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Leslie Credle is the founder and CEO of Justice 4 Housing (J4H), a grassroots organization committed to ending housing discrimination and homelessness for justice-involved individuals. Leslie knows how discriminatory practices impact formerly incarcerated people’s lives.

Her own complex experience as a returning citizen* fueled her drive to change Boston’s flawed system while helping others find a safe, permanent place to live.

"I owned my home, and [because] I had a safe, loving home to return to, [I believe] it is one of the reasons why my reentry was so successful," Leslie says in response to her work with Justice 4 Housing.

Leslie transformed her pain into purpose. Read on to find out how.

Meet Amanda Matoz-Gonzalez (she/her/ella), BWF’s new Board Treasurer! Her experience with BWF goes back to her time as a member of our youth leaders program in the 90s! Today, she’s looking forward to helping sustain BWF’s financial health and building our operational capacity. Outside of BWF, she’s Senior Manager, Assessments, at NeighborWorks America. Read on to get to know Amanda in our Q&A!

Can you share a little about your background in philanthropy or activism work?

"I was a member of the first cohort of the Young Sisters for Justice (in Philanthropy) program at the Boston Women’s Fund in the mid-1990s. It transformed my life. It was my first experience as a young woman that empowered me to be a decision-maker. What made the experience even more powerful was that my voice and experience was valued by adult women. As a member of the Allocations Committee, I helped make decisions that had powerful impacts on the lives of women and girls. Being a Young Sister, made me an agent for social change and justice."

What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Treasurer?

"This is an exciting time for BWF. In my role as Treasurer, my goal is to help sustain BWF’s financial health and build operational capacity."

Surprise — You have the day off! How do you spend your free time?

"Is it the summer or winter? If its cold, I’m turning into a binge-watching, couch surfer. There may be some wine-sipping, too :-)."

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about philanthropy, what would it be?

"A place of belonging for marginalized folks."

What are two fun facts about you?

"I lived in Barranquilla, Colombia, and taught high school English, also I will dance pretty much anywhere."

What’s one quote that gives you life?

"This may sound cliche, but, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” by Lao Tzu kept me going through the pandemic. Like many folks, the pandemic derailed my plans and made me feel helpless. This quote reminded me to chill out and continue the journey, one step at a time."

Introducing Kiarah Hortance (she/her), BWF’s new Program Associate! Kiarah comes to us from Tufts University's Africana Center and was head facilitator for the Black Women’s Collective, a resource group for undergraduate and graduate students at Tufts. We’re so thrilled to have her aboard! Learn more about Kiarah in our Q&A below!

Can you tell us a bit about your background/experience in philanthropy or activism work?

“My background is in the realm of student affairs, specifically, creating spaces, events, and resources for Black and Brown students to thrive holistically. On a personal level, I'm deeply invested in justice-based music and the power of the arts in enacting systems change.”

What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Program Associate?

“I thrive when I'm in connection with others, so I'm most looking forward to the relationship-building between myself, our staff, the board, and our grantee partners.”

What’s one of your favorite hobbies outside of work?

“I am a singer-songwriter, producer, and audio engineer! I release music under the name, Kiarah Alexa.”

What are two fun facts about you?

“I was named after the Lion King (Simba's daughter is Princess Kiara), and my friend calls me the Christmas Connoisseur because of my love for the holiday season/music.”

What’s one quote that gives you life?

"You're not as alone as you feel." -- Paramore