Headwaters Foundation for Justice Launches Emergency Fund For Black Lives

Contact: Maria De La Cruz
(612)270-2307
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, December 9, 2015 – Headwaters Foundation for Justice is launching “the Emergency Fund for Black Lives” to provide grants to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC). These two groups have inspired, mobilized, and supported hundreds of community members to call out and change police violence against people of color. With an initial goal of $100,000, Headwaters Foundation has already raised over $60,000 by reaching out to individual donors and foundation partners.

On November 15, Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old black man, was shot and killed by officers from the Minneapolis Police Department. Since that day, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis peacefully occupied the fourth precinct for 18 days, held numerous peaceful protests and community gatherings, survived the shooting of five people by a group of white supremacists, and hosted a Blacksgiving Celebration.

Headwaters recognizes the historic importance of this moment in time and feels compelled to take action and build on the momentum generated by the events of the past few weeks. “We are launching the Emergency Fund for Black Lives, and asking community members to invest in it so that together we can aggressively address the racial inequities that exist in Minnesota,” said Headwaters Executive Director David Nicholson. “By committing to this fund, our community is committing to creating positive change. The fund will provide resources that can be used to dismantle the structural and institutional racism that exists in Minneapolis and throughout our state.”

“With financial support from the community Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and
NOC will be able to deepen our working relationship and expand the black and people of color infrastructure we’ll need to bridge Minnesota’s outrageous racial and economic divide,” said NOC Executive Director Anthony Newby.

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis is supporting emerging leaders to move the work for racial justice forward. “We plan to use the dollars from Headwaters’ Emergency Fund for Black Lives to increase training, capacity-building, and community engagement as we continue to risk everything to call attention to and change the glaring racial disparities in our state,” said Miski Noor, a leader in Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

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Headwaters Foundation for Justice was established in 1984 by thoughtful donors who built the organization around a grantmaking model that places funding decisions in the hands of the community. For over 30 years, Headwaters has relied on this model of community-led grantmaking to provide over $10 million in financial support and organizational assistance to grassroots organization

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis is a group of Black and allied organizers in Minneapolis, Minnesota working in solidarity with the national Black Lives Matter movement.

Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) is a grassroots, member-led organization building power in under-resourced communities and communities of color across the Twin Cities. Together, NOC members fight for racial and economic justice. NOC is building powerful, active campaigns for better public transit, workers' rights, expanded voting rights, and police accountability.

February 12, 2019

FFJ Advisor Discussion Series: Marisa Franco

Marisa Franco, FFJ Field Advisor and Director and Co-founder of of Mijente, a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing and movement building, speaks on the current political moment and how funders can contribute to movement work.

Tell us about the particular moment you are in with your work and place in the movement.

Entering into our fourth year, we are doing our best to be a vehicle to both respond to the real-time challenges our communities face and a place to find respite, connection, and replenished meaning. Given what the Latinx and Chicanx community faces, we’ve got to walk and chew gum at the same time (and hop on one leg, juggle, and balance something on our head!) but we believe that through the continued growth where organizers, healers, change-makers, designers, and disrupters feel Mijente is a place to meaningfully contribute to collective liberation means we are going in the right direction. It is my view that our most critical task at this time is growth and recruitment - millions of people are becoming exposed to the injustice and summarily wrong direction we are heading in - our organizations must be open and accessible entry points for people to contribute to moving us in the right direction.

How do you understand the political moment that we’re in? What do you think we need to do differently right now?

Ultimately I think that lots of what we reference as threats that are coming are largely here - crisis as a result of climate change is here, it’s being felt across the planet. The extreme backlash and attempt to re-entrench power due to demographic change is here, occurring in localities across the United States. Authoritarianism is a growing threat beyond Donald Trump and within the domestic United States. Given all of this, at the very least I think it’s critical we start to widen our panorama of political understanding to include outside of the United States and make the connections internationally. Rest assured, our adversaries are in coordination - we ignore our movement siblings and the struggle outside of the United States to our own detriment.

What should funders be understanding in this political moment? What should funders be doing to support organizations and movements?

What’s important to understand in this political moment is how the volatility impacts the plans, perspective, and morale of people in organizations and social movements. It has become more and more difficult to lay out plans that feel real given how normal it's become for so much to turn upside down pretty regularly. Some understanding and support of this from funders, particularly when it means proposed work is not carried out in the way it was initially described, is very helpful.

Continued support for rapid response tactics is critical, as well as funds that help convene key groups and/or leaders in this time goes a long way. In times like these, those that are able to adapt and move quickly are well positioned to make impactful changes. These folks have got to be able to do so with enough support and not too many hurdles, hoops, and paper to be able to move. So some of these existing practices around simplifying processes, making funds available for rapid response activities, and pop up convenings is something that has been helpful thus far and is important to continue.

December 10, 2018

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