December 11, 2017

NFG moves into grantmaking with a multimillion-dollar collaborative fund

Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) steps into the role of collaborative grantmaker with The Amplify Fund—a new, multimillion-dollar pooled fund focused on investing in equitable, community-led development. The fund, which is seeded by Surdna Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, is an opportunity for funders to support work to shift local power structures and put decisions about local development in the hands of residents.

“Neighborhood Funders Group’s core purpose is to build philanthropy’s capacity to move more resources more effectively to low-income communities and communities of color,” said Dennis Quirin, president of NFG. “The Amplify Fund is a catalytic opportunity for NFG to live its mission and provide a vehicle for funders to resource this critical work in a more impactful and collaborative way.” 

Jerry Maldonado, program officer at Ford Foundation said, “The Ford Foundation sees NFG and its network of field leaders as a driving force in organizing philanthropy to move resources to equitable and sustainable community development. That's why we at Ford are so excited to be launching the Amplify Fund alongside other funders that share a vision of equitable community development.”

NFG has hired Amy Morris, former NFG board member and former Surdna Foundation program officer, to serve as the fund's Director. The fund will invest in regions of the U.S. that are grappling with development, displacement, and gentrification—where sustainable community power will support long-term wins.

“The strategy and vision for this fund builds on the hard work of field leaders who have developed the guiding analysis and strategic thinking in the very early stages of the fund’s conception, and will continue to remain at the center of the effort,” said Amy of the fund’s grantmaking strategy.

The goal of the fund is to bolster the ability of communities of color and low-income communities to guide decisions about just and equitable neighborhood development to shape the places they live. This ambitious goal is grounded in the funders’ shared belief that, as a society, we need a sustainable political and governing infrastructure that prioritizes the needs of people above corporations, and empowers communities that are underrepresented in our civic culture to be authentic stakeholders in the decisions that affect their daily lives.

Deidre Swesnik, program officer at the Open Society Foundations, said of the Amplify Fund’s focus, “The barriers to making local and regional development truly equitable are substantial. By combining forces and sharing analysis and strategy, we can maximize our impact and our reach—building the power, influence, and direct decision-making authority of communities of color and low-income communities in regions across the country.”

“The Amplify Fund will bolster the ongoing efforts of residents in historically marginalized communities and support local movements toward equitable community development,” said Phillip Henderson, president of the Surdna Foundation. “We are truly grateful to partner with Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Neighborhood Funders Group to launch this ambitious initiative that will build and strengthen the field of community-engaged development to create just and sustainable communities for the future.”

The fund is looking to raise at least $14M to support grantmaking and programming in up to ten sites over a four-year period. To date, the seed funders have pooled the majority of this budget goal, but we’re not all the way there yet. The Amplify Fund invites other funders in the NFG network and beyond to join this exciting effort. Foundations or donors that join the fund in 2018 may have the opportunity to sit on the national steering committee, help select sites, guide strategy decisions, and determine structure and grantmaking practice.

For more information about how to join the Amplify Fund, please contact the fund’s director, Amy Morris, at amy@nfg.org.

February 28, 2020

NFG Newsletter - February 2020

February is Black History Month and, in this newsletter, NFG honors Black resistance. Given the persistence of structural racism and the legacies of segregation, NFG has mobilized philanthropy to support POC-led organizing for equitable development since our start 40 years ago. Through our member-led and local advisor-led programming, we are lifting up how Black communities are reclaiming land ownership and addressing the racial wealth gap through grassroots power building.

At the beginning of the month, NFG’s Amplify Fund staff and steering committee spent a day with local organizers, non-profit leaders, and organizations in Charleston and Edisto Island, South Carolina — one of Amplify’s eight sites. Both national and local grantmakers learned alongside some of Amplify’s grantees, including the Center for Heirs’ Property PreservationLow Country Alliance for Model CommunitiesCarolina Youth Action Project, and South Carolina Association for Community and Economic Development, which are bringing together Black, Latinx communities and youth in the region to fight for community power, land rights, and environmental justice in the face of corporate power, criminalization of communities of color due to gentrification, and land theft.

This week, NFG’s Democratizing Development Program (DDP) hosted a two-day Health, Housing, Race, Equity and Power Funders Convening in Oakland, California. Over 100 participants grappled with how anti-Blackness and xenophobia fuel the complex housing & health crisis and community trauma, and heard examples of concrete organizing wins led by Black women from Moms 4 Housing and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Organizers from around the country urged grantmakers to significantly invest in long-term general operating support, community ownership models, POC leadership, and 501(c)4 funding for Black, Indigenous, and POC communities engaging in policy and systems change around housing affordability and justice. 

From Amplify’s funder collaborative to the DDP convening’s planning committee, funders organizing other funders has been a key part of our work. Funder members: how are you stepping up as an organizer and moving more resources for power building in Black, Indigenous, and POC communities? We invite you to connect with NFG staffprograms, and upcoming events — including our National Convening — and be part of our community where we bring funders together to learn, connect, and mobilize resources with an intersectional and place-based focus. 

Onwards,
The NFG team

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January 23, 2020

NFG Newsletter - January 2020

Animated fireworks with the text "40 Years Strong"

This year marks NFG's 40th anniversary. During our early years, NFG was one of the few spaces in philanthropy specifically focused on people of color-led, grassroots organizing, and power building as the key to effective social change strategies. Today, NFG continues to be many funders' political home at a time when moving resources to struggles for justice is critically important: communities of color are bearing the brunt of the housing crisis, growing wealth and income inequality, and climate change; white nationalist backlash is rising; and our democracy is profoundly threatened. NFG is a space to draw support, deepen relationships, and find co-conspirators as we propel philanthropy to shift power and money towards justice and equity.

In 2020, the NFG network is continuing to explore structural racism in health and housing, racial capitalism, migrant worker justice in rural areas, reimagining community safety and justice, and more. We will also return ‘home’ to NFG’s founding city — Washington, D.C. — for our 2020 National Convening.

As we celebrate 40 years, our dynamic community of grantmakers and grassroots leaders is what makes us strong. This newsletter spotlights The Libra Foundation, an NFG member that shares our commitment to organizing funders in moving more resources to frontline communities and movements.

Keep reading below for more opportunities to engage with NFG. Whether you are new to NFG or a long-time member, we look forward to collaborating with you to accelerate racial, gender, economic, and climate justice.
 
Onwards,
The NFG team

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