Allister Byrd

Program Officer, Justice Oregon for Black Lives

allister [at]

To accept one’s past—one’s history—is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressure of life like clay in a season of drought.
James Baldwin

Allister believes in the transformative power of community-led giving, organizing and restorative justice.

Allister’s passion for empowering and amplifying the voices of the most marginalized people in our society was actualized during her time as a development associate at Black United Fund of Oregon (BUF). At BUF, she managed the grantmaking application process for grassroots, person-of color led organizations and learned about the history and nuances of the Black community in Oregon. She subsequently worked at ORS Impact, a social impact-focused research and evaluation firm where she learned the importance of data and strategy in advancing social change. At ORS Impact, she helped develop the Working Towards Equity Committee to center racial equity and culturally-responsive evaluation in all projects.

“We’re in a critical turning point in our nation’s history. The civil unrest erupting across America compels us to reimagine a future where this country works for everyone. The time is now to be brave and think boldly, and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to do that at Meyer.”

Allister’s volunteer work for the Social Justice Fund Northwest and as a board member of the Seattle Donors of Color Committee has revolutionized her understanding of radical philanthropy, participatory grantmaking and base building. These concepts inspire her to push toward a future of community-centric philanthropy. Allister holds a M.A in International Development and Human Rights from the University of Denver and uses a human rights-centered approach to understanding social justice work.

Allister joined Meyer in April 2021