Chhandasi Pandya Patel is the Director of Inclusive Democracy at the Four Freedoms Fund. She came to NEO after serving as a Program Officer of the Human Rights team at the Heising-Simons Foundation and Heising-Simons Action Fund. There, she directed a portfolio at the intersections of immigrant justice and criminal justice reform, and immigrant justice and democracy, leveraging philanthropic dollars to expand resources for grassroots organizers and movement lawyers working to shrink the footprint of mass incarceration in immigrant communities.
A long-time immigrants’ rights advocate and grantmaker, Chhandasi has helped stand up grantmaking programs at a variety of intersections that touch the lives of immigrant communities, including around education, and legal services. She has also driven considerable dollars to building up movement infrastructure. Over her 15 years in the immigrant justice movement, she has also served as an advisor to grassroots movement groups on a variety of issues, including expanding access to philanthropic dollars led by Asian American and Pacific Islander groups and on growing cross-movement collaborations between immigrant justice and justice reform groups. Prior to her work as a grantmaker, Chhandasi served as a policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute where she led research, analysis, and technical assistance provision on language access to ensure linguistic and cultural equity in public programs and services, and as a journalist, most recently at The Wall Street Journal Online. She holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Economics from the University of Maryland at College Park. Chhandasi is a proud bilingual Indian immigrant, mother of two, wife, daughter, and sister.