"Justice Funders serves as a True North for us in philanthropy moving ideas, money and people toward clarity in purpose. We at the Hidden Leaf Foundation deeply appreciate and have benefited from their bold vision and clear, unwavering directive in these times when we need them most." - Supriya Pillai, Executive Director, Hidden Leaf Foundation
Land Acknowledgement

The Justice Funders office is located on the unceded land of the Lisjan Ohlone people, now known as the East Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area. We recognize that we, like all non-Indigenous people in the Bay Area, have inadvertently benefitted from the genocide waged against the Lisjan Ohlone people and the theft and occupation of this land.

We believe that philanthropic institutions, as stewards of wealth that has been accumulated through the extraction of Indigenous lands and the exploitation of communities of color, have a particular responsibility to contribute to the healing of the lands they occupy and to enter into a restorative relationship with their local Indigenous communities.

For non-Indigenous people who live, work and play on this land, as well as foundations that have offices, staff members and grantmaking on this land, we invite you to pay the Shuumi Land Tax, a voluntary annual contribution to support the critical work of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust to return Indigenous land to Indigenous people.

Learn more about the Lisjan Ohlone here, and learn more about the Indigenous land you occupy at native-land.ca.

Who We Are

We envision a world that honors the sacredness of our natural resources and recognizes the inalienable rights of all.

We believe that such a world cannot be achieved if institutional philanthropy is constrained by its ingrained practices that uphold the accumulation of wealth and power, while perpetuating systemic social and economic inequality.

We assert that philanthropy’s role in building a thriving and just world is to redistribute wealth, democratize power and shift economic control to communities.

Redistribution means letting go of two narratives that currently dominate philanthropy: 1) charity, which perpetuates power dynamics between givers and receivers without tackling root causes of injustice; and 2) investment, which expects a financial return to the ultimate benefit of the investor.

By embracing redistribution, we are following the lead of the most courageous movement leaders of our time, who are standing in their power and unapologetically asserting their rights to live with dignity and to thrive. We are deeply inspired by this movement moment and recognize that now – more than ever – philanthropy must be just as bold and relentless.

What call on philanthropy to abundantly resource the movements that uproot the systems that oppress us and also support the creation of local, regenerative solidarity economies that build political, economic and cultural power in Black, Indigenous and communities of color.

Responding to the needs of both movements and the philanthropic sector, Justice Funders supports individual, organizational, and field-wide transformation in philanthropy.

We are guided by the Just Transition principles for building political and economic power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy.

As such, a Just Transition for philanthropy requires philanthropic institutions to shift their practices away from extraction towards regeneration, which requires fundamentally shifting our underlying assumptions about capital and our underlying approach to philanthropy.

Justice Funder’s 100-year vision for a Just Transition for philanthropy is detailed in Resonance: A Framework for Philanthropic Transformation. 

At Justice Funders, we are re-imagining a world that works for all of us, and philanthropy’s role in creating it.

Our History

Justice Funders emerged in 2009 as the Bay Area Justice Funders Network, as local funders sought spaces to bring the philanthropic community together with front-line leaders following the murder of Oscar Grant by BART Police. Melanie Cervantes (Akonadi Foundation), Luke Newton (Common Counsel Foundation), Vanessa Daniel (Groundswell Fund), Carmen Rojas (Mitchell Kapor Foundation), and Kazu Haga (Peace Development Fund) formed the founding steering committee, which solidified the goals for the network, raised seed monies, and hired staff.

Over the next seven years, our work began to broaden in scope and reach beyond the local network. After having tested and incubated successful interventions to re-imagine philanthropic practices, the organization adopted a new name in 2018 to reflect its expansion. Today, Justice Funders is the home of Bay Area Justice Funders Network while also 1) offering professional and leadership development programs, 2) providing coaching and consulting for organizational transformation; and 3) designing, piloting and scaling innovative collaborations that advance social justice movements.

In 2020, we began an intentional organizational development journey to deepen the alignment of our structure and practices with the principles of Just Transition, including shared leadership, democratic decision making and self-governance.

We shifted from having an Executive Director and Deputy Director to a co-Directorship model; adopted a democratic form of decision-making in which all staff share power over decisions that affect the organization; and created a governing structure made up of five cross-departmental circles that collectively coordinate and manage the organization’s internal functions.

In July 2021 we incorporate as our own 501(c)3 organization and became a worker self-directed nonprofit.

Through our organizational changes, Justice Funders is working to actualize our shared values and live into the vision of a regenerative economy based on reflective, responsive, reciprocal relationships of interdependence.