GRIOT Circle's 26th Anniversary 

Honorees Bios

Dr. Imani Woody 

Founding Director & CEO,

Mary’s House for Older Adults

Regina Shavers Legacy Award






Dr. Woody is an internationally and nationally recognized thought leader and an advocate of women, people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people for more than 25 years. She has addressed the issues elder LGBTQ+/SGL individuals and the specific jeopardies that LGBTQ+/SGL elders of color face as they age. Dr. Woody has a Ph.D. in Human Services, specializing in nonprofit management.  Her thesis was "Lift Every Voice: A Qualitative Exploration of Ageism and Heterosexism as Experienced by Older African American Lesbian Women and Gay Males when Addressing Social Services Needs."

Dr. Woody has served on the Board of Directors of the Mautner Project for Lesbians, Women in the Life Association, the Whitman-Walker Lesbian Services, and is the former Chair of SAGE Metro DC. She was the first Program Officer for the 50+ Ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches and currently serves on the Board of the LGBT Technology Institute. She has been appointed by former DC Mayor Vincent Gray and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to the Office LGBTQ+ Affairs. Dr. Woody has also been appointed Commissioner by Mayor Bowser to serve on the Global Age-Friendly Task Force. 

As a veteran community organizer, Dr. Woody retired from AARP to become a pioneer in the building of alternative housing and creating welcoming environments. She is the founder and CEO of Mary’s House for Older Adults, (MHFOA) with the vision and commitment to serve LGBTQ+/SGL elders, experiencing housing insecurity and isolation. Dr. Woody has secured funding required to begin construction of a 15-room communal residence in WDC - the only one in the country as well as designing The Villages at Mary’s House, creating a virtual community village.

Dr. Woody brought these perspectives and decades of community praxis to the first White House Summit on LGBT elder housing development as a panelist in its National LGBT Elder Housing Symposiums. In 2021, Dr. Woody was invited to the White House by Vice President Harris to join a small, intimate group to discuss issues that impact LGBTQ/SGL elders. Most recently, she was invited by the Biden Administration to meet with its highest-ranking lesbians to discuss matters impacting lesbians and women loving women and presented on LGBTQ+ SGL elder issues for HUD staffers. 

Dr. Woody is the principal of IWF Consulting, LLC providing Board, staff and volunteer development using a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. She has been a life coach for more than 10 years delivering Living Life Like It’s Golden, a program that empowers people, particularly people of color and women to live their lives more fully through visioning. A winner of many honors and awards, Dr. Woody was a 2019 Next Avenue Influencers in Aging: a 2020 Encore Fellow and a winner of the 2023 AARP Purpose Award. Dr. Woody currently lives in Washington, DC with her wife of more than 20 years, Ms. Andrea Macko and close to her son and grandchildren.


Ana Oliveira

President & CEO,

New York Women’s Foundation


Changemaker Award







Ana L. Oliveira has been a voice and a force for change in improving the lives of those people in the greatest need for more than 30 years. As President and CEO, she leads The New York Women's Foundation mission to create an equitable and just future for women and families.


During her tenure with The Foundation, Oliveira has increased annual grantmaking from $1.7M to more than $8M today. By the end of 2021, The Foundation will have distributed over $100 million to more than 500 organizations, impacting millions of women and girls since its creation in 1987. 


Under Oliveira's leadership, The Foundation has been a pioneer in igniting many cultural justice movements of today, including Me Too, the closing of Rikers Island, and the NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color.  She has also led critical cross-sectoral partnerships to advance women's rights as a co-chair of The New York City Council Speaker's Young Women's Initiative and as a former Commissioner of Human Rights for the NYC Commission, and sits on the Independent Commission to Study Criminal Justice Reform in NYC.  She has also served as a member of the New York City HIV Planning Council and the New York City Commission on AIDS and chaired the NYC Commission for LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth, Mayor Bloomberg's Young Men's Initiative and on the board of Philanthropy New York.


Before joining The Foundation, Oliveira's career focused on issues surrounding substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and incarceration. Ana has served as Executive Director of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), previously led and directed innovative community-based programs at Samaritan Village and the Osborne Association, and was responsible for developing the first acupuncture detoxification clinic for methadone and alcohol-involved patients in her capacity as Substance Abuse Specialist at Kings County Addictive Diseases Hospital. 


In early 2021, Oliveira joined the Board of Directors for Point Source Youth, a national nonprofit to end homelessness in 50 cities and towns in 10 years. Ana also currently serves as an Advisory Committee Member to the Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy.  She has served as a board member for Philanthropy New York and served on and chaired committees for Women’s Funding Network.


Oliveira's honors include the Above & Beyond Award (City & State), Isabel Benham Award (Women's Bond Club), Mutual Welfare League Certificate, (Osborne Association); Liberty Award (Lambda Legal and Education Defense Fund); the Rosie Perez Fuerza Award (Latino Commission on AIDS); the NYCLU Liberty Award, and the June Jordan Claim Award (Brotherhood SisterSol). 


Oliveira attained her M.A. in Medical Anthropology and a Ph.D. (hon) from the New School for Social Research. She was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and resides in New York. 


GRIOT Circle Elders/Members

Changemakers Award

Bio coming soon