NFG's 40 Years Strong virtual convening series celebrates four decades of mobilizing philanthropy and brings funders together to explore what is possible in the current era of organized philanthropy.
We are excited to announce the next sessions in our convening series — six member-led webinars taking place between September & December — which will bring funders together to find co-conspirators, boldly strategize, and shift power & money so that Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities and low-income communities thrive. These sessions are a continuation from our convening kick-off plenaries on Accountability & Philanthropy’s Role and what’s needed in this political moment to support People, Place, and Power.
Registration is complimentary for NFG members and available to non-members for $100. This convening series is available to foundation staff and trustees, donors, philanthropic affinity group staff, and invited speakers.
Philanthropy is embedded in the paradox of capitalism — benefitting from the economic system, while attempting to mitigate and ameliorate its damaging effects. In recent years, prominent thinkers like Edgar Villanueva, Rob Reich, David Callahan, and Anand Giridharadas are challenging the systems that support philanthropy. At the same time, there are larger societal trends and pressures demanding transparency and accountability across sectors, including within philanthropy.
Community-based or participatory grantmaking challenges traditional power structures by centering marginalized, often excluded, voices in grantmaking decisions. This approach centers the lived experiences and expertise of those most impacted by grant decisions. A growing number of foundations nationally have have adopted this powerful approach, which is strongly aligned to the goal of supporting community-based efforts. The practice of participatory grantmaking asserts that those with lived experience have critical expertise. This approach is gaining traction in philanthropy; Inside Philanthropy named is as the most promising sector reform in 2018.
The interactive session will begin by gauging participants’ understanding of the topic while they explore their values in philanthropy. Panelists will examine why it is critical to break down traditional funder barriers in favor of participation, transparency, accountability, and collaboration. The panel will also speak extensively about the “how” of participatory grantmaking and share several specifics and resources to equip funders to make similar changes in their own institutions. By the end of this engaging session, participants will have a strong awareness and understanding of why this approach matters, as well as how they might lead these transformations themselves.
Violence is the largest of all health disparities. Black people experience violent deaths at six times the rates of whites. As we seek equitable development, we must do it in partnership with neighborhood residents who live at the intersection of both intracommunal violence and police violence. The predominant investments in safety approaches have been in law enforcement and justice systems.
These strategies have been ineffective in solving the problem, while also creating new problems through mass incarceration and its impact on communities. Meanwhile, investments in community solutions for safety and violence prevention have been nowhere near what is needed to match the scale of the problem. Even as community-oriented intervention solutions are working in locales across the country, they have not gained the traction needed for widespread transformative change — from an over-reliance on criminal justice approaches to public health-oriented approaches. Philanthropy has increasingly stepped up to address the structural drivers of violence such as economic disinvestment. These long-term solutions are necessary but not sufficient. By solely focusing on them, it frames community violence as an issue that cannot be directly addressed in the short-term. In fact, long-term policy solutions should be advanced simultaneously with direct approaches that lower deaths and shootings immediately.
The session will lift up the role of local community organizers in DC and Atlanta who have successful advocated for proven, non-police-based violence intervention models, such as violence interruption, and the local and national funders who have partnered to support that work.
This session seeks to make space and learn from frontline leaders working at the intersection of climate justice, sovereignty and land justice. The conversation will acknowledge the history and current work of the Land Justice Movement while exploring the relationships on the ground that are paving the way for future generations to advocate for transformative change as we face systemic racism and the dire realities of climate change.
The Civil Rights Movement and other struggles for racial justice never ended. Today, climate change is exacerbating the existing and growing inequities and injustices that people have always been fighting against in the name of freedom.
We will hear from leaders that are centering land amidst a myriad of challenges black and brown communities are facing – housing and food insecurity, joblessness, disaster capitalism — all at once, every single day. We do not always have the opportunity to talk about land as the connection between these issues; both as a mechanism to enslave and oppress people but also used to build and support civilizations and thriving communities.
Leaders from intersecting social movements will share how they build daily infrastructure that allows folks to invest in their own communities while supporting sustainable power building efforts. This work looks very different depending upon the entry point and we hope to attract folks from a diverse spectrum of interests to engage and connect to address climate justice, sovereignty and land justice.
For 40 years NFG has been bringing funders who believe in the power of people to transform communities together to exchange ideas and build relationships. Since 2018 we have honed in on our core purpose of moving more money to grassroots organizations in partnership with 11 NFG members through our first pooled grantmaking fund, the Amplify Fund. Driven by the belief that community power is the key driver of just and equitable development, Amplify makes flexible general operating support grants in 8 places across the US and today directly supports more than 45 grantees, the majority of which are Black-led organizations. Racial justice grounds Amplify’s grantmaking strategy and our values, behavior and practices. Together we actively learn and reflect to make sure we are truly creating an internal racial justice (anti-racist) culture that supports our external racial justice goals. We are striving to work in a way that pushes philanthropy to be more aligned with what Black-led movements know it will take to win.
Please join us for an interactive Zoom session to learn more about Amplify’s funding model, including organizing to realize a vision for racial justice philanthropy, where power is shared, roles are clear, funding is flexible, and funders are organizers too! You will hear directly from a member of Amplify’s staff and Steering Committee as well as a local strategy advisor and many grantees too.
Funders increasingly have an analysis of how criminalization is affecting communities of color and how grassroots organizers are challenging it. What’s often missing in philanthropic analysis, however, is the role that technology is playing in deepening criminalization via new tactics of surveillance, policing and control. From the development of “digital prisons,” with electronic monitors expanding the reach of the carceral state, to tech companies colluding with ICE to expand surveillance and enable detention and deportation of migrant communities, to the FOSTA-SESTA laws that deploy internet censorship to make working conditions for sex workers more precarious, technology is is propelling and extending the mass criminalization of our communities.
Social justice movements are fighting back. They are exposing these systems of surveillance and policing via #NoDigital Prisons and #NoTechforICE, while defending and protecting their communities through physical and digital security strategies. Yet this work often falls through the cracks in philanthropy, with neither social justice nor technology-focused funders having a full analysis of how this system is working and what the points of intervention are. There is a pressing need for more resources for grassroots organizers to confront the repressive use of technology against their communities and movements. Centering the voices of organizers leading this work, this session will highlight the solutions they are putting forward and engage participants in discussion about how issues of technology and criminalization intersect with their funding strategies.
Young people have been at the forefront of movements for liberation throughout history, advancing critical issues like climate change, reproductive rights, immigration, criminal justice, and election protection and voter engagement. Yet, only 5% of foundation funding goes to communities of color centered work, and even less than that to youth — especially youth of color — and for organizing approaches. Shifting the philanthropic landscape requires funders to expand their thinking about grantmaking and the leadership of youth of color.
This session provided an inside look at local and state infrastructures, leadership development, state and national collaborations, and shared leadership models propelled by young people of color to build a multi-racial democracy and transform American politics. Additionally, participants explored findings by the Youth Engagement Fund on how youth of color-focused groups use issue-based organizing to engage members and new & infrequent voters; how the youth civic engagement coalition is creating a shared space for messaging, alignment, and coordination; the impact of early investment received in preparation for 2020; and the plans to catalyze on the energy of the political moment in 2020 and for long-term power building.
NFG's virtual convening series kicked off in June and July with hundreds of people joining us for two plenaries, gatherings of the Philanthropy Forward Fellowship cohorts and Amplify Fund steering committee, a happy hour to celebrate the Discount Foundation Legacy Award winners (featuring DJ Carmen Spindiego!), and strategy sessions hosted by NFG's Democratizing Development Program and Integrated Rural Strategies Group.
As Senior Program Officer at Common Counsel Foundation, Allistair directs philanthropic services for Common Counsel’s clients, supports donors in aligning their philanthropic practices with social justice grantmaking, and bridges relationships in the philanthropic field. He previously served as the Membership & Communications Manager for Justice Funders, based in Oakland, CA.
Before relocating to Oakland in 2016, Allistair was Executive Director for Asian American Resource Workshop, which activated Asian American communities to participate in social change efforts. He also served as Associate Director of Programs and Services at Philanthropy Massachusetts, coordinating affinity groups for funders and directing capacity building programs and initiatives for nonprofit organizations. Allistair has a decade of experience in the philanthropic and nonprofit field, serving in grantmaking roles for Haymarket People’s Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts, Saffron Circle Giving Circle, Access Strategies Fund, and Funding Exchange.
Allistair is active in his community, serving as Vice Chair of the Board for Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Board Member for Filipino Advocates for Justice, and participates in a working group in the local Resource Generation chapter. He serves as Co-Chair of the Integrated Rural Strategies Group at Neighborhood Funders Group as well as of the Local Engagement Chapter of Exponent Philanthropy. He originally hails from Towson, MD, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and Biology from Tufts University.
Kaberi Banerjee Murthy — Director of Programs & Strategy, Meyer Memorial Trust
Kaberi is driven by a passion to transform philanthropy to better serve and share power with historically underserved communities. Kaberi entered into the philanthropic sector in 2000 as a way to advance social justice and systems-level change and has worked in philanthropy at local, regional and national levels, leading grantmaking, programs and advocacy work. “Philanthropy has the opportunity to re-envision how decisions are made and who is centered. The clear focus on equity, the lived experience of staff and leadership, and the commitment to walk the talk all brought me to Meyer to focus on equity and systems change.”
Kaberi served as the vice president of programs at the Brooklyn Community Foundation in New York; program director for Education, Civic Affairs and Arts & Culture at Crown Family Philanthropies in Chicago; education program officer for Jane's Trust and The Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust in Boston; senior education program officer at the Picower Foundation in New York; and program officer for Education, Health, Community Development and Arts at Lloyd A. Fry Foundation in Chicago. Kaberi serves as the racial justice national co-chair for Education Funder Strategy Group.
She is a past national board member for Grantmakers for Education, Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and the Crossroads Fund in Chicago. Kaberi has been a fellow at Leadership Greater Chicago, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Coro Leadership New York and CF Leads Executive Leadership. Kaberi served on the steering committee for the NYC Fund for Girls & Young Women of Color and as the co-chair of the New York Juvenile Justice Initiative. She has a B.A. from Carleton College in history and women's studies and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She loves travel, photography, paper arts and foodie adventures.
Katy Love — Consultant
Katy Love is a practitioner of participatory grantmaking, working as independent consultant to shift power in philanthropy. She helps funders to pilot and build grantmaking processes that move decision-making from funder institutions to communities impacted by those grants. Before that, she served as the director of grantmaking at Wikipedia, overseeing 5 participatory grantmaking programs, and previously was an assistant program officer at the Global Fund for Children. She has also worked in large scale collaboration in the humanitarian response field. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Human Rights Funders Network. Katy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ana Conner is a mixed, Black, queer, gender non-conforming organizer and fundraiser living in Harlem, NY. They are committed to community building and resourcing movements, particularly those rooted in Black liberation, racial and gender justice, queer and trans liberation, and youth leadership. Ana is currently on the board of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and is the Secretary of their local community garden. Before Third Wave Fund, they were the Senior Program Associate for the Transforming Movements Fund and Black-Led Movement Fund at Borealis Philanthropy, and the Database and Operations Manager for Astraea Foundation's Development team.
Over the past year, YEF engaged in thoughtful organizational and leadership development processes to meet the demand of the socio-political moment. Going into 2020, YEF is guided by the leadership of new Executive Director, Alejandra Ruiz who has been involved in the movement for social justice for 15 years since she first shared her story as an undocumented student turned new youth voter. Alejandra comes to the Youth Engagement fund with experience in grassroots organizing at the local and national levels, and expertise in navigating the world of philanthropy, especially with funder and donor partners invested in youth leadership and civic engagement. Her approach to leadership is informed by a racial justice and intersectionality lens formed by her development as a youth leader of color in the progressive movement in the United States.
A native of Colombia, Alejandra migrated to the United States at the age of seven with her mother and younger brother. She was raised in Jackson Heights, Queens and became an immigrant rights advocate as an undocumented high school student. As the Executive Director of the Youth Engagement Fund, Alejandra aims to expand and strengthen funding resources and capacity building to the youth civic engagement sector to increase civic participation among marginalized and youth of color in the United States.
Prior to joining the Youth Engagement Fund, Alejandra was the Director of Donor Organizing and Advising for the Movement Voter Project (MVP) where she engaged donors to support groups advancing work at the intersection of grassroots organizing and electoral politics. Previously, Alejandra served as the Development Director of United We Dream (UWD), the nation’s largest immigrant youth-led network. During her time at UWD, Alejandra was instrumental in developing strategies to build relationships and infrastructure for long term organizational sustainability, and supported local groups in advancing their fundraising plans. She also coaches youth on fundraising, career and workforce development.
Alejandra has worked as an education organizer at Make the Road New York, served with AmeriCorps VISTA, was a leader of the New York State Youth Leadership Council, and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. She holds a B.S. in Urban & Regional Studies, a B.A. in Spanish Area Studies and concentrations in Inequality Studies, Latino Studies and Latin American Studies from Cornell University.
Montserrat Arredondo — Executive Director, One Arizona
Without a lot of fanfare, Montse has been one of the most important driving forces getting people of color registered and to the polls. Because of her year-round work, Arizona is a deciding state for the Senate and the White House in 2020. She became politically engaged in 2010 when the state passed Senate Bill 1070, the immigration enforcement law nicknamed “show me your papers,” because it allowed law enforcement officers to detain or arrest anyone without a warrant if they were suspected to be undocumented immigrants. It was the impact of this law on her community that gave her the push to fight for an Arizona that is better for future generations so people can thrive.
Nearly ten years later, Montse’s work includes immigrant rights, registering voters, increasing the minimum wage and building political power for communities so that they can determine their own future. She is the executive director of One Arizona, a coalition of community groups which focus on Latino civic engagement. The organization has set an impressive goal in 2020 to coordinate 250,000 new voter registrations throughout the state between January and October and to facilitate the biggest voter turnout in Arizona history.
Tiffany Dena Loftin serves as the National Director for the Youth and College Division at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Her mission is to train, organize and uplift young Black leaders everywhere who fight for the racial, social, and economic equity of all people. There are over 340 middle, high school, and college autonomous chapters under her leadership who constantly recruit new members that organize local and national campaigns like ending mass incarceration, ending gun and police violence, school safety, college affordability, and protecting and increasing democracy.
Ms. Loftin has a five-year background in national labor union organizing working at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Labor-Council of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). As a labor civil rights organizer, she created the labor unions only national curriculum that helps workers understand better how race and inequality are part of every collective bargaining fight. She helped create coalitions with community organizations like Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders, and United We Dream. Under her leadership she coordinated a national commission of 30 national presidents and vice presidents to meet with local community leaders to address the issues of police brutality, health care, and racism in the union.
Tiffany’s first job out of college was President of the United States Student Association where she coordinated a college affordability campaign to break contracts between the Department of Education and student loan profiters like Sallie Mae. She worked with seven statewide student associations and coordinated a national electoral campaign which registered over 150,000 young voters in the 2012 presidential election.
Ms. Loftin has been nationally recognized, appearing on TV One, Fox News, ABC, People’s World, NBC, National Public Radio, and Al Jazeera. A passionate organizer for the liberation of communities of color. In 2015, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in Higher Education.
Michelle Wilson — Senior Program Manager, Women Engaged
Michelle is a native of Kansas City, Missouri with a passion for social justice and human rights. She was the first woman appointed as Chairwoman of the Kansas City Youth Commission, where she led a team to develop policies to positively impact youth. She ventured to Little Rock, Arkansas where she attended Philander Smith College. She co-founded the first Gay-Straight Alliance at a Historically Black College in the state of Arkansas and worked closely with the Human Rights Campaign to advocate for LGBTQ+ people of color. While in Arkansas, she was appointed to the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice. She was also a board member of Women Lead Arkansas, an organization geared toward inclusiveness of women in the political engagement.
Michelle coordinated and managed over 28 programs which covered a range of issues in her position with the Social Justice Institute of Philander Smith College. In 2013, Michelle received her BA at Philander Smith College and is completing her MA at Clark Atlanta University in Political Science. Michelle’s passion and work for equal rights makes her ideally suited to contribute to fulfilling the mission of Women Engaged.
Pictured above in slideshow: Amoretta Morris (Annie E. Casey Foundation), Monica Cordova (Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing), Eric Braxton (Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing) / Aaron Tanaka (Center for Economic Democracy), Julia Beatty (Borealis Philanthropy) / Reema Ahmad (Movement Voter Project), Leslie Ramyk (Conant Family Foundation) / Fannie McBeth.