Leah Hong
Program Partner, Imago Dei Fund
Leah Hong is a social justice practitioner, and youth worker at heart, with a demonstrated history of working in diverse contexts within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. As a licensed social worker, Leah dedicated her early career to working directly with youth and families impacted by trauma within the juvenile justice, public education, and shelter-based systems in New York City and Greater Boston. Through her frontline experiences, Leah understands the importance of cultivating trust by listening to communities, amplifying their voices, and building coalitions to shift power and decision-making back into communities, so they may determine their own lives. Currently, Leah serves as Program Partner at Imago Dei Fund, a private family foundation, where she works to advance the Fund’s strategic priorities in supporting grassroots organizations and local leaders working at the intersection of gender equity and community-driven development, across Greater Boston and the Global South. Leah is responsible for managing relationships with local and international grantee partners in the Fund’s grantmaking portfolio. Further, she embeds a trust-based framework within her philanthropic practice, to mitigate the power differential between funders and nonprofits, and advocates for funders to provide general operating, multi-year funding, particularly to BIPOC-led efforts. Prior to her current role, Leah served as Director of Community Impact at Letters Foundation, Warren and Doris Buffett’s direct philanthropy initiative that provided grants to individuals and families experiencing financial crisis. While at Letters, Leah developed and led the Foundation’s community grantmaking programs, which partnered with community-based organizations to deploy flexible funds to families connected to their services. Additionally, she served as the chief architect of the Personal Advancement for Individuals in Recovery (PAIR) Initiative with the City of Boston, the first public-private partnership of its kind in the US. The PAIR Initiative served as a fund to support the housing, workforce development, and educational goals of individuals in active recovery, re-entering the community from the carceral system. Leah holds a BA in Literary Studies from The New School in New York City, and an MSW from Boston University School of Social Work. She remains steadfast in her commitment to social justice, gender equity, and anti-racism by revealing the harm created by systems of oppression, and centering the strength and dignity of communities most impacted.