Alliance for Girls mobilizes girls’ champions to address barriers facing girls, create conditions for their success, and advance systemic change to achieve equity.
To advance equitable communities in which every girl thrives.
We are the largest regional alliance of girl-serving organizations and leaders in the country. Our membership includes 100+ organizations that employ 2,400 people with more than 5,100 volunteers serving more than 300,000 girls across nine Bay Area counties.
Since its inception, Alliance for Girls has been catalyzing agencies and systems to work strategically, passionately, and collectively to dramatically shift gender-specific realities and to ensure that the next generation of women and girls realize their full potential. View our timeline →
Our Spirit: Inclusiveness, Collaboration, Fearlessness, Self-Care, Participation
Our Goals: Leadership Development, Collaboration, Research, Advocacy
That those closest to the problem are closest to the solution
In moving beyond the gender binary
That diverse leadership is more effective leadership
In the power of the collective
Founding Executive Director
Emma MayersonEmma Mayerson is the Founding Executive Director of Alliance for Girls (AFG), the nation’s largest membership association of girls-serving organizations. Under Ms. Mayerson’s leadership AFG has become the nation’s largest regional alliance of girls’ organizations, working collectively to ensure girl-serving organizations are more connected, more effective and better able to prepare the girls of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. Prior to AFG, Mayerson was a community organizer for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and worked in development for the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco and the Women’s Foundation of California. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, ProjectGlimmer, and the Jewish Community Federation’s Impact Grants Initiative. Mayerson is a recipient of Oasis for Girls’ Spark Award for Visionary Leadership, the National Council on Jewish Women’s Outstanding Advocate for Social Change Award, the Delilah Beasley Award, Love Never Fail’s Advocacy for At-Risk Girls Award and the National Girls Initiative Innovation Award. She has also received honors in recognition of her leadership from the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women and Equal Rights Advocates. Her work has been featured on CBS Channel 4 News, ABC 7 News, KCBS, the Oakland Post, NPR’s All Things Considered and Telemundo.
Director of Programs
Livier Gutiérrez joined Alliance for Girls’ (AFG) staff in December 2017 as the director of programs. In this role, she provides research, development, and programming support and strategy to the organization. She oversees the organization’s youth participatory action research and evaluation efforts, including the research associated with the Meeting Girls Needs Initiative and the Young Women’s Initiative. She also works in partnership with member organizations and young women in implementing the Young Women’s Leadership Board, a non-profit board development program for young women of diverse backgrounds. Livier Gutiérrez has worked on the intersection of research, practice, and philanthropy as it pertains to preventing community violence for over a decade. Prior to joining AFG, she worked as a researcher at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, a research and policy organization, and as the director of the violence prevention department at Enlace Chicago, a community-based organization in Chicago’s Little Village community. Her violence prevention work has focused on undocumented and (im)migrant communities, justice-involved youth, and the intersection of violence that occurs at home and on the streets. Livier has a background in research, evaluation, and collective strategies, including leading and evaluating collective impact efforts and providing direct, mental health and restorative justice services at schools with youth and families in Chicago, Illinois and the San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Gutiérrez earned her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in violence prevention research, policy, and practice. Her Master’s thesis explored girls’ involvement and association with gangs and resulted in a curriculum for girls at risk of becoming associated and involved with gangs. Ms. Gutiérrez also holds a B.A. in sociology and social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Gutiérrez’ professional mission is to support service providers and community members by better bridging research and practice to create systemic change for individuals in all points of the gender spectrum.
Director of Operations & Membership
Kailin Chou joined Alliance for Girls’ staff in July 2014, providing broad support for leaders of girl-serving organizations, managing membership engagement and outreach, developing Alliance for Girls’ communications, and managing the organization’s operations. Since joining, Alliance for Girls has become the largest alliance of girls’ organizations and champions working collectively to effect powerful change for girls, young women, and their communities.
Ms. Chou has a strong passion for supporting children, youth, and marginalized communities. She has years of experience in the nonprofit sector, both in direct service and in management and administration. This includes mentoring children, supporting residents at a homeless shelter, developing the digital strategy for a large international NGO, consulting local nonprofits, and leading awareness campaigns on human trafficking.
In 2012, Ms. Chou earned her Masters in Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and International Development. Her studies culminated in a consultancy for the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, an alliance of over 30 stakeholders in Monterey County working together to reduce gang violence in Salinas and its surrounding areas.
Ms. Chou also holds a B.S. in Management Science/Economics from the University of California, San Diego. A Bay Area native, she enjoys cooking, the outdoors, art and design, traveling, and learning languages.
Haleema Bharoocha joined Alliance for Girls’ staff in June 2019, as the Advocacy Manager to build out a girl’s policy agenda and mobilize alliance members for gender justice.
Haleema is a sociologist, public servant and change maker driven by her commitment to the collective liberation of all people. Uplifted by generations of women of color in her family, Haleema centers her work in compassion, justice, and service. Following the teachings of the Quran which says “stand firm in justice even against yourself and your parents,” Haleema speaks truth to power, practices freedom, and decolonizes her mind.
She believes in the power of people to make systematic change. Outside of Alliance for Girls, Haleema is a consultant and trainer, facilitating equity-focused workshops for advocates on topics including bystander intervention, Islamophobia, racial equity, and gender justice and has trained over 500 people.
Haleema currently serves on the SheLelectricity Youth Leadership Council where she supports the development of digital ecosystems for girls of color, a Board Member of the Muslim Democrats PAC of Alameda County that civically engages the Muslim community and holds public officials accountable, and a self defense trainer at Malikah, a nonprofit that builds safety and power for all women. She is also a 2018-19 Women’s Policy Institute Local Fellow on the Alameda County Criminal Justice team.
Haleema studied Sociology at Seattle University, where she founded the Gender Justice Center, a student-led community center serving gender non-conforming, trans*, and female-identifying students, which provided trauma-informed healing circles, access to lactation facilities, non-binary sex education, and a free community food and hygiene pantry. Her work was featured in the Seattle Times #UsToo highlighting the voices of Muslim women of color. Her views have been shared in Teen Vogue, and Gizmodo and other media outlets.
Prior to her time in Seattle, she interned at the Council on American Islamic Relations and at the Juvenile Justice Courthouse in Santa Clara County where she served as an analyst for the Gender Responsive Task Force.
Outside of organizing and social justice work, you can find Haleema at her local CrossFit gym where she does weightlifting or at the beach drinking coffee.
Nakia Dillard joined Alliance for Girls in February 2019 as the Program Coordinator. Her role supports AFG’s systems-change work to build the capacity of girl-serving organizations and school systems to better meet the expressed needs of girls. She also serves as a liaison between representatives from the school districts, schools, community organizations, and middle- and high-school age girls throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Her role assists the ongoing research and implementation directly associated with the Meeting Girls Needs Initiative, the Young Women’s Initiative, and the Young Women’s Leadership Board.
Nakia brings over a decade of experience working to advance the health, leadership, and social and emotional wellbeing of young people in the Bay Area. Her professional background in youth development work includes the areas of public health, social justice, workforce development, literacy, personal development and self-care. She has worked in partnership with various community-based organizations, youth centers, schools, county departments and young people. Girls and young women’s self-empowerment has been at the core of Nakia’s values and work for many years.
Although Nakia is new to the Alliance for Girls team, she is not new to the organization. After starting her own girls’ empowerment program (Y-LEAP) a few years into her journey she was introduced to Alliance for Girls and soon became a member. She participated in former Women of Color Executive Director meetings, she attended and was a guest presenter during previous Alliance for Girls Annual Conferences, and has maintained a long-standing relationship with the organization.
In 2012, Nakia earned a Bachelor of Science in Community-Based Health Education at San Francisco State University. She is the recipient of the OUSD Outstanding Service Award, 2009, and San Francisco State University’s Zoe Clayson Social Justice Award, 2012. She has served and continues to serve as a life coach and mentor to women and girls. Personally, Nakia enjoys spending time in nature, expressing her creativity through crafts/jewelry making, and practicing self-care.
MD Spicer-Sitzes (spy-sare sites) joined Alliance for Girls staff in May 2019 providing communications support to build strategies that amplify the experiences and expertise of girls and their champions, equip girls’ advocates and educators to better serve girls, lead collective advocacy and action towards systemic change, and support organizational development. Before becoming a staff member, MD was a proud Alliance member for two years. As a non-binary queer identified person, MD loves how the AFG definition of “girls” refers to gender expansive youth (cis girls, trans girls, non-binary youth, gender non- conforming youth, gender queer youth and any girl-identified youth).
MD is a veteran volunteer with Building Allies, an organization that trains people in positions of power to become Active Allies to transgender and gender expansive people. MD has an elevated passion for supporting LGBTQ+ youth in general, volunteering and facilitating in various LGBTQ+ accepting spaces such as The LGBT Center in San Diego and PRIDE Seattle. MD is a trained Be Body Positive facilitator, and has developed two workshops; ‘Queer Bodies’ and ‘Queer Fertility’. MD also has a passion for building economic and wellness equity in marginal communities. In 2014, MD co-founded the L.A. Coop Lab, an organization building capacity for worker ownership in Los Angeles. Other collaborations held by MD in the past include; The Arizmendi Association, Mandela Grocery Cooperative, the Food Chain Workers Alliance, The Urban Environmental Policy Institute, Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC-LA), and NARAL.
MD holds a master’s degree in Urban Sustainability, the study of people and the planet, and a bachelor’s degree in Urban Communities and the Environment. MD also enjoyed studying queer theory, education and psychology in college. MD spent over 15 years in the restaurant industry before an academic pursuit, and held roles such as: busser, prep cook, bartender, manager and professional server. MD worked for dozens of chefs in 9 cities across the United States, from diner-style cafes to the Grammys. MD has developed a unique perspective of worker equity and food justice issues from these dynamic industry experiences.
MD loves planting, growing and making food for friends and family, hiking the forests of the Bay area, storytelling that encourages justice and contributing to systems change work. MD believes that effective communications can elevate and amplify experiences in order to change systems for the better. MD has an awesome wife named Cathy and they enjoy life together in Richmond, along with a rambunctious bunny rabbit named Bowie.
Alliance for Girls' work is possible thanks to the leadership, wisdom, and dedication of many incredible girls' champions.
Here are some of them below.
The Young Women’s Leadership Board convenes high school aged young women of diverse backgrounds to inform the work of Alliance for Girls and to increase board diversity by training and developing them as non-profit board members.
The Research & Communications Committee is responsible for gathering resources and organizing content for Alliance for Girls' blog and quarterly newsletter. The committee curates the most pressing issues in the news as well as outreaches to members to produce op-ed pieces or blogs.
The Advocacy Committee is responsible for guiding Alliance for Girls' work to advance systems change. The committee is tasked with co-creating AFG's Girls Policy Agenda by providing detailed feedback, identifying the political feasibility and will of policy, and working closely with their community/constituents to bring key input into the agenda.
2009: Founding Members Convene
Directors of eight girl-serving organizations convene to confront the shared challenges and barriers they face in fully realizing their missions with emphasis on:
- Lack of support for leaders of girls' services
- Lack of infrastructure to share resources, collaborate and refer girls
- Lack of advocacy for girls’ programs
2012: Official Launch
Organizing Conference is held with 80 organizational leaders to identify individual and sector-wide needs within the framework of three programming areas:
- Self-Care: Leadership development for staff of girls' services
- Collaboration: Online directory of girls' services and opportunities
- Advocacy: Unified voice for seat at decision-making tables
As well as shared values:
- Spirit: Inclusiveness, collaboration, fearlessness, self-care, participation
- Goals: Leadership development, collaboration, advocacy
2012-Present: Realizing the Vision
Alliance for Girls continues to develop, refine and expand its programming in line with the organizing vision:
- Leadership Development: Knowledge sharing, relationship building and training between agencies
- Collaboration: Growth from eight to 100+ members, enabling greater resource-sharing and collaboration
- Research: Production of original, girl-led and community-driven research reports on the lived experiences of girls
- Advocacy: Development of strong voice to effectively advocate for girls and girls' services
Some key stats:
- 200 total members
- 85% membership renewal rate
- 50+ collaborations between members