Lerato Mashianoke is a social justice and womxn’s rights advocate who currently serves as a program manager at the Ford Foundation’s Office for Southern Africa.

Lerato has extensive experience in grantmaking, capacity building, organizational development, human rights research, communications, and program development in philanthropic, social justice, and human rights spaces. Lerato’s role at the Foundation is critical in supporting team learning and strategy. She leads capacity-building support for grantees, provides research and analysis, and tracks progress on the Foundation’s programs, on regional and global context shifts, and on the health of the field and organizations the program supports. She was previously a program assistant at the Foundation.

Before joining the Ford Foundation, Lerato worked as a Junior program officer at Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a New York-based nonprofit that supports and invests in independent media around the world. Through MDIF’s South Africa Media Innovation Program, Lerato focused on providing grants and equity financing, capacity building, tailored technical assistance, mentorship, and media advisory to grantees. Prior to MDIF, Lerato was a research and advocacy intern at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, a South African human rights organization that helps individuals, communities, and social movements seeking to protect and advance their socio-economic rights.

In addition to her role at the Ford Foundation, Lerato also serves as a board member for Quote This Woman+, a nonprofit that seeks to amplify the voices of womxn by advocating for gender diversity and inclusion in media with the aim of ensuring that womxn are placed at the forefront of news and narrative change; and as a co-opted member of the GBVF Response Fund Board which was established as a part of the national response to gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa.

In a world full of many injustices, Lerato has dedicated and committed her life’s work to address inequality by utilizing strategic philanthropy to challenge inequality and promote social justice. Her philanthropic experience has focused on human rights, civil society and governance, race, gender equality (with a specific focus on womxn’s rights and gender-based violence), natural resources governance, mining, land rights, and independent media.

Lerato holds a postgraduate managerial finance certificate (with distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a bachelor of administration with honors in public administration (cum laude) from the University of South Africa, and a bachelor of administration in international relations from the University of Pretoria.