Bay Area Justice Funders Network becomes Justice Funders: Powering Philanthropic Transformation

By Justice FundersPosted under Announcements

Contact: Maria Nakae, Justice Funders
(510) 604-5184

Bay Area Justice Funders Network becomes Justice Funders:
Powering Philanthropic Transformation

After eight years of successful interventions to reimagine philanthropic practices in the San Francisco bay area, Bay Area Justice Funders Network (BAJFN) becomes Justice Funders: Powering Philanthropic Transformation. Justice Funders is a national outgrowth of local work tested and incubated in BAJFN. Building on our success as a network, Justice Funders’ work will expand to include the Bay Area Justice Funders Network as well as leadership development, consulting, and a lab for experimental philanthropy.

The organization originally emerged following the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police, as leaders of social justice philanthropies sought increased coordination between philanthropy and organized communities. “BAJFN was the manifestation of the need for philanthropy to organize across the silos of identity, issue and geography while working to simultaneously unlock philanthropic resources for movements,” says Vanessa Daniel, founding Steering Committee member and Executive Director of the Groundswell Fund.

Justice Funders’ “movement accountability” is what Alexander Saingchin, Program Director at the Common Counsel Foundation, notes has been key to the organization’s success. “A lot of affinity groups are driven by their funder membership, which really means driven by people in close proximity to wealth and power. Coming into philanthropy as a community organizer, it has been refreshing to experience Justice Funders as a values-driven organization advancing movement priorities within philanthropy.”

Community leaders echo Saingchin. “BAJFN has been a partner and ally in building a powerful movement, from developing Bay Rising as a regional vehicle to align community and funder support for Contra Costa County to always being an advocate, cheerleader, and strategist,” says Kate O’Hara, Executive Director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE). Lesser known has been the resource mobilization and coordination work Justice Funders has done over the past three years. Saingchin estimates that Justice Funders has aligned about $1.5M in c3 and c4 resources to support regional alliances comprised of front-line organizations working for racial and economic justice.

Justice Funders’ programmatic expansion includes new programming for executives and trustees of philanthropic organizations, and the growth of the Harmony Initiative, a program for program officers and staff within foundations. “Learning about the barriers grantmakers experience within their institutions made us realize the need for every level of philanthropic organizations to be supported towards creating a more just sector,” says Executive Director, Dana Kawaoka-Chen. Justice Funders is also launching a consulting arm to work with clients such as the Health and Environmental Funders Network (HEFN) to help funders increase giving for grassroots organizing and to organizations led by people of color and women. HEFN’s Executive Director, Kathy Sessions, noted how this consultative relationship maximized the strength of their organization: “Working with Rachel and Dana has enabled us to deepen our leadership development offerings and move further in our commitment to elevating equity and justice in philanthropy.”

Justice Funders’ move to expand its work nationally reflects the professional and leadership development needs across the philanthropic sector. At the same time, Justice Funders recognizes that the need for its bay area network continues to grow. The Bay Area Justice Funders Network will remain a local testing ground for Bay Area funders to grow in their capacity to fund social justice movements.

To learn more about how Justice Funders is powering philanthropic transformation, visit:, follow us on Twitter @justicefunders or contact Maria Nakae, Engagement Director, at