Covid-19 Update

These are uncertain times around the world. We are all trying to make sense of how to live during a pandemic while supporting our communities. What is certain for us is that we are committed to the leadership of grassroots organizations in this moment and into the future. They have been leading long-standing work to advance equity and justice while ensuring the safety and long-term resilience of frontline communities for years. They have the clearest view of solutions.

With Covid-19 surely adding to our grantee partners’ already-increasing workload, we are extending support to navigate and address emerging needs. We will continue to provide general operating support, multi-year grants, and simplified reporting. We encourage our partners to reach out to us with needs and concerns, and we will do our best to provide support and make accommodations. While our staff has shifted to working remotely, our grantmaking and operations will continue uninterrupted. We will check back in as the environment settles.


In hope and solidarity,


Join our Board of Directors

We are currently seeking three new members of our Board of Directors to support and strengthen the Foundation’s programs, mission-aligned investment strategies, and governance in collaboration with our grantee partners, staff, and existing family and non-family Board members committed to advancing our mission to bring about a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. 

About you:

We are looking for candidates that either have deep knowledge in mission-aligned investing and impact investing or extensive experience in grassroots organizing and social movements in the United States. Our prospective Board members would also ideally have networks and/or expertise in one of the three areas: Indigenous-led work in the United States, grassroots organizing in Mississippi or New York state, and/or community wealth-building. We especially encourage nominations of people of color and people of all gender identities. Prior experience serving on nonprofit boards or experience in organizational development is preferable.


Our Board of Directors has a legal responsibility to provide oversight and accountability for the organization, which includes reviewing, adopting, and monitoring organizational policies, approving grants recommended by the staff, overseeing the organizational budget, and hiring and supervising the Foundation’s President. In recent years, the Noyes Board has been exploring new ways to best meet the governance and oversight responsibilities of a small private foundation. 

Prospective members should have the time and flexibility to engage in meetings and respond to email and other communications in a timely way. Noyes Board members participate in three Board meetings a year that consist of at least one in-person meeting (usually in New York City) and conference calls. Board members are also asked to be on one board committee each year over the course of their term starting in January 2020.

How to apply:

Please send applications to by Friday, September 27, 2019.

Your application should include a resume and a cover letter (no longer than two pages) that answers three questions:

  • Why are you interested in serving as a member of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation Board of Directors?
  • Briefly outline what your unique contributions would be as a member of the Board. 
  • Briefly describe your relationship to social justice movements or impact investing and how does it relate to your work?

Welcoming our new president, Rini Banerjee

Rini Banerjee
Accomplished foundation leader Rini Banerjee brings decades of experience working to advance social justice and a commitment to transform philanthropic practice. © Sarah Tew Photography

The Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation is pleased to announce that Rini Banerjee will join the Foundation as its fourth president and first woman to lead the foundation. Banerjee’s appointment concludes an extensive nationwide search that began last summer. She will assume the position January 1, 2019.

“Rini has the track record, extensive experience, and deep commitment to social justice that we were looking for in our next president,” said Steven Godeke, Chair of the Board. “Her understanding of movement building through a racial and gender lens makes her a powerful voice for change. Rini is the right person at the right time for Noyes as we seek to build the power of people directly affected by injustice.”

Banerjee brings more than twenty years of experience in social justice philanthropy. As the first executive director of the Foundation for a Just Society, she led the organization from its startup phase to its growth into one of the top global funders committed to advancing the rights of women, girls, and LGBTQI people. Throughout her career, she has worked to encourage collaboration, build trust and relationships with movement leaders, and organize the philanthropic community to increase giving for social justice issues. She also brings extensive leadership and programmatic experience from her work at the Overbrook Foundation and the New York Women’s Foundation.

“We are on an exciting journey that is built on the strength of our past and is full of opportunity for the future. I am confident in Rini’s ability to fulfill the family’s legacy and commitment to equity and justice for generations to come,” said Jenifer Getz, family board member.

“I am very excited to join the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation as its next president,” said Rini. “I look forward to building upon the foundation’s track record of integrating social justice grantmaking and mission-aligned investing strategies in ways that are accountable to those on the frontlines who work toward a creating just, equitable and sustainable world.“

Rini is a trustee of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and Board member of Funders for Reproductive Equity, and has co-created or served on the boards of the NYC-based Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, the Groundswell Fund, and the South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!). She was a past Board Chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). She is also a Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading from the Inside Out (LIO) Fellow and RSF Integrated Capital Fellow. She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a BSc in finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

President Search for the Foundation

The Board and staff of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation are proud of the work we do to support grassroots organizations and movements working to change environmental, social, economic and political conditions in the United States. We continue to pursue opportunities to increase our impact and deepen our commitment to creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.

We are announcing an exciting opportunity for a committed and visionary nonprofit leader to join us as Noyes’ new President and build on seventy years of social change work. This motivated and ambitious leader will shape and enhance Noyes’ grantmaking and impact investing strategy, help to build Board capacity, and seize near- and long-term opportunities for increased impact in the field of social justice. Find out more about this opportunity.

As we initiate a nationwide search for a new President, Noyes will continue to play a pivotal role in supporting grassroots organizations and movements in order to effect social change. The commitment of our grantees and the communities we serve continues to be the bedrock that allows us to drive social change movements forward and create a more equitable world.