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.

May 21, 2021

Redefining the social & employment contract: NFG's May 2021 Newsletter

The imagination, ingenuity, and power of workers, neighbors, and organizers in regions across the country are bigger than the crises they face. NFG’s Building Power in Place (BPP) project bridges organizers and funders with place-specific research highlighting groundbreaking community and worker organizer strategies. BPP showcases the realities of what building power in place looks like and offers funder recommendations for supporting the work.

Photo courtesy of Workers Defense Project.

In Houston, Texas, communities face climate change-fueled hurricanes and disastrous freezes. Shameless voter suppression. Runaway speculation on development. Unchecked evictions. Giant corporate tax havens that allow companies off the hook — even for worker’s compensation.

Houston’s grassroots organizations are holding corporate developers, city and county officials, fossil fuel companies, land-grabbing universities and more to task for creating a haven for low-wage work, climate insecurity and displacement. Spurred by turning points like Hurricane Harvey, new coalitions have solidified that are connecting the dots between issues like voter’s rights, speculation-driven construction, gutted public services, and xenophobia targeting migrants. Movements are successfully shifting power at the county level and on contracting while piloting a new generation of green infrastructure and just transition from fossil fuels.

Following the model set by Houston funders, NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy program is bringing together funders across economic justice, civic engagement, housing, immigration, environmental justice and more. We are organizing grantmakers to join us next Thursday, May 27th at 12-1:30pm CDT to learn more and strategize about the expanding movement infrastructure redefining the social and employment contract in Houston. We’ll dialogue directly about where funders can develop local partnerships that carry a national impact. See more information in the newsletter, and register today for this dynamic meeting.

read the newsletter

May 4, 2021

Introducing Philanthropy Foward: Cohort 3

 

We are excited to announce the launch of Philanthropy Forward's Cohort 3 in partnership with The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions!

Philanthropy Forward is a CEO fellowship community for visionary leaders who center racial and gender justice and community power building to disrupt and transform the future of philanthropy. This fellowship brings together CEOs of foundations who are supporting racial & gender justice and community power building to make deeper change at the individual, organizational, and philanthropic field levels.

  • ALEYAMMA MATHEW, she/her — Collective Future Fund
  • AMORETTA MORRIS, she/her — Borealis Philanthropy
  • ANA CONNER, they/she — Third Wave Fund
  • CARLA FREDERICKS, she/her — The Christensen Fund
  • CRAIG DRINKARD, he/him — Victoria Foundation
  • JENNIFER CHING, she/her — North Star Fund
  • JOHN BROTHERS, he/him — T. Rowe Price Foundation
  • KIYOMI FUJIKAWA, she/her — Third Wave Fund
  • LISA OWENS, she/her — Hyams Foundation
  • MOLLY SCHULTZ HAFID, she/her — Butler Family Fund
  • NICOLE PITTMAN, she/her — Just Beginnings Collaborative
  • PHILIP LI, he/him — Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • RAJASVINI BHANSALI, she/they — Solidaire Network & Solidaire Action Fund
  • RINI BANERJEE, she/her — Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
  • TANUJA DEHNE, she/her — Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
  • YANIQUE REDWOOD, she/her — Consumer Health Foundation

learn more about each Fellow!

With a framework focused on liberated gatekeeping, accountability practices, and strategic risk taking, Philanthropy Forward is a dedicated space for leaders to organize together and boldly advance the transformed future of the sector. This growing fellowship of visionary CEOs from progressive philanthropic institutions is aligning to disrupt and transform the future of philanthropy.

Philanthropy Forward is a joint initiative started in 2018 by Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. Learn more about the fellowship here.