Lani with the loves of her life - Jack and Katie - at the Bosque in New Mexico - one of her favorite places.
Lani Shaw
  • 46 years old
  • Date of birth: Dec 28, 1967
  • Date of passing: Jun 1, 2014
loving mom, peaceful warrior, nurturing mentor, passionate advocate, believer that all are welcome at the table, fierce and gentle

This memorial website was created by members of Lani's work family - those within and connected to General Service Foundation - in memory of our fearless and beloved leader. To know Lani was to love her. Thus many, many people loved her. We hope everyone will feel welcome to post stories, photos, memories and tributes to our most inspiring colleague and cherished friend. 

Also, please enjoy the beautiful and touching montage video of photos put together for Lani's memorial by Jennifer Albright: 

Finally, for those who wish to support Jack and Katie, donations can be made to the:
Lani Shaw's Children Fund
Alpine Bank
600 E. Hopkins Ave.
Aspen, Colorado 81611


Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Sara Samuels on 15th February 2016

"A memorial book about Lani's influence on the General Service Foundation family and community has been created by the GSF’s Remembering Lani Committee and is available to view and purchase via the link below. A huge thank you to the committee members, Pete Halby, Renee Fazzari, Zoe Foxley and Cleo Hill. And a very special thanks to Sol Hill for his work in creating the book layout and donating his beautiful images to the project.


This tribute was added by Renee Fazzari on 16th June 2015

"I wanted to share this update from the General Service Foundation about the ways that the foundation will honor our beloved Lani now and in the future.

Dear GSF Friends and Colleagues,

On June 1st 2015, GSF marked the one year anniversary of the passing of our treasured executive director, Lani Shaw. While it has been a year filled with emotion and longing, it has also been a year of perseverance and gratitude. The GSF board and staff dedicated ourselves this year, to honor Lani by living our shared values and further advancing the mission of GSF. We have learned from all of you and from each other what the possibilities are when people come together for common good. It is a metaphor for how Lani approached leadership and relationships. The social justice movements that Lani was committed to will forever be impacted by the legacy of Lani Shaw and her love.

Following is a letter describing the ways GSF board and staff will honor Lani marking the one year since her passing and for years to come. She is still walking with us in our work and in our hearts.

Remembering Lani,
The GSF Family

Lani was deeply committed to her community and she volunteered generous time throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. In this first year, we will honor Lani by providing three awards that feel personally connected to her interests and passions:

--$10,000 to Alex Alvarado and $10,000 to Anahi Araiza in the form of unrestricted leadership awards. A few years ago, Lani helped students of AJUA (Asociacion de Jovenes Unidos en Accion) - a group of DREAMER youth in the Roaring Fork Valley - lead a successful campaign to break  the link between high schools and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Lani was deeply inspired by these leaders who stood up for their community’s rights. In fact, she spoke about their courage on a live broadcast of NPR’s Talk of the Nation (she describes their story starting at 10:30mins). Alex and Anahi led the charge on this campaign, and Lani saw their bravery, dedication, and commitment to justice for all. Lani lent many hours to helping Alex, Anahi, and AJUA get access to power and plan their campaigns, even writing letters to the editor in her spare time. She was grateful to GSF’s grantee, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, for connecting her to this important work right in her backyard.

--$5,000 to Aspen Community School where Lani volunteered countless hours to help with her children’s classes and other issues at the school. Unlike most memorial gifts, GSF will provide this as general operating support to the school. Lani recognized the challenge of raising flexible funds, and pushed GSF to give all of our grants as general support. She was also passionate about increasing public funding for Colorado’s schools, and knew the deficits they faced. We know that Lani would most want to give the gift of flexibility and trust.

After making these one-time awards to people and places to which Lani was directly connected, GSF wants to keep Lani’s values and passion for justice vibrant and alive within the foundation.  To do this, we will set up a small “Movement Fund” to support “movement moments” and justice campaigns that resonated with Lani’s values, even if they are not a direct fit with our guidelines.

While we are still determining the process by which Movement Fund grant decisions will be made, we know we want the Fourth Generation of GSF’s family board in the lead – a goal that Lani herself worked tirelessly to achieve at GSF. We will also ensure that these grants are streamlined and low-burden for movement leaders. Grants will likely be invitation-only. Fourth Gen board members wrote a letter quoting Lani’s own words to help guide the direction of this fund."

This tribute was added by Kevin Sullivan on 28th December 2014

"Happy Birthday Little One. I miss you and think of you often."

This tribute was added by Steven Gottlieb on 15th September 2014

"I had the good fortune of meeting Lani on Semester at Sea.  My good fortune continued when I had the opportunity to live in NYC and Colorado at the same time as Lani.  I have many fond memories of wonderful experiences and conversations with her in cities, mountains and foreign countries.  There are many that come to mind.  Here’s one:  Stevie Wonder and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra – Denver, 1995.  Lani loved life and was simply a delight in every way."

This tribute was added by Dianne Rinaldi on 5th September 2014

"This comes from a letter I wrote to Lani's family.  I miss my friend…

I am so very sorry about Lani's passing.  She was a gift in my life. My heart is broken for Katie and Jack.

I love Lani.  I'm not ready to put that in the past tense. In recent years, our lives had grown in separate directions, but I will carry Lani with me.  Always.

From the time we were roommates on Semester at Sea, 26 years ago, Lani has been a loyal friend, an example of goodness and a light in my life.

I remember the night in New York City when Lani said to me she was thinking of moving to Colorado.  I told her that evening that if she went, I'd go with her.  And so we did.  We planned when we would resign our current jobs, we each bought cars and off we went.

That decision changed my life for so much good.  It came at a time shortly after my Mom passed away and I needed a new journey, a new direction, a new place to heal and to grow.  Lani understood much and she walked with me on that journey.

Lani has taught me a tremendous amount about caring, about giving, about compassion.

I will always remember Lani's joy, her infectious giggle and her bright smile. I'll remember her example as a mother, loving with an open heart and an endless wonder.

In a card Lani sent to me shortly before my Mother died Lani wrote, "I pray that things start looking up for you and your family and that you are all right during this rough time.  Take care and keep your chin up.  I love you."

I love her and I always will."

This tribute was added by Janet McCoy on 29th July 2014

"I was incredibly saddened to hear about Lani’s passing.    Lani was my best friend in those pre-teen/early teenage years when everything was interesting and dramatic.   I fondly remember all the times staying at the Shaw’s house in Simsbury listening to songs in her room.   When I went to Tennessee for one of my eye operations Lani sent along a cassette tape with 4 or 5 songs on it (way before the age of iPhones and iPods).    I listened to those songs over and over as I wasn’t allowed to read or watch TV.   To this day one of the songs, of course a Beatles song as that was our favorite back then, titled “In My Life” makes me think of Lani.  

Lani was an amazing friend to me when I lived in Connecticut and from what I have read about her on the internet, she grew into an amazing woman, mother and advocate.  

Darryl and Ann – so very sorry for your loss .  --Janet (Manning) McCoy"

This tribute was added by ip brinck on 19th July 2014


Seven weeks have passed since you were abruptly taken from this earth. I am still in disbelief. Where are you?

Not long before your last day in this life, I wrote to you about SharePoint. I had been using it daily, really liked it, and thought it could be useful for GSF. It was perhaps the most mundane topic we ever communicated about, and yet those last words now seem so precious.

Several months ago, I spoke with you on my cell phone while walking in downtown San Francisco, going from point a to point b. I remember ducking into the lobby of an office building to get to a quiet space. It was rush hour in the financial district. NOISY. I didn't want to miss anything you said, though I knew it would make me late to point b. I knew you'd share another kernel of wisdom at any moment, and I DID NOT WANT TO MISS IT.

Mostly I knew you at a bit of a distance: conferences, board meetings. Not until the last half of 2013 did we start working more closely together. At a distance, I observed you as compassionate, intelligent, grounded and strong. Closer in, all those observations remained true. The great part was seeing more of the layers. In particular, I was amazed by how you exuded strength through your vulnerability. That was certainly something I most admired about you and am trying to learn from. I still wear vulnerability as a weakness, but one of these days...

I don't believe in an after life (did you?), but I like to imagine that people who have passed on can still communicate in some way to those left behind. I swear that if you do get the chance to say hello, I WILL NOT talk to you about SharePoint. I will gladly duck into a lobby or even a latrine for godsakes, so I can hear every one of your words and your rich wisdom inside of them.

Thank you, Lani, for everything you have done to make this world a better place. If you are now in some kind of afterlife, I hope it is the world you dreamed of and worked so hard to create.

Miss you,

This tribute was added by Carrie Doyle on 11th July 2014

"I always admired Lani. She came to me with ideas that she couldn't fund but thought the organization I was working with should take on - and her ideas were great in that she saw where the gaps were in our collective work. She cared deeply about her community and put a premium on honest communication - which came as naturally to her as it is usually unnatural for those working with foundations. My thoughts are with her beautiful children, family, friends and colleagues at GSF."

This tribute was added by Kirsten Romm on 6th July 2014

"Mentor, symbol of hope, spiritual guide, peaceful warrior, fierce, gentle, kind.... All of these extraordinary words have been used to describe our Lani.  What most of us have discovered is that Lani was a silent soldier.  She quietly and steadily worked every single day advocating for those who could not advocate for themselves - seeking justice, finding solutions and changing lives.  And she did all of this without many of us ever knowing it.  Lani never looked for the attention or recognition that defines so many of us.  She simply fought every day for what she believed in and what she believed others deserved.  Her powerful message of healing and hope was not broadly advertised, it was conveyed by spending all her time in the best way possible.

So in knowing this now about our friend, the obvious question arises as to why she would possibly choose us as her friends.  No offense to anyone here, but how could any of us ever measure up?  Yet she did choose us, everyone of us here that called Lani a friend.  She chose us.

She chose lawyers, skiers, musicians, and coffee growers.  She chose teachers, designers, dreamers and builders.  She chose devout Catholics and cultural Jews, atheist and non believers.  Che chose successful and savvy business men and women and failed business owners - those who have climbed to the top of their professions and those who have struggled keeping a steady job.  She chose us, all of us, regardless of how we spent our day or lived our lives.  She continued to choose us and strengthen the bonds of friendship as we moved to Illinois, California, Wyoming, Montana, New York, Maryland and Maine - as we pursued our passions, she pursued us, never letting the distance effect the tie.

Lani chose us because she was wise, her strength of character was her capacity to make connections with people, despite their differences.  She was an intensely loyal friend who found comfort when things were uncomfortable, she found the familiar in unfamiliar places, she sought understanding in a world of misunderstandings - and forever establishing common ground with ALL her uncommon friends.

She embraced all of us with her gentle wonderment, kindness, acceptance and incredible tolerance.  And for that I am so very grateful.  And humbled that she chose me - chose us with our jagged edges, imperfections and short comings.  She challenged us to be better people and better friends by valuing the differences among us and validating those differences without judgement, envy or pity.

She was a thoughtful listener and a profound thinker and I believe her immeasurable spirit with be her legacy.

In the words of Nelson Mandela,

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.""

This tribute was added by Susie Lindstrom on 4th July 2014

"The more time that passes, the more I feel blessed that I knew Lani, and the more I miss her.  I usually think most about Lani on my commute to work.  Not sure why, but it’s the one time I am alone and have time to think about all that she offered to those of us that were lucky enough to have known her.  Kristen Ruble Romm mentioned at the memorial service that Lani chose friends that weren’t necessarily just like her or just like each other. I feel I am a beneficiary of her unique choice of friends.  My “type A” personality certainly wasn’t an obvious fit with her more laid back approach to life.  But, I always felt that she took a special interest in getting to know me and always made time to reach out, connect and ultimately nurture our friendship.  She visited San Francisco for work several times a year and I keep replaying our last conversation in my mind. We talked about being working moms, how we kept balance in our lives and she shared with me how her “Zen Teddy Bear” life coach, Howard, kept her sane.   She had learned to accept and be at peace with not being with Jack + Katie every day and having to share her time with them.  She mentioned that she knew in her heart, that every moment that she was with Jack and Katie, she was 100% dedicated and present with them.  This is what gave her comfort.  I’m hoping that that this knowledge will ultimately give Jack and Katie peace as they learn to accept and cope with her absence.
I had to leave to catch the last bus from the city home, and we weren’t done with our conversation. We texted back and forth my entire ride home– finishing what was cut short. Her last text to me said, “my girlfriends and co-workers are my emotional support”.  I could tell from meeting her co-workers from General Service and knowing the relationships she nurtured with her college and Aspen friends that this statement was true.  I am grateful for everyone that provided Lani with emotional support, as she has left me with a desire to be more like her. Thank you, Lani.  I miss you."

This tribute was added by Cleo Hill on 29th June 2014

"I had a dream with all of you and Lani this past night that I wanted to share.
I was sitting at a big, long, low table with many of us. I was sitting next to Robin Snidow from GSF. We were all sitting on the ground in a green meadow floating in the deep blue sky with golden sunshine. Around us were floating high rises.
On the table were platters of delicious food. I remember grilled white fish being served.
From these  floating buildings throngs of people were streaming down walking on air towards the table to join those already sitting and celebrate. I recognized Zoe and Griff and realized we were al there with a common purpose - joyfully celebrating something we had in common.
As I looked up I saw a dark head off at a distance that I recognized, I looked again and Lani smiled at me. I woke up in tears."

This tribute was added by Ellen Friedman on 19th June 2014

"Words are inadequate to convey all that Lani meant to me and to our work. Here is one attempt:"

This tribute was added by Marlene Fried on 19th June 2014

"Lani was an extraordinary and all-to-rare spirit. She was a model of wisdom, generosity, and grace, all of which brought so many to support her vision of reproductive justice. She has left an indelible mark on all of us and on our movement. I am holding on to how grateful I feel to have had the chance to work with her, even as I am mourning this terrible loss."

This tribute was added by Laura Garcia on 17th June 2014

"On behalf of Semillas’ staff and board, I want to offer my deepest condolences to everyone at the Foundation and to Lani’s friends and family. Our thoughts are with you in this time of sorrow, and we are convinced that Lani’s work will live on through the countless colleagues and grantees whose lives were touched by her vision for a better world."

This tribute was added by Ginni Galicinao on 12th June 2014

"Lani ~ Lani ~ Lani ~ How can this be. I love everything everyone has said about you ... so true. You, who so powerfully stood up for the underdog in a way that was fierce, yet so gentle that people actually listened to you. You helped make the message "heard." The rare gift of you will continue to shower down onto us for years and years to come. I am heartbroken. We are all here for you, your children and your family ... always. Love, hugs and kisses
(originally posted on Facebook June 3 2014)"

This tribute was added by Kathy Toner on 10th June 2014

"I want to add my voice to those already here to affirm what an exceptional person Lani was--not only because of her values, vision and exceptional skills, but even more for her warmth, kindness and gentle way of demanding a better world for all.  She was someone you could count on.  My thoughts are with her family and friends---she will be missed, and remembered."

This tribute was added by Margaret Ladtkow on 10th June 2014

"Lani was very recently in my home in Dallas, here with her extended family to honor her grandmother who passed away several days shy of her 98th birthday.  Lani's grandmother was my maternal aunt and I'm grateful that bond kept us connected over the years.  I remember Lani from her childhood days, with her gorgeous eyes and bright smile bringing such joy to her parents, grandmother, and aunt Donah.  Lani continually amazed us all with her educational and professional accomplishments.  Her proudest achievements, without a doubt, were her beloved and amazing children, Jack and Katie.  Her infectious laugh and the uncompromising way she lived her life will forever be etched in my memories of her."

This tribute was added by Lara Whitley on 10th June 2014

"Lani -- loving mom, peaceful warrior, passionate advocate, believer that all are welcome at the table, fierce and gentle spirit -- I will miss you. You brought love to the fight, always. Through your amazing example, you taught me so much. Your last message to me was to embrace vulnerability and today I have no choice. (originally posted to Facebook, June 3, 2014)"

This tribute was added by Lynda Parmely on 9th June 2014

"I did not know Lani Shaw personally, but saddened by her loss and the loss to her, our community.  Peaceful wishes to all that were honored to know her personally and in spirit."

This tribute was added by James Wagoner on 9th June 2014

"Lani was incredibly passionate about her work, particularly the initiatives that impacted young people. She had the depth and empathy to connect at an authentic level with youth activists and the toughness and determination to take on the tough issues without flinching. I admired Lani, and mourn her loss for her family, friends, and colleagues in the field. Requiescat in Pace."

This tribute was added by Melanie Havelin on 9th June 2014

"I posted the following on Facebook when I first learned the unbelievable news of Lani's passing.  This week she has filled my thoughts and I continue to struggle to accept that she is really gone.  There is comfort in knowing how many lives she touched, that at least she lived long enough for her kids to really know her, and that her spirit will always guide them as well as the rest of us who were blessed to have known her.


Absolutely devastated tonight to learn of Lani Shaw's insanely premature death. Lani was a friend and mentor to me during my years at the John M. Lloyd Foundation. She was the executive director of the General Service Foundation, a larger foundation run by the same family as Lloyd.

From my very first day at Lloyd, Lani called me to welcome me to the family. Over the next decade-plus, she offered me much-needed advice and support. As a sole staff person for Lloyd, Lani was my closest work-colleague over all those years. I cannot fathom how I would have done that job without her. She was ever patient, understanding, warm and kind regardless of how many times I called her or how bush-league my questions were. She was always there. A rock. Lani’s patient wisdom was an extraordinary blessing to me in my development as a philanthropoid.

More importantly, Lani’s vision and leadership within the General Service Foundation, as well as the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights, and beyond have made her too-brief years more impactful than most who live much longer. Lani’s conviction in the need for social justice for all was not just evidenced in her words, but also all of her actions. She held respect for everyone and created space for so many to have voice.

Younger than I, seemingly in excellent health, and raising two beautiful young children, her sudden death is utterly shocking. I am more impressed than ever that each day truly is a gift that we have no cause to expect as guaranteed.

Bless you Lani for all the good that you achieved. You brightened the world. Thank you!"

This tribute was added by Miriam Yeung on 8th June 2014

"They say these things happen in 3s. It will be hard for me to forget this devastating week when we lost three amazing women of color warriors who changed the world. First Maya Angelou, then Yuri Kochiyama, lastly Lani Shaw. Maya and Yuri had much more time on this world, but the impact Lani made was just as great.

Thank you for your big heart and your even bigger vision for the world, Lani. Your spirit will help me carry the work forward."

This tribute was added by Ann Dowley on 8th June 2014

"I loved being in the room, in a conversation with Lani. She believed in and cared for others so deeply, so honestly, that you could feel  possibility grow in leaps and bounds around you and in you. I'm so grateful to have known her in this world and feel her spirit soaring still. My heart is broken -- and broken open. My love to you, Lani, and to your dear children, family and many, many friends."

This tribute was added by Norma Wong on 7th June 2014

"e Lani.  before your time.  your name invoking the heavens, with deep understanding of your passion to create heaven on this earth.  with much aloha, we carry you with us."

This tribute was added by Bill & Mary Carlisle on 7th June 2014

"Lani was our great niece.  Our memories of her cover her lifetime -- from early childhood (she was an adorable little girl) and grew into a lovely, beautiful, intelligent and caring woman and mother of two of the most adorable, smart and loving children.  Distance has made it hard for us to spend much time with them, but there was the bond that relatives share whether near or far.  She was the only grandchild of our sister, Ann, staying close and making sure Katie and Jack held her near to their hearts.  We weep and mourn her leaving her children and parents and friends and all of us who loved her."

This tribute was added by Holly Bartling on 7th June 2014

"I put this in the stories section, but not sure if people noticed it is there. I just wanted to place it here so that it is seen.

Lani - Our North Star
Some people were put on this earth to teach us all to be better people, and to bring our best selves to all aspects of our life. Lani was one of those people. She brought a childlike wonder, curiosity and joy to work and life, stopping for every baby and dog in her path. She had an infectious giggle. She somehow managed to combine these qualities with wisdom far beyond her years. She lived her life and led by example, showering the people around her with love, kindness and integrity.

I have literally woken up every day for nearly ten years and felt grateful to work with such a special leader, as well as privileged to have such a special friend. She has shaped me and so many others in ways large and small, and I feel so lucky to have spent time with such a gifted mentor, incredible mom and true friend.

The ripples that flow from such a bright spirit leaving us far too soon are almost too much to bear. Lani always shined more brightly than anyone around her, and I am devastated at the thought of moving forward without her to light the way. My heart goes out to the many, many people that love her, especially her two beautiful children.

Seeing the outpouring of love for Lani has been heartbreaking, and a true inspiration. She has mentored and nurtured more people than I can count, and always had time to talk to those who needed her guidance, particularly younger leaders. She has been a North Star for so many of us, and a moral compass in the field of philanthropy.

Even in her death she continues to teach all of us to be our best selves - to hug and treasure the people we love, to create a world where everyone can thrive, and above all to lead with love."

This tribute was added by Sara Samuels on 7th June 2014

"At GSF's  2011 fall Board of Director's meeting we planned a surprise 20th anniversary celebration for Lani.  Each of the staff wrote and recited a poem to Lani.  It feels right to share it with everyone today.  

Ode To Lani at 20 Years

Twenty years of service means a time to pause and reflect
On Lani’s incredible tenure, there are many stories to collect.
A solid team for at least seven of Lani’s years at the Foundation
The staff inked a little poem to express our adoration.

It’s not often you find a boss who is creative, nurturing, and kind
Under Lani, our jobs are purposeful, never just a grind.
She inspires us to do our best while also having fun
She preaches balance between work and life and helps us get things done
She imbues GSF with an inspiring vision, in which we all believe,
It’s because of Lani’s leadership that we never want to leave!

So forgive us just a few more minutes as we take the time to share
How Lani has shaped our careers and just how much we care.

Lani trusts her gut more than anyone I know -
I was hired on the spot, and over the phone.
We met several months later at a grantee site visit.
She said, I’m looking for Holly, which one of you is it?

Through cross country moves and babies she’s stepped in for me,
Always taking the long view, and celebrating joyously.
She’s taught me so much about patience and vision,
And showed me that what gives us power is our passion.

We look to Lani as our fearless leader -
She sees so far ahead sometimes we don’t believe her.
If it’s taking us too long to get Occupy Wall Street,
She smiles knowingly and hooks us up to tweets.

She has positioned our foundation to be ahead of the curve,
She set that course long ago and has never swerved.
I know this is the best job I will ever have,
So I am doing my damnedest to make this gig last.

9 years ago I began at GSF, my how time flies
I was taking a risk, the road ahead I could not surmise.
I was making a shift to a brand new career
And was nervous at first, my job still unclear

But I could tell right away that things at GSF were different,
Lani set the tone, I relaxed, it was brilliant.
Thanks to Lani I’ve grown and stretched in this position,
And found new energy each year to further GSF’s mission.

Her memory is incredible, her problem solving skills, unmatched
When brainstorming with her, you’re never sure what will be hatched.
She is the keeper of the history and never drops the thread
Her twenty years of experience ensure our impact is widespread.

I feel lucky to be on this team with Lani as the leader
She’s so good at what she does, she just may be a mind reader.
She’s my confidant, friend and sometimes therapist
All I know is each day I work with Lani, I feel like a gold medalist!

There once was a time – you really won’t believe,
When Lani and I did the programs totally without reprieve.
It’s hard to imagine – looking at today’s incredible team –
There were ever days just the two of us cooked up GSF’s programmatic scheme.

During those days Lani began to go deep.
Asking penetrating questions – her learning curve was steep.
She practiced deep listening; let her heart lead her thoughts.

She led by example, never by “you oughts”.
She led me down the path of strategic clarity
Firmly anchored to moral vision- a definite rarity!

Her empathy is legendary – she knows just what you’re saying.
With Lani at our side, there’s been no need for praying.
Her wisdom, her kindness, her passion for justice
Helped guide me through the years to a program robustus.

But always the questions – the questions that tease,
That pull on the thread till we see the weave.
So I count myself blessed, and am more than pleased
To have been taught by our diminutive Socrates.

At the tender young age of twenty-four
Lani saw my potential and what I had in store
She took a chance and brought me on staff
Any wild ideas I had?  Lani never laughed.

She sent me to meetings where I was youngest by a decade
Empowered me to shake things up and learn a brand new trade.
As I explored a growing field, Lani gave me the authority,
Trusting me to find the strategies that could build a progressive majority.  

Yet as I’ve learned and listened, Lani is always there to process
She helps me crystallize the lessons and continue forward progress.
In her wisdom she has coached me out of any type of bind
She taught me if I trust my gut, the answers I will find.

Thanks to Lani, I found my calling and a career that I adore
And with Lani, there will always be another chapter to explore.
I count myself among the luckiest of anyone I know
To have a friend like Lani and a boss that helps me grow.

But…. Lest you think she’s always perfect, we shouldn’t give the wrong impression
Lani has her quirks and foibles, of that there is no question.
She’s been known to forget to feed herself, and to wear two different shoes
And who could forget New Orleans – that Hurricane had how much booze?
Her desk can be disorganized, her notes a crazy jumble
But Lani’s eye is always on the prize, and she is always humble

She doesn’t take herself too seriously and she asks us to do the same
Even when this work is hard, she keeps us in the game.
With all the challenges life can bring, she still finds time to giggle,
Lani’s joy shows through in simple things – a baby’s smile or puppy’s wiggle.

She has taught us to take chances and to warmly embrace risk
And if failure comes occasionally, she’s never one to tisk.
Instead she helps us learn from it and strive to do our best
Until the world’s a better place, Lani will not rest.

The ED’s job is not so glamorous and can require tough solutions
But we can trust that even behind the scenes, Lani’s seeding the next revolution!"

This tribute was added by Kirsten Romm on 7th June 2014

"Funny thing about grief and death is that you feel that you don't want to share the person you lost with anyone else. I want to hold tight to my little Lani and mourn alone because she couldn't have possibly meant as much to anyone else. But that is simply not true. As we have all seen in the past day Lani meant everything to everyone - her daily social activism to the women around the world, her fight for justice for the locals if Aspen, her incredible strength of motherhood, her loyal friendship. We all shared in the beautiful and magical peace and piece of Lani. I will treasure our time right after college in our New York hey dey. Lani you were there when Jon proposed to me, you were by my side at my brothers wedding in Denver, you held my hand many times and held me when things were tough with my parents, you generously offered your home to our family and my son when things were difficult - good times and bad never wavering never judging. Thank goodness for Kurt Kuehner who perfectly captured so many precious moments in our short time together a long time ago"

This tribute was added by shiree teng on 6th June 2014

"I miss you so much, dear Lani. You were a breath of fresh air with your kind and loving ways. I am forever inspired by you - to speak the truth, to listen deeply, and to stand on the right side of history when it's not popular or easy. You will live forever in my heart and in my soul. I love you."

This tribute was added by Ellen Goetz on 6th June 2014

"Lani was a true shining light: a straight shooter who knew her path, and never failed to be anything but kind and warm to those around her. It was such a great honor and pleasure to work with Lani, first as a program officer and then as an executive director at GSF. My thoughts are with her family, friends, and colleagues—may your memories of her provide comfort in the days ahead."

This tribute was added by Ellen Liu on 6th June 2014

"When I first met Lani a few years ago, I remembered walking away and thinking to myself, “Wow. I want to be just like her when I grow up.”  Lani exuded such wisdom, patience, simplicity, and kindness in the way she carried herself, and in the powerful yet gentle way she spoke.  Her leadership and mentorship to so many young people in the movement will continue to live on for many generations to come. I am so grateful to have crossed paths with you in this lifetime Lani, and I hope to live up to the values that you so fiercely espoused.  You will be so deeply missed."

This tribute was added by adam werbach on 6th June 2014

"Still in shock that you're gone. How can someone so full of life leave us so quickly, without warning, without the chance to fully honor you for who you are and what you've done. I take some solace in reflecting on the way you lived, the care for your kids, the way you moved from steely consternation to easy laughter, the way you would patiently explain the backstory to an issue, the way you set the table so that people could relate as people, not advocates. There is so much more. We miss you already."

This tribute was added by Silvia Henriquez on 5th June 2014

"Lani pushed for creativity, new ideas and humility. She was a mentor, a colleague and a leader. Lani's deep understanding of long-term social change work inspired so many of us to dream big... But she kept us grounded by reminding us of the importance of family, taking care of our selves and taking time to re-charge. I will always miss Lani but I keep with me all that I learned from her. My thoughts are with everyone who knew her-especially her wonderful children."

This tribute was added by Lourdes Rivera on 5th June 2014

"Lani was the type of person that you were always happy to see. When she spoke, you knew that you had to listen because you would learn something. She was compassionate, kind, genuine and respectful. We shared stories about our children. She loved hers so very, very much. An extraordinary person, she will be deeply missed by so many."

This tribute was added by Vanessa Daniel on 5th June 2014

"Lani led with love and an open heart. She lifted us higher with her warmth, calm presence and courageous voice for justice. I am filled with gratitude for the kindness and support she offered me over the years. I will miss her presence in the movement community tremendously. My heart goes out to her two children, whom she loved so dearly and always talked about with immense joy and pride, and to the many friends and colleagues who are feeling her loss. Her spirit lives on in the many people, organizations and movements she touched."

This tribute was added by Akaya Windwood on 5th June 2014

"Lani had a smile that lit the entire room. She had tremendous warmth, brilliance and such a generosity of spirit! She meant so much to so many -- she leaves behind a huge legacy of kindness and fierce concern for the well-being of everyone. Lani was a gift to the world, and we will miss her immensely."

This tribute was added by Beth Fredrick on 5th June 2014

"The relationship between philanthropists and grantees can be a delicate one, but Lani navigated hers brilliantly. I so admired her honesty and commitment to making the world better for women and her ability to make the work feel important (even if it wasn't quite right for support). Her beautiful, open spirit will be missed very much and my thoughts and wishes for peace go out to her family, friends, and everyone who benefited from knowing her."

This tribute was added by marcie musser on 5th June 2014

"Lani was a force for what she believed in.  She was extraordinarily compassionate & strong.   She was a fearless leader.  Her children & work will remain her legacy."

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This memorial is administered by:

Griff Foxley
Renee Fazzari
robin snidow


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