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Jessika Ava, MS, MPA

Equity-Based International Grantmaking Practitioner |

Philanthropy Consultant | NGO Consultant

Founder & CEO, Thrive Philanthropy

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Jessika has worked in the non-USA social justice philanthropic sector since 2010 within the sphere of food systems change, veganism, and One Health approach to Asian street animal welfare. Her areas of expertise include equity-based and Trust-Based Philanthropy approaches to funding, developing grantmaking meta-evaluations, and strategically facilitating grassroots organizational growth, with a special focus on Global South and social justice organizations. She offers consultation to both funders and grassroots NGOs.

Jessika is the CEO and founder of Thrive Philanthropy, a grantmaking firm that accelerates alternatives to industrial animal agriculture by strengthening frontline organizations and by facilitating global reach of philanthropic investments. 

She holds a Master’s degree in Biostatisics, a second Master’s degree in Program Evaluation and Nonprofit Management, and a Bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary Biology.

Jessika is a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation and one of the first Native Americans to sit in a leadership position in the vegan philanthropic space.


Jessika is founder and CEO  of Thrive Philanthropy a grantmaking firm that facilitates equitable funding access to international food justice advocates, she works alongside a team of BIPOC women from both Global South & Global North countries, all with lived social justice experience.

Jessika also developed and led one of the world’s largest international vegan grantmaking and capacity funds, where she successfully facilitated expansion of the vegan food justice movement across 70+ countries including regions historically neglected for funding such as Africa, SE Asia, and non-English speaking regions.  

In 2020, she launched the Africa Accelerator to expand funding opportunities across Africa by using an equity-based participatory co-design approach with grantees, which resulted in increased financial and capacity support to over 100 Africa-based food systems organizations. She is cofounder of Africa Vegan Restaurant Week, a domestically-led initiative to advance plant-based eating across the African continent and is cofounder of A Just World, an organization with a mission to strengthen food justice organizations within India. 

She’s an international speaker and workshop leader and has presented at numerous conferences in multiple countries. She has significant Global South living and working experience and splits her residence between USA and Nepal.

Jessika sits on the board of directors and advisory boards of multiple organizations and is the author of Brighter Green’s policy paper, Beyond the Pail: The Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in SE Asia. She has also worked as an Asian elephant conservation biologist in Northeast India, has managed a street dog shelter NGO in Nepal, has facilitated partnerships and oversaw funding of multiple Asian street animal welfare organizations using the One Health approach, and she laid the foundational work to halt the entrance of India’s first intensive dairy factory farm. 

She is a Rockwood Leadership Equity in Philanthropy Fellow, Sloan Indigenous Scholar Fellow, and American Indian Graduate Fellow.



Jessika offers services through Thrive Philanthropy, alongside Thrive's outstanding global team of BIPOC women.

Her services include international giving consultation, pooled fund management, optimizing grantmaking systems, integrating Trust-Based Philanthropy, grantee & NGO consulting, evaluations, and more.

Thrive Philanthropy also manages a multi-donor pooled grantmaking fund to facilitate global reach of philanthropic investments.

Visit here or contact for details.



"Jessika doesn't just give money, she changes lives"

Anonymous Grantee Feedback 

"[Jessika's led] grants programme  is one of the best grant programmes globally, supporting organisations and activists in the global south for developing regionally relevant campaigns suited to local contexts. Our programmes are strengthened by the mentorship we receive from Jessika and other experts in the accelerators, and help make our campaigns more impactful."

Anonymous Grantee Feedback

"Jessika brings a deep knowledge of animal protection organisations across the globe, and an objective sense check on the state of civil society affairs in many countries across the world. She's an amazing networker who has extensive experience in quantitative evaluation, research design, impact assessment, and international leadership."

Shweta S., Mercy for Animals

"Jessika has built a robust global network and developed innovative and timely programs that respond to gaps in the animal protection movement. I especially appreciate her commitment to equity and to prioritizing the needs of grantees. She is a true asset to the movement."

Hannah M., formerly The Humane League

"Jessika has a competent cross-cultural lens and appreciates how the grantees she supports employ their activism with consideration of their socioeconomic, political, and cultural orientation. For these reasons and many more, I wholeheartedly recommend Jessika for any nonprofit or international projects."

Jaya, formerly Animal Charity Evaluators

"Jessika is one of the most professional, kind, and intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.   I was so impressed with her knowledge that I asked her to join the board of an organization where I was an Executive Director. I have collaborated with many board volunteers throughout my career and Jessika is hands-down the most reliable, engaged, and valuable board member I have ever worked with. Jessika brings her A-game to every task before her and does so with the utmost diligent professionalism. She is thoughtful, mindful of being inclusive, and very proficient in her craft."

Zehra A., formerly Umano

"I sit on a Board of Directors with Jessika and we have worked together closely for over a year. Jessika is one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and sincere individuals, that I have worked with over the course of my professional career. Jessika possesses a broad range of unique and valuable skills. She is proficient in organizational development, strategic planning, and nonprofit legal compliance. Due to her vast international network, she's able to ascertain need gaps in her sector and build cross-sector bridges to fill these gaps."

Uma M.,MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center

"[Your grant ] has enabled us to expand from a community to a business non profit organisation, working with local plant-based groups and international companies looking to enter the Singapore market. This has been instrumental in providing a platform for these companies and positioning plant-based as mainstream. "

Anonymous Grantee Feedback

"Your help .... has allowed us to shift from a volunteer-run group to an established and nationally-recognised organisation."

Anonymous Grantee Feedback

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