March 8, 2016

Shifting Gears for Racial Justice

by Lindsay Ryder
Program Officer, Security & Rights Collaborative

What does “acting in solidarity” mean to you?

“Understanding and acting on the connections between our common struggles.”

“Creating space in our field meetings, calls and events to address anti-black racism in our spaces.”

“Joining direct action with other communities of color to demand reform, accountability and awareness.”

These are a few of the answer that leaders of national civil rights organizations provided in response to this question, and their statements embody the intersectional and cross-community dialogue we have been working to foster over the past year.

In 2014, the Security & Rights Collaborative (SRC) undertook a field landscape study and strategy review process. The SRC is a donor collaborative — a grantmaking initiative that pools the funds of foundation and individual donors — and is the only national funding collaborative specifically supporting Muslim, Arab and South Asian (MASA) communities. 

Following five years of targeted grantmaking designed to build the capacity of a field of MASA organizations and strengthen civil rights protections in a national security context, the SRC is now moving forward with a renewed strategy — one that is more directly aligned with the natural trajectory of the field and serves to integrate these issues and communities into the broader rights movement. Our timing could not have been better, considering the immense shift in the field, culture, and conversation around issues of race and justice we have witnessed in the past year and a half. I encourage funders to consider looking at their strategy with a similarly critical eye — the moment almost demands it!

Our goals in undertaking this review process were multiple. Namely, we desired to 1) re-envision our grantmaking strategy to meet the growing capacities and shifting needs within the field; 2) develop innovative programming designed to support diverse movements; and 3) inform our strategy for engaging other donors — whether foundations or individuals — in supporting this critical yet often overlooked set of issues and communities we support.

The results of this process have revolutionized our engagement both with the field and with other donors. And again, our timing was ideal.

The process concluded right around the time that Neighborhood Funders Group started convening a group of funders who wanted to learn more, connect, and act collectively to support the groundswell of organizing and activism in Ferguson, MO and elsewhere around the country.

This group, which came together under the name Funders for Justice, continues to meet regularly in person and on calls, and the SRC entered the space in order to connect with other funders working on issues of police accountability, racial justice and criminalization in order to learn, coordinate and amplify our efforts.

The dialogue, information sharing, and inspiration provided by Funders for Justice and its members have served to inform and reaffirm our revised strategy, and the new relationships and capacities the SRC has developed through Funders for Justice and other avenues have helped us develop an informed, coordinated response to this critical moment.

Read the full article here.

February 12, 2019

FFJ Advisor Discussion Series: Marisa Franco

Marisa Franco, FFJ Field Advisor and Director and Co-founder of of Mijente, a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing and movement building, speaks on the current political moment and how funders can contribute to movement work.

Tell us about the particular moment you are in with your work and place in the movement.

Entering into our fourth year, we are doing our best to be a vehicle to both respond to the real-time challenges our communities face and a place to find respite, connection, and replenished meaning. Given what the Latinx and Chicanx community faces, we’ve got to walk and chew gum at the same time (and hop on one leg, juggle, and balance something on our head!) but we believe that through the continued growth where organizers, healers, change-makers, designers, and disrupters feel Mijente is a place to meaningfully contribute to collective liberation means we are going in the right direction. It is my view that our most critical task at this time is growth and recruitment - millions of people are becoming exposed to the injustice and summarily wrong direction we are heading in - our organizations must be open and accessible entry points for people to contribute to moving us in the right direction.

How do you understand the political moment that we’re in? What do you think we need to do differently right now?

Ultimately I think that lots of what we reference as threats that are coming are largely here - crisis as a result of climate change is here, it’s being felt across the planet. The extreme backlash and attempt to re-entrench power due to demographic change is here, occurring in localities across the United States. Authoritarianism is a growing threat beyond Donald Trump and within the domestic United States. Given all of this, at the very least I think it’s critical we start to widen our panorama of political understanding to include outside of the United States and make the connections internationally. Rest assured, our adversaries are in coordination - we ignore our movement siblings and the struggle outside of the United States to our own detriment.

What should funders be understanding in this political moment? What should funders be doing to support organizations and movements?

What’s important to understand in this political moment is how the volatility impacts the plans, perspective, and morale of people in organizations and social movements. It has become more and more difficult to lay out plans that feel real given how normal it's become for so much to turn upside down pretty regularly. Some understanding and support of this from funders, particularly when it means proposed work is not carried out in the way it was initially described, is very helpful.

Continued support for rapid response tactics is critical, as well as funds that help convene key groups and/or leaders in this time goes a long way. In times like these, those that are able to adapt and move quickly are well positioned to make impactful changes. These folks have got to be able to do so with enough support and not too many hurdles, hoops, and paper to be able to move. So some of these existing practices around simplifying processes, making funds available for rapid response activities, and pop up convenings is something that has been helpful thus far and is important to continue.

December 10, 2018

Welcome to the new NFG website!

Thank you for visiting Neighborhood Funders Group's new website! We've completely redesigned and improved how it works to make it easier than ever for our members to use as an online resource.

What new features can you find on the site?

  • Search the entire website for news, events, and resources using the search bar at the top of every page
  • See where all of the members of our national network are based, right on our member map 
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  • Look up NFG member organizations in our member directory
  • Log in to view individual contacts in the member directory and register for events in the future

First check to see if your account has already been created for you by clicking "Forgot Password" on the log in page. Try entering your email address to activate your account and set your password.

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