On Wednesday, Oct 10 when friends and family gathered to celebrate Katherine Acey’s 20 years as Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, it was laughter and appreciation that prevailed. There were easily three generations of feminists, young grantees, people from all walks of life, and supporters from both coasts who had gathered to pay tribute to this champion of lesbian causes.
Best known for her radical efforts in achieving social justice for women, Acey was cited for her “decisiveness and radical vision” by long-time feminist Cheryl Clarke. In one of the many hilarious moments, Marjorie Hill toasted Katherine with her “favorite quote” from Dr. Martin Luther King, “We must constantly build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear”.
Moving right along the dyke theme, Dr. Hill and others enumerated Acey’s accomplishments as an activist and advocate of social change. To put it simply, Michael Seltzer, a pioneer in the field of nonprofit management and philanthropy commented, “Katherine has made the world a better place.” From 1982 when she served as the Associate Director of the North Star Fund to her leadership role in the Women’s Funding Network, to her participation on the boards of Women in the Arts, the Center for Anti-Violence Education and MADRE among others, Katherine’s commitment to philanthropic endeavors seems boundless.
At Astraea where she began as a Board Member in 1987, Acey has been at the helm of the organization, generating grants to 181 organizations in 99 cities and 39 countries, issuing $1.9 million in grants this year alone. As a result of her efforts and tireless commitment, Astraea has recently been gifted an anonymous $1.5 million. n