June 9, 2020

A Letter to the NFG Community from our President: NFG's June 2020 Newsletter

It is a great honor and joy to greet you as Neighborhood Funders Group’s new President. And I do so while holding grief and outrage for George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Dion Johnson, Ahmaud Arbery, and the untold thousands of Black people killed by police. I am also reflecting on Pride Month as we near the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings — led by trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera in response to police violence against the LGBTQ community.
Protest movements like Pride have been pivotal to the struggles for power and self-determination by Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities and low-income communities. In the 15 days that have passed since the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, communities across the world have galvanized to protest state violence, demand divestment from criminalization, defund the police, call for investments in critical public programs & social protections, and assert that Black lives matter. We are witnessing and experiencing anti-Black racism inherent in the militarized response to protests and the increase of fatal violence specifically against Black trans women, including Nina Pop. And these uprisings are correlated with the global coronavirus pandemic and ensuing public health and economic crisis that has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.
NFG is grounded in these histories, strengths, and struggles. They are our own histories, strengths, and struggles too. In this new moment, I am heartened to lead NFG and am rooted in community with you.
This organization is privileged to be many funders’ political home at a time when moving resources to struggles for justice is critically important. For 40 years, we have been committed to centering low-income and Black, Indigenous, and people of color leaders in places, movements, and philanthropy. We create joyful and inspiring organizing spaces for funders. And we at NFG are committed to pushing philanthropy to support grassroots power building so that Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities and low-income communities thrive.

As more funders look to NFG as a place to find co-conspirators, explore ideas, and shift power and money towards transformational justice and equity, it is important to me that you know who I am and what NFG values so that you too can feel at ‘home’ in our dynamic community of grantmakers and grassroots leaders.

I am a Mexican New Yorker, who immigrated from Toluca, Mexico to Detroit, Michigan as a child with my super fierce, loving, and protective parents — Aurora and Gustavo, a former public school middle school teacher and engineer. My first leadership role was navigating the language and systems of the United States — serving as my family’s language broker from the age of 8.

I am survivor of child sexual abuse and, alongside Aishah Shahidah Simmons of Love WITH Accountability, envision a world that ends child sexual abuse without relying on the criminal injustice system. My healing journey began in earnest when I became a mom to Emiliano — a now 8 year-old whirlwind of pure joy, energy, and love — and when I joined fellow survivors of color as part of the Just Beginnings Collaborative. Becoming Emiliano’s mama made me realize that I needed to be fully present and embodied to be the mama I wanted to be.
I am a banana slug by way of UC Santa Cruz, a futbol fanatic, and a fashionista. I love to dance (and met my husband, Ivan, while dancing merengue) and am a karaoke queen!
I have served as a promotora, a case manager, and a hotline call taker using my language and cultural grounding to provide access to much needed HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, and health services to the Latinx community throughout California.
I have walked alongside nearly 80 grassroots power building organizations in New York City as a consultant, place-based grantmaker, and board member, being with them as they grow in strength and numbers, as they fall and reassess, and celebrate wins for our communities.
My work and purpose is for the liberation of all marginalized people and communities. I joined NFG’s staff team three years ago as Vice President of Programs, having previously been an NFG member. I have had the privilege of working with and alongside many people in the NFG community to develop new programming and lead our 2018 and 2020 national convenings. I have also advanced our leadership development and peer coaching programs because it is clear that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American people in philanthropy often face institutional barriers to being viewed as leaders in the sector and to moving money to those most impacted by injustice. I look forward to building on this work as President.
Finding a place like NFG that you believe in, and that believes in you, is a gift. I take great care of this gift as well as pride in making sure NFG is a home where staff and members want to be.
Thank you for being part of NFG. I look forward to collaborating and co-conspiring with you to challenge systemic oppression and anti-Black racism in philanthropy as we accelerate racial, gender, economic, and climate justice with our communities and movements. Keep reading for details to join NFG's upcoming events and stay tuned for a call to action from NFG's Funders for Justice to defend Black lives.
In solidarity,
Adriana Rocha

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April 27, 2021

Building rural power for racial, economic, gender, & climate justice: NFG's April 2021 Newsletter

At Neighborhood Funders Group, we know that local grassroots organizing is key to Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities building power to influence decision-making about the places where they live, work, learn, and play. It’s how we can make sure our communities have access to clean water, stable housing, and economies that sustain people and planet. Power building is also how we will achieve community safety models that do not perpetuate violence against and criminalize Indigenous women and girls, migrants, those living in poverty, and Black and Brown people living in rural communities.

With nearly 1 of every 5 people in the U.S. living in a rural area, the trajectory of rural America is tied to the entire country’s future regarding democracy, healthcare, workers’ rights, food systems, climate change, immigration, and more. We have seen the influence and impact that rural communities have in designing and implementing progressive policy solutions that benefit all communities, regardless of their zip code. And yet, rural communities receive a sliver of philanthropic resources, with very little of this funding going to support community organizing and power building work — particularly that led by and serving Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities in rural areas.

NFG launched the Integrated Rural Strategies Group (IRSG) four years ago in partnership with funders who needed a space to learn, connect, strategize, and move resources in support of multiracial community power building in rural places. As part of our commitment to building power in place, IRSG partnered with Engage New York to commission a landscape scan of the community organizing infrastructure in New York State. Rural organizers in New York contributed to the recent passage of statewide policies, which provide critical support and solutions to BIPOC and low-income communities — in both rural and urban places. These successes were accomplished in the face of significant challenges — challenges that can be addressed if philanthropy recognized and fully resourced the power and potential of rural communities.

The community organizers and advocates interviewed for the scan have called for funders to support transformative movements to build rural power, instead of transactional models that perpetuate the status quo. The scan offers three overarching recommendations for grantmakers to take action and resource multiracial rural organizing infrastructure.

read the report!

We invite you to take a look at the report and at our launch event on May 20, explore with us how your foundation can invest in a future for rural communities and the rest of the country that is grounded in a multiracial democracy, sustainable agroecology and economies, decriminalization, and the abolition of the prison industrial complex. This new stage for IRSG's work parallels an exciting era for investments in rural communities coming from the federal level. Connect with me and IRSG funder members and sign up for IRSG’s newsletter to learn more about how your grantmaking can support rural communities to build power and thrive.

In solidarity,

Lindsay Ryder
Senior Program Manager
Integrated Rural Strategies Group

Domenico Romero
IRSG Co-Chair
Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

Allistair Mallillan
IRSG Co-Chair
Common Counsel Foundation

May 4, 2021

Introducing Philanthropy Foward: Cohort 3


We are excited to announce the launch of Philanthropy Forward's Cohort 3 in partnership with The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions!

Philanthropy Forward is a CEO fellowship community for visionary leaders who center racial and gender justice and community power building to disrupt and transform the future of philanthropy. This fellowship brings together CEOs of foundations who are supporting racial & gender justice and community power building to make deeper change at the individual, organizational, and philanthropic field levels.

  • ALEYAMMA MATHEW, she/her — Collective Future Fund
  • AMORETTA MORRIS, she/her — Borealis Philanthropy
  • ANA CONNER, they/she — Third Wave Fund
  • CARLA FREDERICKS, she/her — The Christensen Fund
  • CRAIG DRINKARD, he/him — Victoria Foundation
  • JENNIFER CHING, she/her — North Star Fund
  • JOHN BROTHERS, he/him — T. Rowe Price Foundation
  • KIYOMI FUJIKAWA, she/her — Third Wave Fund
  • LISA OWENS, she/her — Hyams Foundation
  • MOLLY SCHULTZ HAFID, she/her — Butler Family Fund
  • NICK DONOHUE, he/him — Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • NICOLE PITTMAN, she/her — Just Beginnings Collaborative
  • PHILIP LI, he/him — Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • RAJASVINI BHANSALI, she/they — Solidaire Network & Solidaire Action Fund
  • RINI BANERJEE, she/her — Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
  • TANUJA DEHNE, she/her — Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
  • YANIQUE REDWOOD, she/her — Consumer Health Foundation

learn more about each Fellow!

With a framework focused on liberated gatekeeping, accountability practices, and strategic risk taking, Philanthropy Forward is a dedicated space for leaders to organize together and boldly advance the transformed future of the sector. This growing fellowship of visionary CEOs from progressive philanthropic institutions is aligning to to disrupt and transform the future of philanthropy.

Philanthropy Forward is a joint initiative started in 2018 by Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. Learn more about the fellowship here.