Manami Kano is a consultant to foundations on grantmaking strategy, funding collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion integration into organizational and program goals. In this capacity, she has advised foundations on their grantmaking strategies to focus on intersectional racial equity, organized a funder affinity group to advance DEI in journalism and media, and designed and helped launch a pooled fund, the Racial Justice in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy which has grown to 10 foundations and nearly $10 M in commitments in the first two rounds of grantmaking.
Previously, Manami was the deputy director of the Global Media Program in the Global Policy & Advocacy division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Manami led the Foundation’s media grants and partnerships portfolio, funding journalism, storytelling and narrative projects in the U.S., Europe, Africa and India to increase issue salience of global health, poverty and education by elevating diverse voices and underreported stories. She developed global investment strategies for an annual budget of $30 million with a team of five, which she oversaw from 2015-2018. She was also responsible for designing a learning agenda and measurement and evaluation approach for the portfolio. Throughout, Manami has been an advocate for equity in her staffing and grantmaking to reflect the communities served. In 2016, she established a $1M discretionary fund through New Venture Fund for Communication that focused on building trust with audiences that focused on diversity of stories, staff and leadership.
Prior to joining the Gates Foundation in 2008, Manami was special assistant to the director of National Programs at the Carnegie Corporation of New York for education programs and policy. Manami previously spent a decade consulting and leading organizations in the nonprofit sector the arts and media as well as environment and social justice. Manami was a National Urban Fellow, a top leadership program, and holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters of Public Administration from City University of New York School of Public Affairs.