A Message From FFJ Leadership: In Solidarity With Chicago & Minneapolis

November 24, 2015

Dear Funders for Justice community,

Today Chicago officials released the tape of the police killing of Laquan McDonald, a year after his death. Protests have begun, and police appear to be engaged in active suppression tactics, including arrest and physical confrontation. Today on Democracy Now!, BYP100’s Charlene Carruthers explained that the city’s call for peace over Laquan McDonald does not extend to the police. While the police officer will be indicted for murder, justice is by no means guaranteed. We will share updates and ways to support as information becomes available.

And, last night five Black Lives Matter protesters were shot by a group described by victims and other witnesses as white males and possible white supremacists. We stand in solidarity with protesters in Minneapolis and across the country, and with all of you committed to supporting the grassroots organizing in demand for justice. For updates and where to donate, please check the FFJ website page in support of the protesters, the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook page, and ColorLines. If you would like help with getting in touch directly with Minneapolis organizations and grantmakers, please feel free to write to us at fundersforjustice@nfg.org.

While the shooting in Minneapolis is in itself an abhorrent act, we see it as part of escalating harassment and violence against social movements and social inclusion: in rural Oregon, activists harassed by Oath Keepers; the recent beating of a Black Lives Matters activists by Trump supporters in Alabama; and last night's shootings in Minneapolis. We believe that these may signal a growing pattern nationally rather than a series of isolated incidents - part of a trend of attacks on social movements and marginalized communities by state and non–state actors.

Such a trend of activities are abhorrent but not surprising. What is in fact most concerning is the virtual silence by government institutions and leaders. Passengers were removed from flights on Spirit and Southwest airlines due to anti-Muslism and anti-Middle Eastern profiling by passengers, yet there is continued silence from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The White House has not said that it won’t tolerate hate violence targeting people of color in America. Police failed to protect Minneapolis protesters from the shooting, despite being at a precinct – and even harassed the protestors after the shooting. The failure of government agencies to take action reveals a severe lack of accountability to the people.

Further, members of the mainstream media have neglected to call out the hate violence, and in fact blamed those attacked. Media have framed the shooters of Minneapolis protesters as “counter-demonstrators”.

Funders for Justice will explore these issues and others in our upcoming call on Dec 8th. We hope you join us, and please encourage other interested funder colleagues to join by asking them to write to us at fundersforjustice@nfg.org.

Thank you all for your leadership in philanthropy across the country.

In struggle,
Eric Ward, Ford Foundation and FFJ co-chair
Molly Schultz Hafid, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, and FFJ co-chair
Lorraine Ramirez, NFG Program Manager – Funders for Justice

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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

Welcome to the new NFG website!

Thank you for visiting Neighborhood Funders Group's new website! We've completely redesigned and improved how it works to make it easier than ever for our members to use as an online resource.

What new features can you find on the site?

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