Headwaters Foundation for Justice Relaunches Emergency Fund for Black Lives

Headwaters Foundation for Justice Relaunches Emergency Fund for Black Lives

Contact: Maria De La Cruz

Our Response to Recent Events: July 2016

The killing of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights have catalyzed a conversation about racial and economic justice in Minnesota. Organizers on the ground are demanding that our law makers and other leaders address issues like criminalization, state violence, and public safety. Young, queer, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are leading the movement by putting their bodies, often literally, on the line.

Headwaters Foundation’s mission is to amplify the power of community to advance equity and justice. We put race at the center of our work, and fund organizations that apply an intersectional lens to their community organizing, policy advocacy, and civic engagement strategies.

After the death of Jamar Clark, Headwaters launched the Emergency Fund for Black Lives – a two-and-a-half-month campaign to raise money to support organizers and activists who were occupying Minneapolis’ 4th Precinct and developing a larger racial justice agenda. Ultimately, we raised over $104,000 from 102 donors, including the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and Hill-Snowdon Foundation. Headwaters use the dollars we raised to make grants to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis (BLM-MPLS) and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC).

Just months later, our state is left saddened, outraged, and shaken by the killing of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria worker. Headwaters grantees – BLM-MPLS, NOC, and others – are, again, taking to the streets and working together to address the racism that permeates our society.

In response, Headwaters has developed three action steps that provide immediate and long- term support to movement leaders.

Immediate Response

  • Headwaters is re-opening the Emergency Fund for Black Lives as an option to donors and institutional funders who prefer to work with an intermediary to provide rapid response dollars to organizers on the ground. We will direct money given to the Emergency Fund for Black Lives to our grantee partners NOC and BLM-MPLS.
  • We encourage individual donors to continue to give directly to BLM-MPLS and NOC for immediate needs. NOC is hosting a fundraising link on their website: www.mnnoc.org/justice_for_philando.

Long-Term Support

  • Headwaters Foundation is in it for the long-haul. We believe that the work for equity and justice requires a deep investment in movement building and infrastructure. In January 2017, we will launch the New Majority Fund (NMF), which will support organizations led by and for communities of color. The NMF will provide 2-year general operating grants.
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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