July 31, 2020

The Fund for New Jersey Reaffirms Commitment to Racial Justice

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed, The Trustees of The Fund for New Jersey have issued a statement that reaffirms The Fund’s commitment to achieving racial justice in New Jersey through investment in policy reforms in housing, education, criminal justice, economic justice, and public health. The statement provides data and analysis on the interconnected crises of structural racism and COVID-19 in New Jersey. As the Trustees note:

Across this country, people of all races and ethnicities are focused on the ways in which Black Americans have been targeted and denigrated by the policies and practices of our public institutions. Americans, collectively, are coming to understand how deeply structural racism has shaped those policies and practices that disproportionately harm Black, Latinx, Asian, and immigrant communities. At the same time, in New Jersey as elsewhere, the COVID pandemic has underscored these racial disparities and structural inequities. People of color, again, are disproportionately impacted by the public health crisis and hurt most by the corresponding economic fallout. Addressing these crises requires a commitment to ending systemic racism.

….

Since 1970, The Fund for New Jersey has focused its philanthropy on improving the quality of life in the Garden State by supporting good policy decision-making. At its core, good public policy is the remediation of injustice and inequity. Since The Fund’s earliest years, its grantmaking has addressed the compounding inequities in opportunity, outcome, and influence, and sought to ameliorate these injustices. This has been our focus.

Now, recognizing this opportunity for systemic change, The Fund for New Jersey is increasing its commitment to address structural racism. As affirmed at its June 2020 Board meeting, The Fund expects to spend, beyond its regular grants budget, $900,000 in 2020-21 and again in 2021-22. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded The Fund $450,000 in support of these efforts.

As Kiki Jamieson, President of The Fund, has stated: “The Fund for New Jersey is proud to invest in diverse non-profit organizations that are working collectively and strategically to bring about systemic policy change in New Jersey. We encourage other foundations and nonprofits to join our effort aimed, in the words of The Fund’s statement, ‘to improve our state’s institutions, policies, and practices so that structural racism will end.’ ”

The statement further describes:

The Fund for New Jersey believes New Jersey’s COVID and post-COVID policy and advocacy response must address directly systemic racism and its effects. Reforms must be led by, and advance the rights and interests of, Black, Latinx, Asian, and immigrant communities.

….

Increased funding will enable support for:

  • Policy/advocacy organizations that are at the forefront of developing and pursuing an ambitious collective racial justice policy agenda;
  • Community engagement, including Black-led grassroots organizing and diverse networks of youth leaders that emanate from Black, Latinx, Asian, and immigrant communities; and
  • Shared resources such as coordinated communications, collaborative planning, and technology to support the collective effort.

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The Fund for New Jersey works to improve the quality of public policy decision-making on the most significant issues affecting the people of New Jersey and our region.  For 50 years, The Fund has supported organizations and initiatives that advance systemic and sustainable solutions to public problems through the work of policy, advocacy, analysis, and organizing.

For more information and to join this effort, please contact support@nfg.org to us to get in touch with Kiki Jamieson, President of The Fund for New Jersey.  

Kiki is part of the 2019-2020 Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions.

April 21, 2022

(Re)Sharing NFG's National Convening update + more events: NFG's April 2022 Newsletter

Neighborhood Funders Group is re-sharing the announcement about our National Convening that we made earlier this month.  

We are shifting the timing of our National Convening in Wilmington, North Carolina from June 2022 to Spring 2023.

Convening is NFG’s ‘superpower,’ and the most frequently named reason for why we are many funders’ political home in philanthropy. Many of us are feeling more open to in-person connection with funder colleagues and grantee partners; excitement about the post-session hallway scheming that happens at NFG convenings; and ready for the impromptu fun that comes from in-person time together, including late night (Covid-safe!) karaoke sessions with both new and long-time friends and colleagues. And, we're continuing to be mindful that we have not been at a moment like this ever before in our lifetimes.

The decision to shift our convening to 2023 was informed by ongoing, thoughtful conversations with NFG’s staff & board of directors, our convening co-chairs who are grantmakers in the region, our Amplify Fund grantee partners that are building power in Eastern North Carolina, and our event planners (Girl Friday Events) about Covid considerations and how & when we want to intentionally regather in-person.

How we regather and build community as safely and accessibly as possible during an ongoing pandemic — where there are no known/clear solutions — requires all of us to think as adaptive leaders. How we come back together as a community requires more conversations, time, and co-created paths forward.

Over the next months, we will continue our convening program planning. When we come back together for this National Convening in 2023, we’re committed to creating a convening space that is rooted in joy, camaraderie, care, and fun; showcases how groups in Eastern North Carolina are building power locally; and moves money to BIPOC communities. Our first convening back together in-person after more than two years will be nothing short of a spectacular reunion. 

Stay tuned for more convening announcements to come! And keep reading for our robust list of upcoming events hosted by NFG and our partners, including:

In community,
The NFG Team

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March 24, 2022

Sharing NFG's refreshed theory of change: NFG's March 2022 Newsletter

Neighborhood Funders Group has shared snippets of our new theory of change in each of our newsletters so far this year. 

In January, we unveiled our long-term outcome: Philanthropic assets are liberated so that BIPOC communities and low-income communities have power to self-determine. In February, we applied this outcome to NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy program — which organizes funders committed to supporting economic justice and worker power to rebuild an economy and democracy that works for all, ensures good quality jobs, and promotes prosperity and health. 

Now, we’re excited to share our full theory of change! This process started in 2021 when we revisited our initial strategic framework that was developed three years prior. A board and staff committee came together for this work. We spoke to co-chairs of NFG programs. And we worked with the phenomenal Luminare Group who also partnered with us in 2018 on our initial strategic framework.

We began by affirming what we still held as true and core in our strategic framework while also naming our curiosities. What we found (and still find) unique and powerful in the process of developing our theory of change are the conversations and connections, the clarity named, and the commitments made. Over the course of 2021, we affirmed and refined these elements of our theory of change: the problem we seek to address, our guiding principles and values, assumptions, context, strategies and our outcomes. We also identified the evidence (empirical and experiential) that informs us. We did this so that we can be clear on our commitments, push ourselves and our work, learn from what we try on, and be accountable to you and each other.

As I shared in my January message: We know that this is a critical time for philanthropy. More people are amassing wealth, leading to more billionaires entering philanthropy and the creation of more DAFs and private foundations. There continues to be wealth hoarding among individual and foundation donors. Many foundations persist in adhering to a minimum 5% payout while endowments continue to grow. And we are seeing some positive shifts with foundations spending down the assets they’ve been holding and shifting their investment practices. Many more funders are centering trust, community power building, and decentralized decision-making in their grantmaking.

Given this context, we named key assumptions to inform our work going forward:

  • Philanthropy is at a choice point. The sector has an opportunity to shift and transform, and some grantmakers are making that choice. Others continue to pull back and maintain the status quo. 

  • Different practices are possible in philanthropy when guided by an analysis that centers root causes and intersectional analysis.

  • It will take examples and stories of how to increase spend out, transform investments, and change philanthropic practices to show the way.

  • Progress toward our theory of change outcomes will take a broad base of funders: those interested in racial, gender, economic, disability, and climate justice beginning their journey and those leading the way who are funder organizers and leaders.

  • All of us in philanthropy — Black, Indigenous, people of color, and white people — can transform our understanding to be greater leaders for justice. Even though all of us are implicated, who leads matters! Who is leading will shape how and what we fund.  

Our refreshed theory of change document is a commitment, an aspiration, and a blueprint for how NFG wants to be in our work and in our relationships with our community.

This theory of change will move us toward the following outcomes:

  • Philanthropy is led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color leaders who have experience in building community power 

  • Philanthropic practices shift power to BIPOC communities and are grounded in trust 

  • Racial, gender, economic, disability, and climate justice is funded with all philanthropic assets 

And it will guide how we partner, plan programming, and co-conspire with our community of grantmakers to liberate philanthropic assets so that BIPOC and low-income communities have power to self-determine.

We look forward to being in community with you to make this transformation together. 
 

Onwards,
Adriana

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