Support Minneapolis Protesters

Last updated December 2, 201. Please check back regularly for updates.

DONATE to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis: Please donate to help support their efforts with bail, legal support, and other supplies.

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November 27, 2015

Dear Community,

In the past 10 days Minneapolis has experienced horrific acts of violence, first with the shooting of Jamar Clark, a 24 year old unarmed black man, who was killed by the Minneapolis police just over a week ago. Then, on Monday night, in the wake of an ongoing peaceful occupation demanding justice for Jamar Clark outside of Minneapolis’ 4th Police Precinct, white supremacists shot at peaceful protesters, injuring five protesters. This is an incredibly traumatic time for our city and especially for the lead organizers/organizations who have been strategically organizing around the clock for the past 10 days.

Many of you have asked how you can help. Thank you. Please read on about what support is most urgently needed.

Headwaters is proud to continue to stand with our grantee partners, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis— leading the efforts to maintain a peaceful 24-7 occupation, organizing marches, events, and meeting with policy makers from the Governor to the Department of Justice. Organizing alongside them, is our grantee partner, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC)—the NOC office has been used as the organizing hub and meeting space for BLM-MPLS, offering a safe space for meetings, press conferences, healing, warmth, electricity, covering printing costs, access to the internet, and more. Both groups are working together to demand justice for the killing of Jamar Clark and to address some of the worst-in-the-nation disparities between African Americans and whites. Their fight is not just for one man, but for the thousands of black and brown people who unjustifiably die at the hands of law enforcement and as a result of our broken systems. Protestors have responded with courage and love. In response to the shootings on Monday night, over 2,000 people joined together to march for justice and peace from North Minneapolis to City Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

We’ve spoken with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change about their immediate needs. We know there will be short and long term needs to sustain and grow this work, but we want to let you know about ways you can help right now. We think of this as “rapid emergency response” for social justice organizing.

Current Needs:

Harriet’s Apothecary Healers
Covers costs, including, travel and lodging, to bring several nationally renowned Black healers to work with our community.
Cost Estimate: $10,000

Material Needs to support on-going organizing:
Food, flyers, pens/paper, clipboards, email access, phones, non-violent direct action training, funeral costs, transportation costs.
Cost Estimate: $20,000

Stipends to Organizers-in-Need:
Hourly compensation for community members (without a financial safety net) now serving as organizations.
Cost: $8,000

Because we see this as “rapid emergency response” social justice funding, we advise you to send donations directly to Black Lives Matter, noting “Emergency Response-Social Justice Organizing” in the comment field so funds can be directed accordingly.

If donations require a 501 c3, please make donations to Headwaters Foundation for Justice, noting “Emergency Response-Social Justice Organizing” in the comment field so all funds can be directed accordingly.

Please feel free to call my cell phone with any questions, 612-822-8966.

We all have a role to play.

“We want them to stop killing us. We have rung the bells loud. We are not going to take this anymore.” Lena Gardner, member of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

Headwaters’ Giving Project participant and donor-activist Emma Buechs recently wrote from the 4th Police Precinct:  In these moments of fear and violence I am so grateful for the power of community, for the strength in hope, for the energy of song and dance and drums, for the smart and persistent organizing of @blacklivesmattermpls, and for the belief that we can and will win, that we can create a system not ruled by white supremacy, that we can be liberated if we all stand together.

With deep appreciation, and in solidarity,

David Nicholson
Executive Director
Headwaters Foundation for Justice

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November 23, 2015

Headwater Foundation Statement in Support of Minneapolis Protesters

Dear Funders for Justice Colleagues,

In the past several weeks, we have all seen violence and fear rock our cities, our nation, and the global community.

In my own city of Minneapolis, early Sunday morning police shot Jamar Clark, a 24 year old unarmed black man. While we might not yet know all the specifics surrounding the killing of Jamar, what we do know is that this is an all too familiar occurrence in our nation.

From Ferguson to Baltimore to New York and everywhere in between, our structures and systems are in urgent need of change. Race and racism are at the center of so many of our broken institutions: policing, health care, education, housing, and so many more.

At Headwaters, we fund groups organizing for justice and equity. Our grantees are in it for the long haul, and they are bending the arc of justice with each step they take whether through direct action or policy advocacy.

We are honored to stand with our grantee partner, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, and other organizations, such as the NAACP and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, as they courageously organize for #justice4jamar. Their fight is not just for one man, but for the thousands of black and brown people who unjustifiably die at the hands of law enforcement and as a result of our broken systems.

“We want them to stop killing us. We have rung the bells loud. We are not going to take this anymore.” Lena Gardner, member of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

Watch the videos, look at the photos, follow the work of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, and contribute resources. We all have a role to play.

Late last night from the 4th police precinct in Minneapolis, Headwaters’ Giving Project participant and donor-activist Emma Buechs wrote: We are not leaving until our demands are met. In these moments of fear and violence I am so grateful for the power of community, for the strength in hope, for the energy of song and dance and drums, for the smart and persistent organizing of @blacklivesmattermpls, and for the belief that we can and will win, that we can create a system not ruled by white supremacy, that we can be liberated if we all stand together.

With deep appreciation, and in solidarity,

David Nicholson
Executive Director
Headwaters Foundation for Justice
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Press Release from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2015

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Calls for Civil Rights Investigation into Abuses of Peaceful Protesters

Community members vow to continue occupation of 4th precinct until video of the killing of Jamar Clark is released

A statement from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis:

Last night, community members showed incredible restraint in the face of militarized aggression during a time of painful mourning of the killing of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man witnesses say was handcuffed and shot in the head “execution style”. We have, and will continue to call for Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau to ask the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately release the tapes of Jamar’s killing.

We demand an immediate end to the harassment of peaceful demonstrators, and call for civil rights investigation into police violence against protesters. Some of the egregious violations of civil rights documented last night include:

An officer punched a young woman in the face before macing a crowd of people
Police pointed potentially lethal weapons in the face of numerous peaceful protesters including Congressman Keith Ellison’s son.

Police maced scores of people including WCCO journalist and Northsider Reg Chapman.
Police shot a 14 year old child with a marker bullet.

At 2:45am Police advanced into camp, tore ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter banner down, & retreated behind the barricade again

Police made false claims that pepper spray was coming from protesters not them.
We understand the frustration of community members who may take actions not sanctioned by our group; this is a time of grief and rage and we remain committed to nonviolent direct action. As has always been the case, our members remained committed to peaceful protest even in the face of growing escalation.

We want to thank Council members Bender, Cano, Gordon, Andrew Johnson, Glidden, Rep. Dehn, and the hundreds of community members who joined us last night. However, we are disappointed in the actions of Mayor Hodges, Chief Harteau, Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson, and 4th precinct Council Member Blong Yang for their lack of commitment to the welfare of Black residents in Minneapolis and beyond.

This incident is receiving international press coverage because it is emblematic of the larger problem of a culture of policing in America where Black lives do not matter. We call on City council and city leadership to take dramatic and bold action to stop another shooting death of an unarmed Black person from happening.

Despite attacks on the protestors and community, we're still here and more determined than ever to get justice for Jamar, and to see the video footage of his killing. Please join us at 5:00pm today for an action as we continue the occupation at the 4th Precinct.

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Black Lives Matter Minneapolis is a group of Black and allied organizers in Minneapolis, Minn. working in solidarity with the national Black Lives Matter movement.

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DOJ: Protect Black Activists from White Vigilante Violence
“We Cannot Live without Our Lives”
—Audre Lorde, Black author, poet, activist, and academic
The Black Lives Matter Network stands in solidarity with the five members of the #BlackLivesMatter Minneapolis chapter that were shot on Monday night. All five are reportedly in stable condition. Protestors were shot as they attempted to move a group of apparently armed white men away from a peaceful protest over the fatal shooting of unarmed Black 24-year-old man Jamar Clark by a police officer.
While activists on the ground at the #4thPrecinctShutDown are shaken, they are not derailed in their efforts. They will remain at the scene, occupying the precinct, until justice for Jamar Clark and his family is served.
The war on Black lives is escalating, and it’s time for President Obama to intervene. The Black Lives Matter Network urgently calls upon the Department of Justice to investigate this shooting as a hate crime.
This shooting of Black activists by white vigilantes in Minneapolis is a symptom of a much larger problem—that while the homegrown domestic terrorism of white supremacists is alive and well in 2015, it too often lives in the shadows of media coverage dominated by the international terrorism of so-called religious extremists.
But, organized white American vigilantism too, is terrorism.
It is a terrifying kind of terrorism where the “radicalization” of white supremacists is allowed to grow in plain sight, erased by an invisibility cloak of media neglect, endorsed by politicians, egged on by online trolls, and entrenched by an anti-Black state and civil society.
When white males of the far right carry out violent attacks, they are typically described in media, and by neocons and Republicans, as independent actors, rather than members of well-organized terrorist movements. In fact, a recent study found that, despite Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s desire to increase targeted surveillance of Black activists and Muslim communities, white supremacists are actually more dangerous to America than foreign terrorists. Most terrorist activity has come not from Muslims or from Black people, but from a combination of radical Christians, white supremacists, and far-right militia groups.
The Black Lives Matter Network also calls upon the Department of Justice to investigate the Minneapolis police department’s negligent and incompetent conduct in response to this crime. Instead of responding appropriately to secure the safety of protestors who had previously reported credible threats made by white supremacists, the concerns of protestors were ignored. Instead of immediately assisting those injured, Minneapolis police maced protestors who were attempting to record events as they occurred. Rather than take witness statements, Minneapolis police mocked the suffering of Black activists, insisting that by demanding answers in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, protestors had brought the violence upon themselves. Blaming the targets of racist violence is an old trope, but one we must actively and wholeheartedly reject. Our right to organize in defense of Black lives is inherent and inalienable, and beyond the jurisdiction of any law enforcement or white hate group.
White vigilantism is a persistent threat that exists to uphold the war on Black lives, reinforce existing racial power dynamics as the status quo, and terrify Black people into silence. But we will not be silent in the face of this long-held extension of state violence.
We will continue the occupation of the 4th precinct. We will not be intimidated by white supremacy. We will not bow down to white vigilante terror. Just as our ancestors in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s sang, we ain’t gonna let white supremacy turn us around.
Not now, not ever.
We demand #Justice4Jamar, justice for the five victims of this racist hate crime, and all victims of police violence
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.

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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