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Lambent Foundation leverages the critical role of arts and culture at the intersection of social justice. Through our grantmaking and creative programs we explore the impact of contemporary art as a strategy for promoting sustainable cultural practices in New York City, New Orleans and Nairobi.

How did Lambent come into being?

We experienced a rumbling starting in 2008, as we began to recognize increasing disconnects between critical progressive movement building and truly moving hearts and minds. Our aim is to shed light on the potential for aesthetics and beauty to serve alongside advocacy and organizing efforts for social justice.

How did Lambent become involved in supporting organizations in New York City, New Orleans and Nairobi?

We are drawn to landscapes where art and culture are infused in the fabric of daily life. From visionary spaces in our own backyard of New York City, to our nations cultural hub of New Orleans, to the networks of global artistic practices in Nairobi, these cities allow us to engage in rich and timely conversations. Through placed-based grantmaking our intention is to support not just the arts of these regions, but a more just world that encompasses the needs within these vibrant communities.

Michelle Coffey, Executive Director


Anna Overstrom-Coleman

Program Officer

 Anna joined Lambent Foundation in 2015 and supports the organization’s mission and vision through network-building activities and grantmaking. Previously, Anna was the program coordinator for the Open Society Foundations' Documentary Photography Project. There, she helped develop the department’s strategic plans and priorities as well as designed and managed global grants programs for individual, photo-based artists. She received her B.A. in Human Rights from Bard College. On the side, Anna is co-founder of Happening, a cross-generational and cross-disciplinary exchange series for women. Like all of the gatherings she organizes, Happening is rooted in shared meals (food!), recognizing our gifts, and taking care. 

Michelle Coffey

Executive Director

Michelle designs, implements and furthers the strategic agenda, leadership and vision of Lambent Foundation. Prior to the creation of Lambent Foundation, she was Director of Starry Night Fund and Senior Philanthropic Advisor at Tides Foundation. With a global lens, her areas of focus included Human Rights, Women/Girls, Criminal Justice Reform, Arts and Culture and HIV/AIDS. In addition, she serves on the national boards of The Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Care Center in East New York.

Anne Delaney


Anne founded the Starry Night Fund, which has been grantmaking in the arts and social justice since 2002. She has deepened her philanthropic efforts through the creation of Lambent Foundation. Anne is an artist and a member of the Bowery Gallery in New York. Ms. Foundation has recognized her for her philanthropic excellence with the Gloria Award for philanthropic vision, the Lower East Side Girls Club and the LEAD Award from the Women’s Funding Network. In addition, she serves on the board of the New York Women's Foundation and is a past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and Little Red, Elizabeth Irwin School.

Fund History

Lambent emerged from the past philanthropic work of Starry Night Fund that was founded in 2002 as a donor advised fund. Since 2002, we have invested in diverse social justice endeavors across the globe, providing grants to arts and culture, women and girls, racial justice, human rights and progressive movement building. Lambent Foundation became a project of the Tides Center in January of 2009.

Through the Lambent Fellowship in the Arts (2003 to 2005) thirty-one New York artists were awarded a three-year $21,000 unrestricted scholarship. We supported the following artists creative expression specifically fostering the intersection between art and social change.

2003: Elana Herzog, Nicolas Dumit Estevez, Deborah Grant, Ken Nintzel, Mary Ting

2004: Yoko Inoue, Emily Jacir, John Jasperse, Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry, Jeff Sonhouse, Cathy Weis

2005: Sanford Biggers, Patty Chang, Yvonne Meier, Julie Atlas Muz, Sekou Sundiata, Javier Tellez

2006: Francisca Benitez, Miguel Gutierrez, Lynn Jadamec, RoseAnne Spradlin, Judi Werthein, Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

2007: Nao Bustamante, Skowmon Hastanan, Rajkamal Kahlon, Ivan Monforte, Jennifer Monson, Clifford Owens, Caledonia ‘Swoon’ Curry

Tides project

Tides is a values-based social change platform with offices in San Francisco and New York City, Tides is a network of organizations made up of Tides Center, Tides Foundation and Tides Shared Spaces. Lambent’s partnership with Tides Center allows for comprehensive fiscal sponsorship services and enables us to invest more into our grantmaking and creative programs. Our grantmaking is administered through Lambent Foundation Fund managed by Tides Foundation.

Additionally, Lambent's office is located at Thoreau Center for Sustainability - New York, which is an environmentally sustainable multi-tenant non-profit center operated by Tides Shared Spaces. Located at 55 Exchange Place in the old JP Morgan Building, across from the New York Stock Exchange, it is the first shared community and conference space for non-profits in Lower Manhattan.