October 7, 2016

Statement from Within Our Lifetime

This rapid response statement on police killings in September 2016 was originally released by Within Our Lifetime on September 29, 2016 at http://www.withinourlifetime.net/.


 

Within Our Lifetime (WOL) supports the families of Alfred Olango, Keith Scott, Terence Crutcher, Terrence Sterling, and Tyre King (among many others) and all the people grieving, organizing and protesting for justice in El Cajon, Charlotte, Tulsa, Washington, D.C Columbus, (and beyond) in the wake of the rampant police killings of Black people across America. These tragic losses lay bare the urgent need for substantive changes in a number of areas, including law enforcement training and community oversight. We are committed to finding ways to elevate awareness of the damage inflicted by structural racism, implicit bias and racial trauma and seek opportunities for joint work and joint action toward racial equity, justice, dialogue and healing. In short, WOL is committed to ending the hierarchy of human value that exists in the United States according to race, and calls for the following:

First, law enforcement agencies locally and nationally must immediately shift administrative practices through training, professional development, and protocols of accountability dealing with implicit bias, and overt racism. Specifically, WOL demands advanced de-biasing training to decrease officer bias with accountability to the community they serve. We have all heard the video of a police officer in a helicopter in Tulsa call a Black man with his hands in the air “a bad dude”, despite no other information. In addition to becoming conscious of their internalized racism, professional development for police must also address what Camara Phyllis Jones calls personally mediated, and institutionalized racism.

Second, WOL demands specific actions to increase the capacity of the community and government to hold law enforcement officers and departments accountable. U.S. police have killed many unarmed civilians in the past 2 years, with almost no officers charged, and even fewer convicted.  We call for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the killings, and to expedite the creation of an oversight board within the Community Oriented Policing Services program to ensure that departments that receive funding are implementing community-centered strategies,  and at a local level governments should push their departments to have independent community oversight with the power to subpoena officers. Additionally, police precincts should be controlled by communities not by centralized power of the unions. We call for reparations for the families of those killed, and we call for a national database that prevents officers dismissed for misconduct in one police department from being hired in another.

Third, Within Our Lifetime formally endorses The Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform and urges our member organizations to do so as well as lawmakers in California, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio and other state and local governments, as well as the federal government to do likewise. The need for anti-racist  and direct democratic systems that include, community oversight of police departments, and the execution of all of the initiatives described in The Movement for Black Lives Policy Demands have never been more clear.

Finally, WOL recognizes the need for immediate responsiveness to impacted communities, as well as a renewed opportunity to work toward racial equity, justice and healing.  We reject all attempts to shift the blame to individuals that have been targeted by the police – reading a book, or carrying a toy gun, or having your car break down are never acceptable reasons for violent force.  We also reject all attempts to shift blame to the people protesting in the street in the wake of these senseless killings. The issue is state-sanctioned violence, not the community’s response to that violence.

We offer our support and our resources to these most recently impacted communities, with the sad recognition that this problem will not end today. We will pay special attention to the trauma and recovery of the communities most impacted, including the Black community. It is well past time for a fundamental shift in how Black lives are valued in America.  And as communities emerge from the most significant trauma and disruption, we will make available the wisdom in our network around racial healing, and the tools to fight for policy change and racial equity. We invite you to join us in this work by becoming a member of Within Our Lifetime.

Within Our Lifetime is developing a Rapid Response protocol, in collaboration with Movement NetLab, to respond to crisis situations. In the interim our areas of support your local community can request in times of crisis for preparedness are the following:

  • Emergency Financial and Material Resources: bail fund, family fund for social support costs. Movement Registry gift supplies via Amazon.
  • Regional Racial Healing Calls: emotional emancipation processes, racial healing community circles.
  • National Unified Calls to Action: mass networked symbolic and political actions that can go viral.
  • Remote Strategy Consultations: coaching on racial justice strategies and documentation of events of the incident or watershed event through media coverage.
  • Legal Support: Know Your Rights training, Tool kits, Legal Observers

To request movement support locally in your community from our interim intake process please click here. If you would like to get involved in shaping it or one of our other workgroups, please complete this form.

Here are some ways you can assist the three communities who experienced this state sanctioned violence (additional links to be provided soon for other cities):

  • Sign petitions, volunteer or donate to Charlotte Uprising HERE.
  • Donate to Movement 4 Black Lives support efforts HERE.
  • Donate to Southern Vision Alliance Charlotte support efforts HERE.

Here are few resources to continue to learn more about the issues and to share within your organization, communities, and partners:

Referenced Links:

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
  • NICK DONOHUE, he/him — Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • 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 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.

March 17, 2021

How Philanthropy Can Move from Crisis to Transformation

Dimple Abichandani, Executive Director of the General Service Foundation, urges grantmakers and the philanthropic sector to take concrete actions to defend democracy and speak out against racist attacks on people of color. This post was originally published here by the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project.

Dimple was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. General Service Foundation, which partners with grassroots organizations to bring about a more just and sustainable world, is a member of NFG.


  

Dimple AbichandaniIt was just a year ago, and yet it feels like a lifetime.

Last March, I was dreading a hectic month packed with too much work travel. Long before we had heard of Covid-19, many of us had been preparing for 2020 to be a consequential year, one in which our democracy was on the line.

My mother had generously traveled from Houston to help with childcare during my travels. Her two-week visit turned into three months, and our worlds as we knew them changed.

Covid happened.  

Then the racial justice uprisings happened.

The wildfires happened.

The election happened. 

And then an armed insurrection to overturn the democratic election results happened.

Every turn in this tumultuous year reaffirmed the reality that justice is a matter of life and death. 

Our democracy survived, though barely. But more than half a million Americans did not, and this unfathomable loss, borne disproportionately by communities of color, is still growing.

Across the philanthropic sector, funders stepped up to meet the moment. We saw payouts increase, the removal of unnecessary bureaucracy, and commitments to flexible support from not only public and private foundations but also individual philanthropists who gave unrestricted billions.

A year ago, we all faced a rapidly changing reality — one that it made it hard to know what the next month, or next year might hold.  Now, we have turned a corner in a most consequential time in American democracy, a time that has been defined by the leadership of Black women and grassroots movements for social justice that are building the power of people — and these movements are just getting started. There is momentum for change, leadership that is solidly poised to make that change, and broad-based support for the bold solutions that will move us towards a more just and equitable society.  We are in a dramatically different time that continues to call for a dramatically different kind of philanthropy.

As we look back on this year of crisis, and see the opportunities before us now more clearly, how are funders being called to contribute to the change we know is needed?  To answer these questions, I point to the truths that remained when everything else fell away.

We have the power to change the rules.

In the early days of the pandemic, close to 800 foundations came together and pledged to provide their grantees with flexible funding and to remove burdens and barriers that divert them from their work. Restrictions on funding were waived, and additional funds were released. These changes were not the result of years-long strategic planning; instead, this was a rare example of strategic action. These quick shifts allowed movement leaders to be responsive to rapidly shifting needs. Grantees were more free to act holistically, to mobilize collectively, make shared demands, and achieve staggering change.

Today, our grantees are coping with the exhaustion, burnout, and trauma from this last year, the last four years, and even the last four hundred years. Recently, many of us have begun to invest more intentionally in the healing, sustainability, and wellness of our grantees. Systemic injustice takes a toll on a very individual human level, and as funders, we can and should resource our grantees to thrive.

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Co-Executive Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center, has urged philanthropy to, “Fund us like you want us to win.” Last year, we learned that we are capable of doing just that — and doing it without delay. Let’s build on funding practices that center relationships and shift power to our grantees.

White supremacy got us into this mess; racial justice will get us out.

Racial justice went mainstream in 2020 as the multiple crises exposed deep inequities and injustices in our midst. In the months after the world witnessed a police officer brutally murder George Floyd, many funders responded with explicit new commitments to fund Black-led racial justice work. These standalone funding commitments have been hailed as a turning point in philanthropy — a recognition of the importance of resourcing racial justice movements.

As we move forward, we must ensure that these newly made commitments are durable and not just crisis-driven. Movements should not have to rely on heartbreaking headlines to drive the flow of future resources. We can build on new funding commitments by centering racial justice in all our grantmaking. As resources begin to flow, let’s ensure that our frameworks are intersectional and include a gender analysis. To demonstrate a true desire to repair, heal, and build a multiracial democracy, philanthropy must do meaningful work in our institutions so that, at all levels, there is an understanding of the root causes of inequality and the importance of investing in racial justice.  Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change, captured the centrality of this when he said, “We don’t get racial justice out of a true democracy. We get a true democracy out of racial justice.”

We know how to be “all in” when it's important. In this next period, it’s important.

With crisis as the rationalization, many endowed foundations were inspired to suspend a practice that our sector has long taken for granted: the 5% minimum distribution rule. In the face of compounding threats to our lives and our democracy, 64 individuals and foundations pledged to increase spending to 10% of the value of their endowment in 2020. And for the first time in years, the philanthropic sector is giving meaningful attention to the topic of spending decisions and the problem of treating the payout floor as though it is the ceiling.

To take full advantage of this once-in-a-generation opening for transformation, funders must put all the tools in our toolbox behind our ambitious missions. Social justice philanthropy can build new spending models that are not only more responsive to the moment, but also set our institutions up to better fulfill our missions — today and in the long-term.

This past summer, 26 million people marched in the streets of their small and large cities to proclaim that Black lives matter. It was the largest mobilization in our country’s history. Last fall, despite numerous efforts to suppress voters, social justice organizers mobilized the largest voter turnout we’ve ever seen. Now, as a result, we are in a moment that holds immense possibility. 

In big and small ways, we are all changed by this year. 

Our sector and our practice of philanthropy has changed too.  Let’s claim the opportunity that is before us by reimagining our norms and adopting practices that will continue to catalyze transformation.  The old philanthropy has been exposed as unfit. The new philanthropy is ours to create.