Our Story

WHO We Are

A movement-led foundation shifting the paradigm of philanthropy through strategic funding and allyships

Kolibri Foundation was established in 2019 by Eileen, Leo, and Steve Farbman out of the Farbman Family Visionary Fund. By 2020, we embarked on a year-long dreaming and structuring process with movement leaders Lorraine Ramirez, Thenjiwe McHarris, and Cara Page. Cara and Thenjiwe continue to serve on our growing Board.

We come to this work as a multi-racial, multi-class, team with lived experiences as survivors of systemic and interpersonal violence, as well as people with disabilities.

We imagine philanthropy as extending beyond financial contribution to promote dynamic allyships that are aligned within our spiritual and political imperatives. We strive to solidify structures that will have an impact beyond the lifespan of the foundation and leave behind field-wide resources of knowledge, new funding streams, and most importantly people willing to be transformed in service of liberation.

A Statement from the Farbman Family

Kolibri has been a journey of growth and learning for our family. This project started as a dream to move resources to communities in a way that does not reinforce the cultural and systemic pain while shifting power out of our hands, and centering the voices and wisdom of those closest to the solutions. As an intergenerational Jewish family, we hope that this project can move swiftly, transformatively and influentially.

Our desire is to powerfully resource BIPOC-led movements and leaders that have the vision to take us into a new way of being, and to bring other funders with us. We desire that more funders follow our commitment to spending down resources boldly, ceding organizational power, and funding organizations that are underfunded on the front lines of systemic change.

We’ve come here after listening and learning, working with advisors and consultants from movement and the social justice philanthropic communities. Specifically, we were supported by the powerful consultant, Molly Schultz-Hafid and the Dream Committee of Thenjiwe, Cara and Lorraine. We started this journey months before the pandemic began. This collective crisis quickly pivoted our potential plans and we began granting to movement organizations and funding intermediaries as the Farbman Visionary Fund. Over the years since, we have been building with movement leaders, board, and staff to begin the Kolibri Foundation as a movement-led foundation you see today.

We hope that Kolibri’s visionary steps are shared and are of value to the community at large. Understanding that perfection is the enemy of the good, we are committed to supporting Kolibri as a vessel of social listening, welcoming difficulty and complexity, to fulfill the intention of movement work and of our own growth.

We welcome the opportunity to talk and share our story and learnings with other funders and foundations. Please contact us at eileen@kolibrifdn.org.

With care,
Eileen, Steve, and Leo Farbman

BOARD of Directors