The MRG Foundation is pleased to announce that, after a national search, Se-ah-dom Edmo has been hired to serve as executive director, effective December 10, 2018.
MRG supports grassroots racial and social justice work throughout Oregon. Since its founding in 1976, MRG has provided over $17 million in grants to more than 1400 groups engaged in community organizing and building power to advance justice.
Mario Fregoso, of Medford, an MRG board member, grantee, and member of the recruitment committee, enthusiastically endorsed Ms. Edmo’s new appointment: “Throughout the hiring process, I was impressed with Se-ah-dom’s ability to encompass a statewide lens for her analysis of racial and social justice. As an activist, a grantee and a board member of MRG, it was important to me that we find a person that could usher MRG forward in our work of supporting activist-led grassroots movement building. Se-ah-dom is the right person for the job.”
Ms. Edmo will be succeeding Cliff Jones and Kelley Weigel, who have served as Interim Executive Director and Interim Deputy Director, respectively, since March. Mr. Jones shared, “Se-ah-dom is a critical thinker, accomplished activist, inclusive leader and visionary story teller. She will center MRG’s staff and board, justice activists, grantees, donors and other stakeholders in a collective drive towards racial and social justice. I am inspired by her presence.”
Ms. Edmo brings deep experience in community organizing and racial and social justice work across the region. She is a published author, engaged scholar and program designer with over 12 years of experience in creating, implementing and evaluating over $2.6 million dollars in program activities related to tribes and empowering underrepresented groups in the fields of education, medicine, science and public policy.
Since 2016, she has served as the Sovereignty Program Director at the Western States Center. Prior to that, she worked for nine years at Lewis and Clark College as the Coordinator for the Indigenous Ways of Knowing Program. She also worked as the Diversity Achievement Coordinator in the Office of the Dean at the OHSU School of Medicine, as well as at OMSI’s Salmon Camp and the International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education in New Zealand.
Her volunteer leadership positions have included President of the Oregon Indian Education Association; Portland Human Rights Commissioner; and Board Member at Columbia Riverkeeper. She was recently appointed to Oregon’s Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership.
Ms. Edmo’s ancestors are from Celilo, a fishing village along the Columbia River and one of the oldest known settlements in the West. She lives in Portland with her husband, James, and their children, Siale, Imasees and Miyosiwin.
“MRG has been a thought leader in challenging ideas of wealth, power and what it means to succeed in this political, social and economic ecosystem and in philanthropy. To be a part of growing and co-creating the future of an organization that has been so instrumental to our grassroots movement building is an honor.” said Ms. Edmo.
Carly Hare, National Director of CHANGE Philanthropy and Board Chair of the Common Counsel Foundation, highlights that “MRG is modeling its values with the appointment of Se-ah-dom Edmo, not only prioritizing leadership of an activist and justice advocate but also the selection of an Indigenous woman to this role. According to the Council of Foundations’ The State of Change: An Analysis of Women and People of Color in the Philanthropic Sector report: ‘In 2015, individuals with American Indian or Alaskan Native heritage constituted . . . 06 percent of executive positions.’ While this data point is frustratingly low, it lacks the nuance that the number of Native/Indigenous women running non-Native or mainstream foundations can be counted on one hand. The selection of Se-ah-dom Edmo is a progressive step to centering equity in philanthropy.”