Kalia Abiade is the Managing Director for Strategy and Partnerships at the Pillars Fund. She has transformed Pillars’ grantmaking by creating a long-term investment strategy that aims to empower and support American Muslim communities. In addition to overseeing the annual grant cycle, she is responsible for sharpening, communicating and executing the organization’s vision and strategy.
At the center of Kalia’s professional experience and community life is a commitment to racial equity and expanded opportunity. Prior to joining Pillars, she spent four years working with community-based organizations, faith groups, and national coalitions to advance justice for immigrants, Muslims, and communities of color in the U.S. She is an experienced facilitator and has trained hundreds of advocates and activists to hone their media and communications skills and to confront societal inequities. Through the federal TRIO programs, Upward Bound and Talent Search, she worked closely with high school students in Southwestern Virginia in their pursuit to become the first members of their families to graduate from college.
Kalia has more than 15 years of experience as a newspaper journalist and editor, and her analysis has been cited in The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and the Associated Press, among other outlets. She currently serves on the board of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and is part of a national network of trained racial healing practitioners through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation TRHT initiative.
Kalia is a graduate of the University of Florida and lives on Chicago’s South Side with her husband and their children.
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