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:

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.

We're currently in soft launch mode before we publicly announce the new site in January 2019, so thanks for taking an initial sneak peek! Please excuse our digital dust as we finish testing all of the features of our new website. You can find a temporary archive of our old site at old.nfg.org.

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 
  • Discover more related content, tagged by topic and format, at the bottom of every page
  • 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

If your organization is an NFG member, first check to see if your account has already been created for you. Click "Forgot Password" on the log in page and try entering your work email address to activate your account and set your password.

Let us know at support@nfg.org if you come across any issues logging in, or anywhere else on the site. Stay tuned for our official launch announcement, and thanks for visiting!

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December 4, 2018

From Sector Newcomer to Board Member

Marjona Jones joined the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock four years ago after working in the field as an organizer for 14 years. She came to Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) through an existing relationship between Veatch and NFG: Molly Schultz Hafid, former assistant director at Veatch, also served as an NFG board member and co-chair for the Funders for a Just Economy (FJE) working group. “She was outgoing co-chair when I was hired at Veatch — the relationships she had built through that working group were important to me as well because I also worked around economic equity,” says Marjona. Initially, NFG was a space of learning for Marjona as a newcomer to the sector:

I joined [FJE’s] program committee, and then was invited to join the coordinating committee. It was an education! It was really about supporting the working group in order to create opportunities for funders to come together, hear about grantees, and think about how to create more space within philanthropy for this. That takes building relationships within philanthropy. That takes creating more breadth for funders to leverage what we have, and more, for our grantees. We’ve got to do that by educating one another within philanthropy.

NFG was also a space of affirmation and sustenance for Marjona, whose organizing background and perspective from the field anchors her work as a grantmaker and informs her relationships with grantees. At NFG, she found a commitment to racial and economic justice that matched her own. She has gone on to become centrally involved in NFG, joining Funders for Justice (FFJ), participating in Project Phoenix, and now serving on NFG’s board. 

An Intersectional Framework

NFG centers people in its work, helping funders understand the meaning of an intersectional analysis and apply it to their grantmaking. Marjona lifts up FJE’s Working at the Intersections program as an example:

Something I really want to share is a report that Working at the Intersections put out [titled Journey Towards Intersectional Grant-making] about best practices for how we want and need to support work at the intersections of identity. “Intersectional” is often just a buzzword, and so we thought it would be good to offer understanding around how that perspective plays out, and how it plays out within philanthropy too.

To me, it was a beautiful convening that we did [with Working at the Intersections]. It really opened up folks to talk about what it is we deal with as women of color within philanthropy. We need to be mindful about how that impacts the field of philanthropy, and how we move our work. There are layers that we have to be very intentional about if we really care about justice liberation and how all those things intersect. If we aren’t mindful of this, we can be really shortsighted then in funding program work because we are so siloed in philanthropy — ‘This week she will show up as a worker, next week she will show up as a woman, the following week as a person of color…’

Because of [Veatch’s’ general support grants], our funding isn’t requiring people to carve up their identities, which I think is a disservice. Requiring people to show up in this way sometimes impacts and distracts from the work.

In speaking about how NFG promotes an intersectional approach in the philanthropic sector, Marjona also highlights her participation in NFG’s Project Phoenix: Connecting Democracy, Economy, and Sustainability, a year-long cohort collective learning program for funders. For Project Phoenix, the term “new economy” means intersectional activities with an intention to support a democracy that works for all, an economy that provides good jobs and promotes local economic prosperity, the growth of ecologically sustainable and non-extractive sectors, and a re-prioritization of the role of capital in society to better serve these goals. Marjona shares how participating in Project Phoenix expanded her understanding about environmental grantmaking:

Project Phoenix really helped me understand my work a great deal, because it was focused on democracy and the environment. It was hard for me as a general support funder to see our role in moving that work because we have an environmental portfolio, but we didn’t have a way of supporting those intersections [of racial and economic justice].

Project Phoenix was helpful for me to understand all the different ways the work that we fund had a place [in the environmental landscape]. It was important for me to understand where we fit in the larger field of philanthropy. And it was also really helpful to understand our current socio-economic moment — capitalism, it extracts not just resources from the ground but it extracts resources from working-class, poor communities; it extracts people, it extracts lives, it extracts health. Prisoners are used as free labor to make goods and then those goods are sold back to us. It extracts our wealth — from the way the banking system works to the way it suppresses wages.  

So it helped me understand when you are talking about climate change and environmental protections, you need to be talking about worker protections, and housing, and health, and education. All of these things are connected. You can’t talk about these things in a vacuum. Those organizations that are focused on the environment without thinking about people need to be focused on people as well.

Amplifying Resources and Awareness in Critical Times 

Marjona shares an example of how NFG plays a powerful and responsive role in amplifying resources for racial justice through the network of funders with whom the organization has built a shared values framework and provided concrete, immediate avenues for funders to take action. With the organizers in 2014 who were taking a stand on the ground to protest the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Marjona understood the importance of supporting them with navigating the same criminal justice system that was being used to target and intimidate them. She worked closely with NFG’s Funders for Justice program staff to convene a conference call to mobilize resources and support the organizers’ legal costs: 

There were protests happening in St. Louis, and they needed emergency funds for bail support and organizers to work on legal aspects such as defending people, going with them to court, and helping them through the process. I felt that was critical because it is something that gets left out of grant proposals. People are going to put their freedom on the line — what happens to them once they are arrested, charged, and have to go to court? This is a concern especially in St. Louis, where folks are often new or first time offenders.

I remember emailing Lorraine [Ramirez, Senior Program Manager] at Funders for Justice, asking, ‘Can you send this out to the listserv?’ And she said, ‘Why don’t we do a call?’ I helped get folks on the phone, and they ended up getting support. It wasn’t a large call; it was just a handful of funders. But, I feel like if there had not been FFJ, I would have had to do that legwork myself, and to be honest, I don’t know if I would have been able to call funders individually to get that support while I had the work of my docket. I could not have brought people to the table so quickly on the strength of my own relationships.  

Because NFG has been organizing within philanthropy over the years with convenings and webinars, they have built up integrity in the field. People know to go to NFG if they have questions about black organizing and police brutality. So when NFG puts a call out asking if we can move resources for something, people will join and pony up.

Supporting Members to Engage Actively 

The ways that NFG supports its members to go deeper and develop a broader understanding of their role and potential for impact is important to Marjona in her work:

I think folks [at NFG] understand that we need to organize. They understand that philanthropy has to be as organized as we expect our grantees to be. NFG’s convenings and information sharing help create conditions so that can happen. A lot of [the staff at NFG] are former organizers... I said it before, and I will say it again, I don’t know if I would still be in philanthropy if it had not been for NFG.

Veatch has always had a commitment to racial justice, but we have increased our giving to over a million dollars to racial justice organizing — and part of that was from our work with NFG. We said to ourselves, ‘Yes, we are doing this, but we can do more. So let’s figure out how to be creative, and how to support our colleagues in being creative as well.’

After what happened with the Ferguson uprising, there was so much handwringing on the left. Helping to break through that to take action was important — because this isn’t just about Missouri, and this goes beyond Michael Brown. This is about the nation. It helped people do something, get in the game, and be public about how they were going to support that work. Was it perfect? Hell no! Especially when you have got money and power in the mix. But it did move funders in the right direction, and that’s what we need. Because it’s really easy to sit in our offices and say, ‘I [only] have this much money, and I have to get this docket out the door.’ But we have a greater responsibility. NFG helps you understand that greater responsibility, as well as how you can take that responsibility, hone it, and bring it into the program work