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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October 24, 2019

Reflections from Philanthropy Forward's First Cohort

Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change is a CEO fellowship program created by Neighborhood Funders Group and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The program's first cohort started in October 2018 in furtherance of building and advancing a shared vision for the future of philanthropy.

Hear perspectives from members of the first cohort as they reflect in this video on their work together as strategic thought partners, addressing philanthropy's most challenging issues and aligning to build a financial engine for social change.

2018 - 2019 Philanthropy Forward Cohort

A grid with individual photos of each of the 20 members of Philanthropy Forward's 2018-2918 cohort..

Click here for participant bios

  • Dimple Abichandani, General Service Foundation
  • Sharon Alpert, Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Elizabeth Barajas-Roman, Solidago Foundation
  • Ned Calonge, The Colorado Trust
  • Irene Cooper-Basch, Victoria Foundation
  • Farhad A. Ebrahimi, The Chorus Foundation
  • Nicky Goren, Meyer Foundation
  • Justin Maxson, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
  • Joan Minieri, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock
  • Maria Mottola, New York Foundation
  • Mike Pratt, Scherman Foundation
  • Jocelyn Sargent, Hyams Foundation
  • Pamela Shifman, NoVo Foundation
  • Starsky D. Wilson, Deaconess Foundation
  • Steve Patrick, Aspen Institute Forum for Community solutions
  • Dennis Quirin, Raikes Foundation
September 10, 2019

For Love of Humankind: A Call to Action for Southern Philanthropy

Justin Maxson, Executive Director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, calls on fellow funding organizations based in the South to respond to the federal government's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies with three concrete actions. This post was originally published here on the foundation's website.

Justin was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, which strives to help people and places move out of poverty and achieve greater social and economic justice, is a member of NFG.


 

Justin MaxsonWe are issuing a clarion call to Southern philanthropic organizations to respond to the manic drumbeat of anti-immigrant rhetoric and cruelty coming from the White House. This month began with a mass shooting targeting the Latinx community. Days later, massive raids tore apart hundreds of families and destabilized Mississippi communities but levied no consequences for the corporate leadership that lures vulnerable people to work in grueling, dangerous conditions. It is astounding that since those events, with the resulting fear and trauma still reverberating through immigrant communities across America, the administration has: 

  • repeated its intention to end birthright citizenship, a 14th Amendment guarantee that babies born on American soil are citizens. 
  • attempted to terminate the Flores Agreement, which sets standards for the care of children in custody. This would allow the administration to detain migrant families indefinitely in facilities where children are dying of influenza, yet flu shots are not administrated, where children are sexually assaulted, where soap, toothbrushes, human contact and play are not standard, and where breastfeeding babies are taken from their mothers. Child separation is known to cause permanent psychological trauma and brain damage.
  • announced changes to the so-called “public charge rule” to make it harder for legal immigrants to secure citizenship if they use public assistance. As our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argue, this change would cause many to “forgo assistance altogether, resulting in more economic insecurity and hardship, with long-term negative consequences, particularly for children.” Further, the decision “rests on the erroneous assumption that immigrants currently of modest means are harmful to our nation and our economy, devaluing their work and contributions and discounting the upward mobility immigrant families demonstrate.”

There was also a recent effort to effectively end asylum altogether at the southern border. And despite the Supreme Court ruling blocking the citizenship question from the 2020 census, advocates believe the debate will depress response rates. As we wrote earlier this month, this administration’s animus against immigrants and increasingly aggressive ICE actions are compounding the devastating effects on communities across the country. 

Why Southern philanthropy? 

An analysis of recent grantmaking by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found our region has deportation rates five times higher than the rest of the country, yet Southern pro-immigrant organizations receive paltry philanthropic funding. Barely one percent of all money granted by the 1,000 largest foundations benefits immigrants and refugees, and even that money doesn’t go to state and local groups that are accountable to grassroots and immigrant communities. Organizations in Southern states receive less than half of the state and local funding of California, New York and Illinois. 

Where to begin? 

Speak up. As Desmund Tutu taught us, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Use your institutional voice to influence decisionmakers.

Examine your foundation’s policies. Find out if your endowment is invested in private detention centers. Consider how supporting organizing, power building and policy advocacy could advance your mission. NCRP has more recommendations in its report.

Give generously. Our partners at Hispanics in Philanthropy have curated a list of organizations helping the families affected by the raids across Mississippi. Our partners at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees have compiled a list of ways to help, from rapid response grants to long-term strategies. 

Many of the Babcock Foundation’s grantee partners are doing more and more immediate protection work, stretching themselves thin and often putting themselves at risk. They are keeping families intact in the short term while building power for the long term, so history will stop repeating: 

If you know of more resources, please share them. If you’d like to learn more about the organizations on the ground across the South – or think about ways we can do more together – contact us. We are always looking to learn and act in alignment with our fellow funders toward a shared vision of a strong, safe, welcoming and equitable region. 

Activist Jane Addams said, “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us.” Regardless of a foundation’s mission, abject cruelty surely undermines it. It also undermines the most basic tenet of philanthropy, which literally means “love for humankind.” We see no love in this administration. It’s up to all of us to spread it.