Olivia Jefferson Director of Equity and Holistic Grantmaking
Inspiration: “It can be a challenge, but my legacy, at least for the people who came before me, is you don’t run from challenges because that’s more comfortable and convenient.” — Bryan Stevenson
What working in this community means to me: “I am committed to community power and engagement as vehicles for health improvement and long-term policy change.”
Olivia is the director of equity & holistic grantmaking at Greater Twin Cities United Way. She joined the organization in 2017 and is part of the team that oversees grant stewardship within the impact areas of household stability, educational success, and economic opportunity. Olivia leads the organization’s internal equity subcommittee, which seeks to ensure GTCUW is a best-in-class workplace by fostering an inclusive environment for its employees, regardless of race, gender, nationality, ability, age or sexual orientation.
Prior to joining United Way, Olivia contributed evaluation expertise at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. While at Blue Cross, she served as a bridge-builder- providing mutual understanding between program evaluation and the needs of the community. Olivia developed metrics that captured quantity and quality, numbers and nuance, and shifted the narrative from mere transactions to transformative evaluation outcomes and processes. She works hard to keep equity and humility at the core of her work.
Olivia is driven by the possibility of creating equity for communities of color. As a transplant to the Minneapolis area from Detroit, Michigan, she is still settling in to the Twin Cities. Olivia recently completed a three year tenure as board member of the Council of Minnesotans of African Heritage (CMAH,) a position she was appointed to by Governor Mark Dayton in 2015. Olivia loves art and served as the volunteer coordinator for the Penumbra Theatre for over two years.