A native Louisianian, Shaena Johnson brings over 15 years of organizing and advocacy experience as well as her extensive work in the community focusing on issues facing Queer and Trans youth in the juvenile justice system. In her 10 years of work experience in program design, grantmaking, strategy and planning, research and advocacy, organizational development, and strategic communications in the philanthropic, nonprofit, and academic sectors — Shaena has gained unique perspectives and experiences on gender, racial, and economic justice, and has provided $5 Million+ in resources directly BIPOC led and run organizations in the US mainland and Puerto Rico.
Labeled a “Unicorn” by her peers, Shaena’s experience with local grassroots organizing, advocating at global levels, and strong, expansive networks, gives her an unique advantage with collaborating across sectors and issue areas to break down barriers to providing resources to queer and trans BIPOC. It also allows her to effortlessly cultivate largely untapped ecosystems that create the conditions for systemic transformation.
Shaena has created and held leadership roles in grassroots organizations, legal advocacy organizations, public foundations and philanthropic initiatives that build resources for BIPOC led and run organizations, including Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, Louisiana Center for Children's Rights, BreakOUT!, Astraea Foundation, and Funders for Justice. Shaena has also been appointed to public office with the Human Relations Commission of New Orleans.
Specifically, Shaena investigated conditions of confinement for incarcerated youth and supported defense attorneys with zealous advocacy and investigation for court-involved youth in New Orleans as a Youth Advocate and later the LGBTQ Program Coordinator at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and as an Investigator at the Louisiana Center for Children's Rights. Shaena is also the former Co-Director of BreakOUT! Shaena has most recently served as a Senior Program Officer at Astraea, and is no stranger to philanthropic advocacy. Currently, Shaena helps social justice organizations and foundations achieve their goals in a way that is sustainable, thoughtful, and mission-driven.
Shaena’s formal education is in Philanthropic Studies, English and Mechanical Engineering.