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.