The Andrus Family Fund (AFF) announced today that Manuela Arciniegas has been appointed director, after serving as interim director since January 2019. In her new role as director, Manuela is poised to lead AFF and champion its bold vision as the Fund approaches its 20th anniversary in 2020.
Since 2014, Manuela has served the Andrus Family Fund in a variety of capacities. Prior to her role as interim director, she was the Fund’s program officer, launching the capacity-building initiative S.O.A.R. (Strengthening Organizations, Amplifying Resilience) and co-managing a $4 million national portfolio of more than 50 grantee partners. She was also one of the key organizers of Education Anew: Shifting Justice 2018, AFF’s co-hosted biennial convening that brings together education and youth justice organizers, advocates and funders.
During her tenure as a community outreach fellow for the Lincoln Center, Manuela recruited and maintained partnerships with 12 large New York City-based nonprofits serving African-American and Latinx constituents, helping advance racial equity within the larger Lincoln Center campus. In this capacity, Manuela also designed and led the formation of a Student Advisory Council comprising 18 graduate students who informed the Lincoln Center’s public programs for youth. Immediately following the fellowship at Lincoln Center, she was selected as a New York Council on the Humanities Fellow for her activist programs addressing racism within Dominican communities.
Manuela fueled her passion for using Afro-Caribbean music as a tool for resistance as the Director of Education at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, where she curated programs for public access television, developed a youth and community internship and volunteer program and led more than 100 teaching artists to deliver education in NYC’s public schools and community organizations. Her education and leadership continued as she served as an adjunct professor at John Jay College for Criminal Justice.
Manuela serves on several philanthropic boards and advisory committees, including the national Funders for Justice/Neighborhood Funders Group, Youth First! State Advocacy Fund, the Youth Engagement Fund, Communities for Just Schools Fund, The Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing, the New York Women’s Foundation Fund for Women and Girls of Color, Healing in Resistance and others. She is a practitioner of traditional Afro-Caribbean cultural and healing practices and brings this approach to her leadership.
Manuela graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Harvard University, where she studied the intersections among democracy, social movements, gender and poverty. She is currently conducting dissertation research for her doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center, building understanding about the role that culture and Afro-Caribbean folk religious practices play in galvanizing the power of communities of people of color.