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Grata Fund - Our team

Isabelle Reinecke photoIsabelle Reinecke

Executive Director and Founder - Parental Leave

Isabelle founded Grata Fund to unlock the power of the law to fight systemic injustice. Based at UNSW, Grata has supported communities to bring litigation to force corporate accountability on climate change, expose abuse in offshore refugee detention centres, and establish legal rights to humane housing in remote First Nations communities; and has facilitated over $1M in philanthropic case funding.

Isabelle is a Churchill Fellow and the 2021 Women's Leadership Institute of Australia Fellow, awarded to women "who are leaders in their respective fields, women who have innovative approaches and the courage, conviction and capacity to create real change". Previously Isabelle was Legal & Governance Director, GetUp and Solicitor, Clayton Utz.

Maria Nawaz photoMaria Nawaz

Acting Executive Director

Maria Nawaz is a human rights lawyer with expertise in human rights, discrimination law and women’s rights.

Maria is an experienced public interest advocate, having advocated for stronger human rights protections with individual clients and the community at the NSW, Commonwealth and international levels. She was previously a Lecturer at UNSW Law, where she co-taught the UNSW Human Rights Clinic.

Maria was previously the Law Reform and Policy Solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre, where she led the centre’s law reform work on human rights, discrimination law, women’s rights, employment rights, and housing rights. Maria has experience leading civil society engagement with United Nations review processes, including at the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Prior to this, Maria was KLC’s Employment Solicitor where she ran many discrimination cases focussing on sexual harassment, disability discrimination and race discrimination. She has also worked in the Human Rights Team at Legal Aid NSW where she focussed on police torts and visa cancellations, and as a Legal Officer at the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

Maria is the Deputy Chair of the Law Society of NSW’s Human Rights Committee, and an Executive Councillor of NSW Young Lawyers. She was previously a co-convenor of the Community Legal Centres NSW Law Reform and Policy Network, and Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee.

Richard George photoRichard George

Head of Strategic Communication

Richard George has been an environmental and human rights campaigner for almost 20 years.

Before joining Grata, Richard worked at Greenpeace in the UK, heading up campaigns to stop forest destruction and human rights abuses in the palm oil industry. This included brokering new commitments to monitor for deforestation and introducing new levels of transparency into the commodities trade. He oversaw campaigns to hasten the end of the fossil fuel sector, including securing a 2030 phase out for new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, and successfully opposing a £7 billion Covid-19 bailout for the UK aviation industry.

Richard has supported local campaigns opposing destructive road and airport expansion schemes and promoting sustainable transport, as well as helped communities in Southeast Asia to assert their land rights. He has a master's degree in British History from London's Birkbeck University and a bachelor's degree in film and video production.

Chadwick Wong

Acting General Counsel

Chadwick is an experienced human rights lawyer and policy adviser, and has worked in the government, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Most recently, Chadwick worked at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre as a Senior Solicitor, Strategic Litigation, where he led their projects on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), disability discrimination and technology and human rights. He also led PIAC’s Children in Care project, assisting young adults formerly in foster care and who were victims of crime to achieve social justice outcomes.

Prior to this, he was a commercial litigator, working in areas including business and human rights and anti-bribery and corruption. He also has particular expertise in refugee and migration law, having run litigation on behalf of asylum seekers in the Federal Court and High Court. Chadwick was also Associate to The Hon Justice Mortimer of the Federal Court in 2017.

Chadwick has also been a policy adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, providing policy advice on a broad range of matters, including on the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and asylum seeker policies.

Chadwick has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Hons I) from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Laws specialising in International Law (with Distinction) from the Australian National University. He has also undertaken human rights courses from the University of Oslo, Norway.

Oliver ray photo

Oliver Ray

Strategic Litigation Lawyer

Oliver Ray is a lawyer and campaigner with an interest in human rights, climate justice and economic fairness.

Before joining Grata Fund, Oliver worked as a campaigner for GetUp and CHOICE. He has worked on a range of environmental, democratic and consumer campaigns including defending public investment in clean energy, and promoting Australian media diversity and press freedom.

Prior to this, Oliver worked in the Human Rights Team at Legal Aid NSW where he worked on police torts, refugee medical evacuations, and for the Prisoners Legal Service. He is also a volunteer community lawyer at the Kingsford Legal Centre, where he previously worked as an administrative assistant and student law clerk.

Oliver was tipstaff to Justice Lucy McCallum in 2019 and holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales.

Ruby Mitchell photoRuby Mitchell

Story Producer

Ruby Mitchell is a Director, Editor, Camera Operator and a Freelance Journalist.

Ruby first picked up a camera at the age of 8 to secretly film her Mother’s tupperware party and since then has always been fascinated by people and telling their stories. She has now grown her services and specialises in audio and video documentary, interview and journalism, and content creation.

Ruby has worked as a freelance Reporter and Journalist for the ABC, creating content for radio, television and print. There, she specialised in local and rural reporting and has predominantly worked from the Bega office where she covered the bushfire crisis and recovery effort in 2019 and 2020.

Since then, Ruby has established a small business dedicated to providing affordable and ethical videography and content services to community organisations and NGOs. She has experience working with First Nations People, young people and vulnerable communities. Her most recent projects include a short documentary following the stories of homeless children for a youth services organisation and a video documenting an art therapy program for bushfire survivors in Malua Bay, NSW.

Elena McNiece photoElena McNiece

Assistant Campaigner/Executive Assistant

Elena has recently completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University, where she specialised in environmental law & policy. Elena is keenly interested in reducing institutional disadvantage and supporting communities subject to environmental injustice.

Before joining Grata Fund, Elena worked at Marrickville Legal Centre as a client intake officer where she helped connect historically underserved communities to justice. She has also interned at the Community Empowerment Fund where she worked with residents of Durham, North Carolina to end the racial wealth gap.

Prior to her work at community legal centres, Elena was an intern to the executive vice president of Duke University to design and implement policies to help the community achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. She also assisted local government and school districts in Florida to reduce municipal carbon footprints and ensure all communities had a voice in drafting policies.

Elena has recently collaborated with the Humanities Action Lab to create a museum exhibit that explores racial injustice through the lens of African-American gardeners in North Carolina. The exhibit, titled Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice, is currently traveling the globe.

Crina Belevi photoCrina Belevi

Digital Campaigner

Crina has a diverse background in user experience design, project management and digital campaigning.

With an early interest in human rights and the environment, Crina studied Environmental Science and then completed a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Development. While studying, Crina saw an opportunity to combine a passion for creativity, advocacy and activism to make a positive difference. Since then, she has conceived, crafted and implemented projects for a wide range of not-for-profits, universities and businesses - from digital campaigns and online tools to content-rich websites.

Prior to joining Grata Fund, Crina worked as a freelance digital consultant supporting organisations in the not-for-profit sector to increase their impact online. She has held senior digital roles with Greenpeace and Medecins Sans Frontieres, leading major overhauls of digital strategy, communications and campaigning.

Belinda Lowe photo

Belinda Lowe

Head of Strategic Communication - Parental leave

Belinda is a human rights specialist with over 10 years experience building and winning human rights campaigns. She has worked across a variety of human rights issues including Indigenous justice, LGBTQI rights, death penalty, people seeking asylum, freedom of association and assembly and workers rights.

Before joining the Grata Fund, Belinda worked at Amnesty International Australia as an Indigenous Rights Campaigner, Media Adviser and activism and mobilisation specialist. During this time she led a campaign to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in Australian prisons with a particular focus on alternatives to prison, conditions of detention raising the age of criminal responsibility. This work included human rights investigations that exposed abuses against children in the Western Australia Banksia Hill prison which garnered national attention and led to changes in prison and departmental practices.

Belinda has also worked on the campaign to prevent the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia, the 2017 marriage equality postal vote and the campaign to prevent the lashing of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Belinda initiated Amnesty International Australia’s Human Rights Observer program, built an online rapid response network, led the development of the global nonviolent direct action guide and pioneered direct networking between human rights activists in the Asia Pacific.

Prior to her work at Amnesty, Belinda worked in the union movement for the Community and Public Sector Union and a range of other human rights, environmental and public health campaigns.

Belinda holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. She is currently studying for a Graduate Certificate in Political Economy.

 

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