collaboratives that support BIPOC-led grassroots organizing groups to transform policing and pretrial justice in the criminal legal system. Previously, I served as Program Director for Youth Justice at the Public Welfare Foundation, where for 9 years I directed grantmaking to keep youth out of the adult system, dismantle the youth prison model, and advance a racially just, community-based vision of youth justice.


Before working in philanthropy, I held attorney positions the National Juvenile Defender Center, where I worked on a national initiative to ensure fairness for court-involved LGBTQ youth, and at the DC-based Children’s Law Center, where I represented youth as a guardian ad litem in child welfare cases. I started my career as a Racial Justice Project attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, working to advance educational equity for California’s public school students. In addition, I have taught as an adjunct faculty member at Howard University School of Law and American University’s Washington College of Law.

In the Fall of 2021, I launched my consulting practice, and I have been supporting a wide range of groups as they do their critically important work to advance social and racial justice.


  • Content expertise in racial justice; criminal justice and youth justice law and policy

  • Social justice grantmaking, including strategy and program development and supporting capacity building of advocacy and organizing groups

  • Donor collaboratives and funder networks

  • Social justice advocacy campaigns


  • J.D., Stanford Law School

  • A.B. in Psychology (with a specialization in Health and Development), Stanford University

  • Certificate in Non-profit Management, Duke University

Other affiliations

  • Member, Board of Directors, Center for Children’s Law and Policy, 2021-present

  • Steering Committee Member & Youth Justice Work Group Co-Chair, Youth Transition Funders Group, 2016-2018

  • New Voices Fellow, 2000-2002

  • District of Columbia Bar (active); California Bar (inactive)

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