Updates on Ferguson, Cleveland, and NYC

By Lorraine Ramirez, Program Manager, Neighborhood Funders Group, November 25, 2014.

As you know, last night it was announced that the grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. Like many of you, we are saddened and angry, but unfortunately not surprised, given the long time crisis level of police violence against communities of color, low-income communities, LGBTQ communities, and others across the country. NFG is committed to continuing this conversation and movement against systemic racism, in close partnership with our sister affinity organizations, organizers in the field, and all of you. The role of philanthropy as committed partners remains critical, as we all understand the need to build just and vibrant cities, and inclusive democracies. If you would like to become connected with NFG members talking about organizing in Ferguson and beyond, please write to us at fundersforjustice@nfg.org.

For information about current protests, calls for action, and demands for justice at the federal level, visit FergusonAction.org, and http://FergusonResponse.tumblr.com/. Also issued today were The Results are In: An Open Letter from Protestors on the Grand Jury Decision, and Letter to President Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder, a petition generated by ColorOfChange.org immediately following the grand jury verdict, and a statement from Center Social inclusion on Ferguson and the racialized cycles of poverty and criminalization. These are just a few of the many statements and opportunities for action; if you have any to recommend that NFG posts on our resource page, please write to us at fundersforjustice@nfg.org.

Last week, in anticipation of the grand jury verdict, Ferguson Governor Jay Nixon preemptively declared a state of emergency. That decision, as well as information leaks over the past few weeks, had caused the widespread expectation that the grand jury would not deliver an indictment. Several public statements were issued from national partners, including Statements to President Obama & Governor Nixon Prior to the Ferguson Grand Jury Verdict, from Muslim Advocates and fellow civil rights organizations.

For more resources for funders, visit NFG’s resource page, as well as the websites of our partners, including ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities, and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. For tools and framework on community policing, visit PolicyLink’s resource online.

We also offer these updates from Ohio and New York:

Ohio

Since John Crawford was gunned down inside a Walmart on August 5, young people led by Black youth in the Ohio Student Association have been demanding justice and organizing to fundamentally shift the relationship of power between law enforcement and our communities. The murders of Tanesha Anderson and especially 12 year old Tamir Rice continue to demonstrate the savagery and racism of police in Ohio, and we will continue to target law enforcement from local police all the way up to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine demanding the justice we as black people in Ohio deserve. As we move forward we are developing two parallel strategies: (1) regular, disruptive non violent actions to declare that we will never forget and never stop demanding the justice we deserve, and (2) coalition building to wield power with organizations and institutions across the state and nation to move policy at the local, state, and federal level that strikes at the root of police brutality and mass incarceration. Working with our partners in the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and across the nation through the Freedom Side, we are positioned to build power and develop the leadership of black and brown youth in Ohio while pushing the movement forward with bold and visionary organizing. However we have not raised the resources we need to grow or even maintain our capacity in 2015, and will need to find new streams of revenue to support the work through 2016 and beyond.

www.ohiostudentassociation.org

Twitter/IG: @OHIOstudents

www.freedomside.org

www.ohorganizing.org

James Hayes 614.216.4548 jamesh@ohorganizing.org


New York City

While the movement for police accountability and an end to systemic racism in NYC grows in power in New York, the police violence against New Yorkers also continues. Most recently, Akai Gurley was shot and killed in the Luis H. Pink Houses in East New York, yet another police assault on residents of public housing. The NAACP held a candlelight vigil for Gurley on Nov 25th; a statement from the Justice Committee on the killing of Gurley and assault on Donovan is available here. Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and its member/ally organizations continue organizing for police accountability, calling for NYPD & criminal justice accountability in recent and past cases of excessive or deadly force. This includes Akai Gurley, Donovan Lawson, Eric Garner (the Staten Island resident killed in a chokehold by police this summer), and Ramarley Graham. CPR  has put developed a number of concrete mechanisms for police accountability, as part of a movement for racial justice; these include local and statewide legislation like the Right to Know Act and the Community Safety Act, and community organizing strategies that include tactics like cop watch and training NYers on their rights. CPR also issue a statement today: After Ferguson Grand Jury Failure, Federal Government Must Act for Justice.

Contact: Joo-Hyun Kang  jkang@changethenypd.org

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October 24, 2019

Reflections from Philanthropy Forward's First Cohort

Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change is a CEO fellowship program created by Neighborhood Funders Group and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The program's first cohort started in October 2018 in furtherance of building and advancing a shared vision for the future of philanthropy.

Hear perspectives from members of the first cohort as they reflect in this video on their work together as strategic thought partners, addressing philanthropy's most challenging issues and aligning to build a financial engine for social change.

2018 - 2019 Philanthropy Forward Cohort

A grid with individual photos of each of the 20 members of Philanthropy Forward's 2018-2918 cohort..

Click here for participant bios

  • Dimple Abichandani, General Service Foundation
  • Sharon Alpert, Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Elizabeth Barajas-Roman, Solidago Foundation
  • Ned Calonge, The Colorado Trust
  • Irene Cooper-Basch, Victoria Foundation
  • Farhad A. Ebrahimi, The Chorus Foundation
  • Nicky Goren, Meyer Foundation
  • Justin Maxson, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
  • Joan Minieri, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock
  • Maria Mottola, New York Foundation
  • Mike Pratt, Scherman Foundation
  • Jocelyn Sargent, Hyams Foundation
  • Pamela Shifman, NoVo Foundation
  • Starsky D. Wilson, Deaconess Foundation
  • Steve Patrick, Aspen Institute Forum for Community solutions
  • Dennis Quirin, Raikes Foundation
September 10, 2019

For Love of Humankind: A Call to Action for Southern Philanthropy

Justin Maxson, Executive Director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, calls on fellow funding organizations based in the South to respond to the federal government's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies with three concrete actions. This post was originally published here on the foundation's website.

Justin 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. The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, which strives to help people and places move out of poverty and achieve greater social and economic justice, is a member of NFG.


 

Justin MaxsonWe are issuing a clarion call to Southern philanthropic organizations to respond to the manic drumbeat of anti-immigrant rhetoric and cruelty coming from the White House. This month began with a mass shooting targeting the Latinx community. Days later, massive raids tore apart hundreds of families and destabilized Mississippi communities but levied no consequences for the corporate leadership that lures vulnerable people to work in grueling, dangerous conditions. It is astounding that since those events, with the resulting fear and trauma still reverberating through immigrant communities across America, the administration has: 

  • repeated its intention to end birthright citizenship, a 14th Amendment guarantee that babies born on American soil are citizens. 
  • attempted to terminate the Flores Agreement, which sets standards for the care of children in custody. This would allow the administration to detain migrant families indefinitely in facilities where children are dying of influenza, yet flu shots are not administrated, where children are sexually assaulted, where soap, toothbrushes, human contact and play are not standard, and where breastfeeding babies are taken from their mothers. Child separation is known to cause permanent psychological trauma and brain damage.
  • announced changes to the so-called “public charge rule” to make it harder for legal immigrants to secure citizenship if they use public assistance. As our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argue, this change would cause many to “forgo assistance altogether, resulting in more economic insecurity and hardship, with long-term negative consequences, particularly for children.” Further, the decision “rests on the erroneous assumption that immigrants currently of modest means are harmful to our nation and our economy, devaluing their work and contributions and discounting the upward mobility immigrant families demonstrate.”

There was also a recent effort to effectively end asylum altogether at the southern border. And despite the Supreme Court ruling blocking the citizenship question from the 2020 census, advocates believe the debate will depress response rates. As we wrote earlier this month, this administration’s animus against immigrants and increasingly aggressive ICE actions are compounding the devastating effects on communities across the country. 

Why Southern philanthropy? 

An analysis of recent grantmaking by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found our region has deportation rates five times higher than the rest of the country, yet Southern pro-immigrant organizations receive paltry philanthropic funding. Barely one percent of all money granted by the 1,000 largest foundations benefits immigrants and refugees, and even that money doesn’t go to state and local groups that are accountable to grassroots and immigrant communities. Organizations in Southern states receive less than half of the state and local funding of California, New York and Illinois. 

Where to begin? 

Speak up. As Desmund Tutu taught us, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Use your institutional voice to influence decisionmakers.

Examine your foundation’s policies. Find out if your endowment is invested in private detention centers. Consider how supporting organizing, power building and policy advocacy could advance your mission. NCRP has more recommendations in its report.

Give generously. Our partners at Hispanics in Philanthropy have curated a list of organizations helping the families affected by the raids across Mississippi. Our partners at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees have compiled a list of ways to help, from rapid response grants to long-term strategies. 

Many of the Babcock Foundation’s grantee partners are doing more and more immediate protection work, stretching themselves thin and often putting themselves at risk. They are keeping families intact in the short term while building power for the long term, so history will stop repeating: 

If you know of more resources, please share them. If you’d like to learn more about the organizations on the ground across the South – or think about ways we can do more together – contact us. We are always looking to learn and act in alignment with our fellow funders toward a shared vision of a strong, safe, welcoming and equitable region. 

Activist Jane Addams said, “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us.” Regardless of a foundation’s mission, abject cruelty surely undermines it. It also undermines the most basic tenet of philanthropy, which literally means “love for humankind.” We see no love in this administration. It’s up to all of us to spread it.