DEFINITION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE PHILANTHROPY
Social justice philanthropy is the intentional partnering of donors, foundations, and community based organizations. Together, we actively increase resources for those most impacted by inequity to work for social transformation through building solidarity, power, and movement across communities. Social Justice Philanthropy supports the recognition of civil, indigenous and human rights, and the redistribution of all aspects of well-being.
The Bay Area Justice Funders Network (BAJFN) is an alliance of funders working to help advance a justice agenda and strengthen grantmaking for social justice movements in the Bay Area and beyond. BAJFN emerged in 2009, following the murder of Oscar Grant by BART Police, as local funders sought spaces to bring the local philanthropic community together with front-line leaders. Melanie Cervantes (Akonadi), Luke Newton (Common Counsel), Vanessa Daniel (Groundswell Fund), Carmen Rojas (Mitchell Kapor), and Kazu Haga (Peace Development Fund) formed BAJFN’s founding steering committee, which solidified the goals for the network, raised seed monies, facilitated fiscal sponsorship with the Common Counsel Foundation, and hired staff.
BAJFN emerged during the Great Recession to a changing philanthropic landscape. Despite an increase in the number of philanthropic affinity groups in the last decade, the infrastructure for social justice philanthropy has weakened as fewer organizations hold responsibility for advancing alignment more broadly in the field, let alone around social justice philanthropic analysis and praxis. In the eco-system of national philanthropic infrastructure, few of the more than 400 philanthropic affinity groups are dedicated to social justice and equity. The demise of entities like the National Network of Grantmakers (NNG), Funding Exchange and the loss of internationally renowned philanthropic institutions like the Vanguard Public Foundation demonstrate the fragility of the field of progressive philanthropy, and highlight the need for a voice, champion, and organizer of progressive philanthropies.
It is with this analysis that BAJFN has worked to actualize three goals:
As a membership-based organization, BAJFN works to advance this collective purpose in the practice of its members.