August 14, 2017

Our Work Today: A Statement from FFJ Leadership

Just several days ago, the city council of Charlottesville, VA, voted to sell the Robert E. Lee statue and to create a reparations fund for Black residents, or an “equity package” which will invest $4 million in Black people of Charlottesville. Among those investments were funding for a heritage center, public housing, and GED programs. White nationalist leaders called for a national mobilization to protest the city’s historic move towards structural equity.

We all watched on Friday night as hundreds of white nationalists from around the country, marched on the University of Virginia, carrying torches, using anti-Black, anti-Semitic slurs as they violently attacked counter-protestors. It is clear this was a neo-Nazi-organized event that sought to push back progress. In the face of physical violence, the refusal of police to take action underscored the deep disparity of policing of non-violent Black protestors in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Baton Rouge, and Texas (and many other places), and this weekend’s largely white call to violence.

On Saturday, white nationalists marched through the city of Charlottesville. Physical assaults on community members escalated when one white supremacist intentionally plunged his car into a crowd of counter protestors. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman, was killed, and at least 19 other people were injured. Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, both Virginia State Officers, also died when their helicopter crashed while monitoring the violent events. In total, three people have now lost their lives as a result of this weekend’s events. As you view the links we’ve shared, we ask you to watch with care, as the images are overwhelming.

On Sunday night Governor McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville. Funders for Justice is watching this specific development carefully, as states of emergency are disproportionately used to target communities of color as well as progressive organizations and leaders. As an example, three years ago, the governor of Missouri instituted a state of emergency in Ferguson in order to quell largely non-violent protest of police abuse in Missouri, and the state of emergency provided cover for police to use militarized weapons as a form of crowd control. In particular, Black people were overwhelmingly targeted.

It is important for us to understand as funders, that this current backlash by white nationalist is a direct measure of our successes in local communities around the nation. Now more than ever, philanthropy must double down in its support to those explicitly addressing racism, white supremacy, and white nationalism. We should note that those participating in the violence were not just from Virginia; they traveled from cities and towns across our country. We are reminded that white supremacy is (and has always been) a fight at our front doors. Those committed to propagating white nationalism are anti-Black, anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, misogynist, homophobic, and anti-immigrant. Effective responses to this will be grounded in broad coalition-building.

From the activists that risked their lives in counter-protest, to those working now through the nights to prepare for what’s ahead, we continue to be inspired by the movements fighting for all of us. Funders for Justice is committed to strengthening out network so that we are even more agile, responsive, and principled in our support to them.

We will work to continue to provide you with information, opportunities to support, and ways to coordinate our efforts together. Please know that we appreciate you during this tumultuous time. Below are some quick links to ways you can respond, and for more information.

We hope you take good care. Thank you for all that you do.

In Struggle,

Tynesha McHarris, NoVo Foundation, and FFJ Co-Chair
Molly Schultz Hafid, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, and FFJ Co-Chair
Luna Yasui, Ford Foundation, and FFJ Co-Chair
Lorraine Ramirez, Funders for Justice at Neighborhood Funders Group

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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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