Aspiration is led by a team of committed individuals who are passionate about improving nonprofit technology for social change, and we benefit from the expertise of an active and involved board of directors.
Executive Director Allen Gunn
Gunner works to help NGOs, activists, foundations and software developers make more effective use of technology for social change. He has worked in numerous technology environments from NGO to Silicon Valley start-up to college faculty to large corporation, serving in senior management, engineering, teaching and volunteer roles. He is an experienced facilitator with a passion for designing collaborative open learning processes, and is an active facilitator, contributor, advisor, and/or partner in a number of open projects, including The Tor Project, OpenReferral, Open Architecture Collaborative, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Simply Secure, and Mozilla. He is a board member of The Ruckus Society, Global Exchange, and Peer 2 Peer University, and also serves in formal advisory roles with CorpWatch, LocalizED, Ranking Digital Rights, The Center for Tech Cultivation, The Engine Room, The Everett Program, United for Iran, and The Rosetta Foundation. He believes in melding hard work with serious fun.
The common thread that connects all facets of Gunner's work is a focus on open approaches to capacity building and knowledge sharing in social change efforts. Aspiration prioritizes work that supports and contributes to open communities of practice who create technology and content that benefit nonprofit and foundation efforts. Over the past twelve years, the organization has designed and facilitated almost 500 extremely open learning and knowledge sharing events, in over 40 countries across the globe, predicated on a philosophy of active participation that puts each participant “in control of their own destiny”, in contrast to approaches that place audiences in passive listening roles. Aspiration publishes all licensed work products, including software tools, books, papers and training materials, under open licenses; for published documents and media, the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike, and for software the GNU General Public License whenever possible.
Operations Manager Joshua Black
Josh handles the day-to-day operations of Aspiration and assists with the planning and administration of our events. He is especially passionate about Aspiration's Manifesto, having worked in a performing arts nonprofit where he saw firsthand many of the technology challenges and hurdles that nonprofits face.
Originally from Salt Lake City, Josh received a degree in vocal music performance from the University of Oklahoma before moving to Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked for the Kansas City Symphony for three years. In the intervening years, he has worked in the financial services industry while continuing to pick up gigs as a singer. He is thrilled to be back in the nonprofit world and proud to be a member of the Aspiration team.
Technology Capacity Builder JC Sanchez
JC comes to us from the Everett Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he majored in cognitive science and global information and social enterprise studies (GISES). His work at Everett focused on immigrant education in the Santa Cruz county, specifically to take on the digital divide that exists within the immigrant community.
At Aspiration, he will support technology capacity building with social justice organizations in California, develop new resources for training, including Spanish-language materials, and coordinate a peer network of capacity builders and mentors around the state.
Community Leadership Strategist Willow Brugh
Willow looks at connections, systems, empowerment, and powerlessness and strives to both understand and improve whatever she finds. Most of Willow's work is at the overlap of humanitarian/disaster response and technology. She believes that affected communities are always the first responders, and by listening we increase equality, justice, and surge capacity.
She's been known to rant about hackathons, network effects, distributed response, multimodal communication, queer and category theories, and encryption. Willow tends to draw stick figures to explain things, and dyes pillowcases blue.
Human Rights Technology Lead Beatrice Martini
Beatrice leads Aspiration’s Human Rights Technology program. Her work focuses on: building technology capacity strategies in support of global nonprofit human rights organizations, capturing the scope and scale of the role technology plays in human rights efforts in different contexts, and exploring ways to create an inclusive, shared language when discussing human rights technology.
Originally from Italy, she’s based in Berlin, Germany. She has been working as capacity builder, curator, and facilitator with nonprofit organizations, grassroots initiatives, and funders alike. She’s passionate about exploring how intersectional approaches to technology can most effectively serve justice and rights, has been involved in open source initiatives and peer-learning projects and loves reaching productive outcomes through participatory processes. At Open Knowledge from 2013 to 2014, she organized and curated the Open Knowledge Conference 2013 and Open Knowledge Festival 2014. In 2012, she co-founded OpenTechSchool, a distributed community initiative organizing inclusive technology workshops currently counting 17 local groups around the world.