November 10, 2016
Dear Justice Funders,
As the nation comes to terms with the outcome of Tuesday’s election and what it means, we wanted to shift some of the mourning, fear and rage into ensuring that as Justice Funders, we are moving forward with Integrity & Authenticity by living and acting in accordance with our values.
WE MUST MOBILIZE PHILANTHROPIC RESOURCES!
As stories from across the country pour in of increased physical and verbal violence, hate speech, and blatant racism on people of color following the outcome of Tuesday’s election, we need Justice Funders to activate their personal values of Courage & Responsibility to leverage our access, skills and power to mobilize additional philanthropic resources to support front-line organizations led by low-income communities of color and other marginalized communities to continue to organize a bigger, and more powerful grassroots base. These organizations: invest in the authentic leadership of these communities, broaden the social cohesion within these communities, and ultimately empower these communities to advance their own visions and policies for a world where hate, xenophobia, classism, and misogyny become the margins. Theirs is the vision that we, as Justice Funders, must cultivate.
INCREASE SUPPORT FOR GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING!
As we look at all of the “red states” on the national map and note the narrow margins of victory in the Presidential race, now is not the time to play the old philanthropic “shell game.” While we know that there will be a desire to shift resources from progressive bastions like the Bay Area and California, we also know that less than 3% of all foundation dollars go to support organizing overall. We emphatically encourage folks to resist shifting resources from progressive strongholds to resource other geographies with less capacity and resist the allure of funding national, “top-down,” strategies. Now more than ever, we need Justice Funders to exert our values of Solidarity & Collectivity in being allies and champions with and for grassroots movements. Support for geographies with less capacity must be paired with resourcing geographies and communities that serve as our beacons of hope.
Indeed, progressive wins at the local level in the Bay Area speak to the power of having a mature set of frontline organizations with deep relationships in community who can advance policies towards progressive structural change. For example, with support from members of this network, our movements won 12 of the 18 measures that the alliance of Bay Rising took positions on. Given that some of these measures included rent control policies that have been in place for 30 years, and well-funded oppositions, these wins speak to what is possible when we fund organizing in marginalized communities.
In this moment, we encourage those that are already supporting frontline organizations to: fund the full eco-system of organizations that use leadership development and political education to build power in marginalized communities; support grassroots organizing efforts to contest for power, and; connect grassroots organizing with civic engagement strategies with both c3 and c4 investments to win!
AND FUND MULTI-RACIAL/MULTI-ISSUE ALLIANCES AND GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS!
A Presidential campaign won on the basis of fear, bigotry, and the alienation of communities must in turn be countered with movements based on love, self-determination, and radical inclusion. Alliances of frontline organizations bringing together varied constituencies and issues do just that. As we chart a path in an uncertain future, Justice Funders must practice our values of Dignity & Equity to ensure equal rights and access for all people and their dignity of self-determination.
If we can be of support, please do not hesitate to call on us.
In Solidarity & Collectivity,
Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Network Director
Alexander Saingchin, Chair