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Swift Foundation can be contacted at:

1157 Coast Village Road, Suite A
Santa Barbara, CA 93108

Please note that Jennifer Astone lives in the Santa Cruz area.

Grant Maintenance: MCM, Amy Gresh at info[at]
General Contact: info[at]

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Jennifer Astone, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Executive Director: jen[at]

Jennifer Astone joined the Swift Foundation as managing director in January 2011. Jennifer has wide-ranging academic and philanthropic experience having worked as an applied anthropologist at: California State University Monterey Bay, creating a center for academic preparation; the Global Fund for Women, focusing on women’s human rights in Africa; and the Firelight Foundation, leading the development of a small grants model to community-based organizations addressing children affected by AIDS.  She guided the Firelight Foundation as executive director for seven years before leaving in 2008 to start a consulting business and working with organizations such as: New Field Foundation, Association of Small Foundations, Africa Grantmakers Affinity Group, Grantmakers without Borders and United Nations Fund for Gender Equality.

Jennifer was first led to these areas of work after having spent two years in a rural village in Kolda, Senegal with the Peace Corps – where she learned languages Pular and Wolof – following the completion of her undergraduate studies at Barnard College. This experience was followed by work at the African Development Foundation where as a grants analyst, she became interested in how grassroots giving could empower and transform communities.

She continued her studies in anthropology at Binghamton University where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. She focused on gender, agriculture and social change over three generations in a rural area of Mali, Republic of Guinea. Her dissertation combined an understanding of how macroeconomic influences under colonialism, early independence and globalization influenced local knowledge, gender roles, and local agency.

Jennifer has spoken widely and served on numerous international committees including: the Africa Grantmakers Affinity Group Executive Committee, the Council on Foundations and European Foundation Centre Joint Working Group on Accountability in International Grantmaking, and co-founded the Coalition on Children Affected by AIDS. Her work has focused on promoting community-led development and on reaching the disenfranchised.

More recently, she assisted International Funders for Indigenous Peoples with their Grantmaking Guide for Indigenous Peoples. Jennifer has had a long interest in supporting Indigenous Peoples rights and voices.


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