November 11, 2020

The Road Ahead

Neighborhood Funders Group is a place for meaning-making in philanthropy. We offer funders a political home: a place to connect, strategize, and take action.

We are about to usher in a new Presidential administration. With it comes hopes and possibilities for a country in which Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities, queer and transgender communities, rural communities, and workers and the unemployed thrive. Black and brown organizers led powerful, grassroots movements to produce historical voter turnout and build power for communities beyond electoral cycles. They did so in the face of massive voter suppression and intimidation in many of the states where the current, dangerous administration is focusing its legal and on-the-ground aggression.

Those at the frontlines — and we at NFG — know that oppressive and unequal systems have only deepened in the last years, acutely affecting daily life now and in the future. No change in Presidential administrations alone can erase this, and the threat of further austerity extends from cities and counties to the states while white nationalist and local police violence is not flagging.

Communities continue to organize and build power at significant risk of violence, often with little media attention or notice. They are still mobilizing to defend democracy and working for justice to reshape their cities and rural regions, and we at NFG are here to do the same with you — to support communities, movements, and grassroots leaders and move even more philanthropic resources to racial, economic, gender, and climate justice.
 

How NFG is making meaning of the road ahead

There is much to grapple with this election cycle and all that has come with it. Our democracy has long been under attack. Black, Indigenous, people of color, immigrant, queer, transgender, rural and unhoused communities, and essential and unemployed workers continue to bear the brunt of the global COVID-19 pandemic, white nationalism and terror, and a financial recession — all of which has exacerbated the United States’ deep racial inequities. Yet communities have continued to deepen and broaden long-term, power building movements rising up for racial justice. They have built up the critical organizing infrastructure over many years to support these movements across local, regional, and state levels. With the right resources, they can expand these movements even further and generate new models to make lasting change over time.

Fundamental shifts have occurred; aspirations for justice — including defunding police, putting housing protections in place, dismantling ICE and border militarization, and protecting & expanding worker power — have now become real conversations in communities and governments. And the effects of such grassroots resistance are evident in election results across the country: from an unprecedented paid family and medical leave guarantee in Colorado, Florida’s minimum wage hike, and Arizona’s pay increase for teachers and educational staff (paid through a tax on the wealthy), to the decriminalization of all drugs in Oregon. At the local level, Los Angeles County won a measure carving out a permanent portion of the budget for alternatives to incarceration, Philadelphia put an end to stop and frisk, and numerous other cities created citizen-led police oversight commissions.

Nonetheless, Black, Indigenous, and people of color leaders are under attack; their safety and lives are on the line for exercising their right to organize and build power. Young people of color are mobilizing the electorate, even with limited resources. The visible, violent, and racist reaction to such organizing work is a clear sign that deepening organizing is indeed shifting systems and structures — power is moving.

Philanthropy has a stake in ensuring that people can continue to organize, build power, and transform their lives and communities — in this current moment and for the long-term. And we at NFG are ready to work with you to not only move your institution, but help bring philanthropic colleagues and this broader community along.
 

What story will be told about philanthropy and the moment we are in?

In conversation with front line movements, NFG is calling on our community of grantmakers to act:

  • Build power led by marginalized communities. This includes low-income communities and workers, rural communities, Black, Indigenous and people of color, LGBTQIA and gender non-conforming people, women, and immigrants. 
  • Fund efforts to ensure the safety, protection, and resilience of movement leaders. 
  • Fund local organizing and local power building — with an eye on long-term change to sustain movements beyond election cycles. 
  • Organize philanthropy to make use of both grantmaking dollars and institutional influence to advance democracy protection.
  • Hold philanthropic leadership and board members accountable to invest in community organizing, power building, and democracy efforts.
  • Amplify narratives that center regenerative possibilities — rooted in care for people and our planet — and challenge austerity narrative and measures.
     

Connect with NFG

We need all of us. And NFG is a place for philanthropy to strategize new and more ways to show up for our communities now and in the long-term — as well as a place that provides space to find your co-conspirators, draw strength, be nourished, reflect upon and celebrate the wins and work that has been accomplished so far.

Philanthropy has a duty to show up in this monumental moment and in the fight ahead. At NFG’s 40 Years Strong virtual plenary on People, Power, and Place, Mary Hooks (Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground) issued this call to action for philanthropy: “We have to invest in the policy fights but also in new experiments and models. We have to take risks that are worthy of the courage of our people.”

Join us — and bring colleagues across & beyond your grantmaking institution — to do our collective work to organize funders and act as we have been called upon: take risks that are worthy of the courage of our people.

January 13, 2022

Saying ‘no’ and rest as resistance: NFG's December 2021 Newsletter

At the beginning of this month, Neighborhood Funders Group hosted our final Member Connection Call of 2021. These calls are informal virtual spaces for grantmakers to truly connect and co-conspire; if you haven't joined one yet, we hope that you will in 2022 — register here for our next call on January 26!

On this year's Member Connection Calls, we've talked about how we're infusing care into our organizations and grantmaking, racial capitalism, racial justice organizing in specific places (and how philanthropy must move more + more + more money to BIPOC and low-income communities), rapid response funding, and lessons revealed to us by the pandemic on how to be better grantmakers and liberate all philanthropic assets.

We've shared the things that never fail to bring us comfort, offered tips for harnessing joy in all of the seasons, and taken each other on trips through our memories to our favorite vacation spots.

After co-hosting Member Connection Calls with NFG's President, Adriana Rocha, for well over a year, I've found that something that someone shares at each call resonates deeply for me. On this December call, it was:

'No' creates space to be a whole person at and outside of work.

It feels fitting to me to be putting the finishing touches on this message to you on NFG's final workday of the year. Beginning tomorrow (December 15), NFG will be closed for a three-week paid administrative break. We're saying 'no' to more meetings, more emails, and more work in favor of pausing, stopping, and creating the space to rest. Because we know from Tricia Hersey at The Nap Ministry that REST IS RESISTANCE.

The NFG team will return to our respective home offices on Wednesday, January 5. Here's a sneak peek into NFG's 2022: we'll be sharing our new theory of change, updating our website and brand, and announcing plans for our 2022 National Convening. And we'll continue sharing how we're centering our culture of care in our efforts to shift power in philanthropy towards justice and liberation.

Truthfully, I don't expect us to feel fully rested when we return — if 'feeling fully rested' is even a possibility in a capitalist world that values grind culture and all too often uplifts white supremacy culture characteristics of perfectionism, urgency, and quantity vs. quality. But I do know that this team-wide break moves us closer to a vision where all of our communities thrive in a liberated world where we are all well, where we are all cared for, and where there is abundance for all —and NFG is invested in this vision.

We look forward to co-conspiring with you to move money to racial, gender, economic, and climate justice in 2022. And we hope that you too say 'no' to what you need to and rest in any & every way that you're able.

Cheers!
Courtney Banayad
she/her
Director of Membership and Communications

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January 12, 2022

2022 Discount Foundation Legacy Award: Call for Nominations

The nominations are now open for the 2022 Discount Foundation Legacy Award!

The Discount Foundation Legacy Award annually identifies, supports, and celebrates an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributed significantly to workers’ rights movements in the United States and/or globally. Through public recognition and a $20,000 stipend, we hope to recognize and amplify the work of individuals at the intersections leading the way toward justice for low-wage workers of color. This is a one of a kind opportunity to recognize the often unheard voices of worker movements — that includes volunteers, members, workplace leaders, and more who are transforming the lives and rights of their fellow low-wage workers of color.

To be eligible for the Award, a nominee must be active in worker justice, including but not limited to organizing and advocacy-related work. Additionally, nominees do not have to be employed at an organization or institution whose mission is to advance worker justice — they can be volunteers, members or other leaders at an organization or workplace organizing effort. We will not be asking questions regarding immigration or other legal status, and nominees do not have to reside in the US.

Nominees need to be nominated by someone other than themselves, through a simple, quick and accessible application process found here. The Award is meant only for individuals. Organizations, groups of individuals or institutions are not eligible for consideration. If you know anyone who you think should be recognized for their significant commitment to worker justice at any level — from a workplace to the neighborhood to the nation — this is your chance to provide them a powerful boost and real resources they can use in whatever way they choose! 

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In addition to being publicly recognized for their remarkable contributions to the movement, the 2022 Discount Foundation Legacy Award winner will receive a $20,000 stipend to provide them with the flexibility to expand upon their professional activities and achievements They will not be asked for any reporting requirements, and the funding has no specific strings attached or other specific obligations. The winner of the 2022 Discount Foundation Legacy Award will be invited to be honored at a virtual event in 2022. To learn more about the eligibility requirements and nomination process, please see our FAQs here — and please spread the word about this opportunity to your networks, colleagues and friends!

All nominations must be received by 11:59pm ET on March 7, 2022 through the online nomination form. We’re happy to help answer questions about the award, or support with any trouble you have with the application — please reach out to emily@jwj.org.

Created in partnership with Jobs With Justice Education Fund and the Neighborhood Funders Group’s Funders for a Just Economy, the Discount Foundation Legacy Award was launched in 2015 to commemorate and carry on the legacy of the Foundation’s decades-long history of supporting leading edge organizing in the worker justice arena beyond its spend down as a foundation in 2014. Learn more about the Discount Foundation Legacy Award.
 

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