Joy Messinger's life and career have been guided by a commitment to social justice, health, and leadership development. She is a skilled facilitator, passionate community activist and organizer, and sought-after speaker and educator with a background in sexuality education, youth development, reproductive justice, adoptee issues, and LGBTQ and Asian American community building.
In November 2015, Joy began as Program Officer for Third Wave Fund, a national feminist foundation supporting the vision and leadership of young women, low-income communities, and transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex, non-binary, and queer youth. In her role, Joy oversees Third Wave's grantmaking programs and supports fundraising, communications, and philanthropic advocacy. She is also an adjunct instructor, currently teaching intersectional social work practice with LGBTQIA individuals and communities at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
Most recently, she was the Deputy Director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), where she oversaw the organization's education and youth development programming, managed evaluation, supported internal operations, represented ICAH on multiple local & statewide committees, and provided education & capacity building to adults who support the sexual health, rights, and identities of youth in Illinois.
From 2002 - 2006, Joy was a published poet and spoken word artist, touring with the Evolutionary Girls Club artist collective and performing at Pride Celebrations, Dyke Marches, colleges, and community events throughout Western New York. She has been published in several Evolutionary Girls Club anthologies, Le Mot Juste: The Just Poets Anthology (Foothills Publishing), Pinnacle Hill Review: The Rochester Poets Anthology, Common Intuitions: A Poetry Anthology of Women Celebrating Women (Palettes and Quills), and is the winner of SLAMTractor at Juna's Coffeehouse in Ithaca, NY. Currently, she writes online about reproductive justice, adoption, intersectionality, LGBTQ and Asian American identity, love, community, and activism.
In her free time, Joy likes to bake and cook, bike, knit, tap dance, read, cheer for her favorite basketball teams, and enjoy Chicago's short but beautiful summers. Joy identifies as a bisexual and queer Asian American cisgender femme woman of color, 1.5 generation immigrant, and transnational adoptee.
- 2015: Leader in Action Awardee, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy
- 2013: "30 Under 30" Awardee, Windy City Times
- 2013: Civic Engagement, Community Service, and Community Organizing Award, UIC Women and Gender Studies Department
- 2012: Breaking Barriers Award (Health and Healthcare), Chicago Foundation for Women Asian American Leadership Council
- 2010 & 2011: Dean's Award, UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work
- 2009: Lucy Morgan Fellowship Award, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Health Behavior and Health Education Department
- 2004: Campus Compact Award for Service to Nazareth College and Rochester, New York