Headshot of Brandon Gleaton. He has a groomed beard/mustache and is wearing a blue and orange plaid suit with a blue tie.

The Spark Justice (SJF) Fund is thrilled to share that we’ve welcomed Brandon Gleaton to our team as Program Officer! Brandon is committed to movements that support systemic change for the greater good, and brings over a decade of experience working in K-12 schools, adult education, higher education, and the non-profit space to Borealis Philanthropy. 

Access and opportunity are central to Brandon’s work. He previously served as Executive Director of the Hazel Park Promise Zone, a college access and success non-profit that supports young people to and through college or trade school. Outside of work, Brandon has committed his time supporting organizations and movements that are at the intersections of his identity and passion. Brandon serves as a board member for Affirmation’s Community Center, one of Michigan’s most prominent LGBTQ advocacy and programming organizations, and Arts & Scraps, a metro-Detroit youth-centered STEM non-profit. He also ran for and won a precinct delegate elected position to engage and increase voter turnout in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

We spent some time learning about what brought Brandon to the SJF and the principles that guide his work. Learn more below!

Brandon Gleaton, Spark Justice Fund (SJF) Program Officer

Pronouns: he/him/his

Where do you come from? (place of origin or growth, racial and/or ethnic identification etc.) 

I identify as a Black American. I was born and raised on the eastside of Detroit by my southern born, Baptist grandmother. In my view, many Black people from Detroit are southerners with fur coats. 

Does your identity or background inform and influence your work? If so, please feel free to share how/why. 

Absolutely, it does. Our identities and background are the lenses through which we view the world. I identify as a Black, gay, Christian, male, and midwesterner, in that order. My efforts have centered on uplifting and supporting people, leading with grace and compassion. It’s essential to live a life demonstrating to others the importance and possibility of healthy intersectionality, showcasing that people are not one-dimensional beings, but rather that our identities overlap and allow us to live a truthful and fulfilled life. The quest for liberation must include all people and all identities.

What’s your role at Borealis Philanthropy? What do you do? 

I am the Spark Justice Fund Program Officer. In this role, I will be moving resources to grassroots organizations that are working to end money bail and unjust pretrial detention policies, all while focusing on longer-term goals of reducing jail populations, decriminalizing poverty, and reducing disparities for low-income communities of color, including women of color and other marginalized people. 

What brings you to Borealis Philanthropy? 

I’ve followed Borealis Philanthropy for quite some time. I was drawn to Borealis’ intention to see grantees that are doing phenomenal work in our communities, many of which are led by BIPOC individuals or have budgets that may not meet specific criteria. Many times these orgs are locked out of receiving support from many traditional philanthropic organizations, but are important and deserve support. The work we’re doing, who we’re funding, and how we’re funding should be the future of philanthropy. 

What excites you about being part of the Spark Justice Fund (SJF) team?

I envision my role as supporting our grantees as thought partners and working on expanding their scope of work and increasing sustainability to fulfill their mission, creating meaningful change in communities across the country. I pride myself and feel excited when every professional experience I have leads to positive ripples in my community and beyond. 

What do you like to do for fun?

I love playing vintage Mario and Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo Switch. I love watching anime and random comedy stand-up specials on streaming platforms. In addition, I am a restaurant foodie connoisseur.