NoVo Foundation

NoVo Foundation

Move to End Violence is an operational program of the NoVo Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world that is working to end violence against women and girls.

NoVo launched Move to End Violence in 2010 in order to strategically deepen its investment in the U.S.-based movement to end violence against girls and women. Move to End Violence directly links to NoVo’s other grantmaking and advocacy work to end violence against girls and women everywhere. Organizations participating in Move to End Violence become grantees of the NoVo Foundation for a three-year period. NoVo is also committed to engaging other funders to invest in this movement.

Across all of its work, the NoVo Foundation seeks to foster a transformation in global society from a culture of domination and exploitation to one of equality and partnership. Founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, it supports the development of capacities in people –- individually and collectively -– to help create a caring and balanced world that operates on the principles of mutual respect, collaboration, and civic participation.

NoVo Foundation’s work centers on the following five initiatives:

  • Advancing Adolescent Girls’ Rights, with an emphasis on building girls’ capacity to reach their full potential, and shifting cultural and social norms to create a positive value of girls.
  • Ending Violence Against Girls and Women, by addressing structural inequality and other root causes that lead to violence and the exploitation of girls and women.
  • Strengthening Social and Emotional Learning, an approach to education that teaches students the skills they need to grow into caring adults who are able to work cooperatively with each other;
  • Promoting Local Living Economies, by strengthening the local-first movement and building a new model for local stewardship of local resources and sustainable communities.
  • Supporting Indigenous Communities, by lifting up community strengths and drawing on alternative models of leadership and organizing to address centuries-old systems of oppression, colonization and historical trauma, pointing the way toward transformative change that is deeply rooted in Indigenous thinking and ways of life.


NoVo Foundation’s Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women works in four strategic areas: ending domestic and sexual violence in the United States, including child sexual abuse; ending violence against girls and women during and after conflict; ending sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation; and achieving economic justice for girls and women. Learn more about the work of the NoVo Foundation.

Move to End Violence is a program of NoVo’s Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women. This program is staffed by:

Puja Dhawan

Puja Dhawan headshot

Puja Dhawan is the Director for NoVo Foundation’s Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women. Puja was previously the Senior Program Officer for the U.S. Human Rights Fund at Public Interest Projects -– a donor collaborative that provides strategic field-building support to social justice organizations engaged in human rights work within the United States.  Puja joined the U.S. Human Rights Fund when it first launched in 2005, and over the next four years helped build the Fund’s grantmaking, program, and fundraising work.

Puja has also done consulting work on developing domestic human rights funding and advocacy strategies.  She authored a 2010 report for the Asian Law Caucus on integrating domestic human rights into the Asian American advocacy community, and consulted with the International Human Rights Funders Group.

After law school, Puja worked as a Staff Attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she represented battered women in their family law proceedings, and worked on gender and caste discrimination in South Asia at Human Rights Watch. She earned her J.D. from NYU School of Law and a B.A. (honors) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Jesenia A. Santana


Jesenia Santana headshotJesenia Santana serves as program officer for the NoVo Foundation’s Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women. Prior to joining NoVo, Jesenia spent a decade at STEPS to End Family Violence, where she worked with survivors of domestic violence and trauma. As the legal services coordinator for the STEPS’ Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) program—the only ATI program in the country designed specifically for survivors of partner violence—she helped lead defense-based advocacy efforts and provided trainings throughout the country on the unique barriers survivor-defendants face.

Jesenia went on to serve as STEPS’ manager of advocacy services and senior policy advisor, overseeing a team of counselors and advocates. In that position, she helped develop and manage three projects: community-based services, a re-entry program for formerly incarcerated survivors returning home, and innovative court-diversion programs for survivors charged with prostitution.  She also worked closely with an array of community partners to develop policy briefs and reports that sought to impact institutional responses to survivors of abuse and trauma.

Jesenia is committed to advocating for systems that eliminate the criminalization of survivors of violence, and is currently the co-chair of the Violence Against Women Committee of the Coalition for Women Prisoners.  She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a Masters of International Affairs, with a concentration in Human Rights, from Columbia University.

Kyndall Clark

Kyndall Clark headshotBorn in the Midwest but raised in the South, Kyndall Clark serves as the associate for the Ending Violence Against Girls and Women Initiative at the NoVo Foundation. Prior to joining NoVo, she taught 9th grade special education and worked as a community organizer with the African American Policy Forum and Girls Justice League.

With a passion for investing in the collective wellbeing and power of girls and women of color, Kyndall has volunteered on the New York Women’s Foundation Grants Advisory Committee, serves on the Evoluer House Board of Advisors, and is a member of the Black Feminist Future Giving Circle. She holds a BS from Vanderbilt University and a MLA from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied feminist movements, NGOs, and women’s empowerment in West Bengal.

In her free time, she enjoys finding flight deals for future travels, collecting cookbooks, and denying her Southern roots.

“I did what my conscience told me to do, and you can’t fail if you do that.” –Anita Hill


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