Media Archive

Leadership Legacy

by Dana Kawaoka-Chen and Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano / January 8, 2021

“As stewards of an organization working for a Just Transition for philanthropy by redistributing wealth, democratizing power and shifting economic control to communities, we understand that we, too, must create the organizational conditions to facilitate a Just Transition.”

Social Justice Philanthropy Restructures to Focus on Power

by Louise Lief, Inside Philanthropy / February 12, 2020

“For Justice Funders, equity is not an end goal but a step on the road to ‘liberation’ from extractive and exploitative systems. Many foundations will find their current practices described as ‘extractive’ or ‘less extractive’ in Justice Funders’ framework. In the final ‘regenerative’ stage, ‘wealth is redistributed, power is democratized and economic control is shifted to communities.’”

Balance of Power: A group called Justice Funders wants to democratize grant making and give more control to recipients

by Alex Daneils and Ben Gose, The Chronicle of Philanthropy / April 2, 2019

“There needs to be a shift from wealth and power being accumulated within institutions toward a new vision where philanthropy is about redistributing wealth, democratizing power, and shifting economic control to the community…Often foundations can extract labor and extract resources more than they are putting in. For justice and liberation to be truly achieved, we need to rethink the way that philanthropy as a field actually exists.”

What Do Our Times Require? Funders Propose a Philanthropic “Green New Deal”

by Jeanne Bell, Nonprofit Quarterly / March 12, 2019

Last month, more than 150 people crowded into a standing-room-only event in Oakland, California. Hosted by Justice Funders, which describes itself as “a partner and guide for philanthropy in reimagining practices that advance a thriving and just world,” the convening had a decidedly activist orientation. Speakers and participants were not there to talk about doing charity well, but rather about transforming philanthropy to its core.

Dana Kawaoka-Chen shares Justice Funders’ vision for philanthropic transformation

by Next Economy Now (Podcast)

Interview Highlights:

  • Justice Funders was born out of community organizing in the wake of the murder of Oscar Grant
  • Examining the problematic roots of philanthropy & re-imagining a more values aligned system
  • Dana shares her family story, how her father was born imprisoned in Japanese concentration camps in the United States, and how these experiences inform her work
  • “The Choir Book: A Framework for Social Justice Philanthropy” and the Resonance: a Framework for Philanthropic Transformation explore what a Just Transition can look like for philanthropy

Beyond Equity, Toward Liberation

by Dana Kawaoka-Chen / March 7, 2019

“We can remain satisfied with the goal of achieving equitable health outcomes within an extractive economic system that will continue to endlessly harm low-income communities and communities of color, in which we will always have another battle to fight. Or we can expand our imaginations to liberate ourselves from the extractive economic system altogether, and proactively work to build a society that inherently values the health and well-being of all people and the planet we live on.”

How Community-Funder Collaboratives Can Build Regional Power

by Dana Kawaoka-Chen / December 6, 2018

“Can funders and grassroots organizations form authentic partnership to align philanthropic resources around movement-identified priorities and support regional power building infrastructure?”

5 Lessons to Guide the Transition to a More Just Philanthropy

by Dana Kawaoka-Chen / December 4, 2018

“What we have learned from engaging with some of today’s most forward-thinking leaders in philanthropy is that transformation requires us to acknowledge the harm that has been done to communities through extraction and exploitation. We must bring an end to the processes and practices that reinforce existing centers of power, and instead employ practices that allow communities historically harmed through extraction and exploitation to self-govern.”

Are You Ready for a Vision of Philanthropy?

by Maria Nakae / May 9, 2018

“While we know it will take years – even decades – to truly undergo a Just Transition in philanthropy, there is no doubt that the time is NOW for funders to get on board – rather than getting left behind while upholding the status quo to maintain their wealth, power and privilege.”


#SolidarityDefenseAction Closing Comments

by Dana Kawaoka-Chen / February 13, 2018

“Asking ourselves “what is necessary?” is similar to a question that I hear often in philanthropy, “What should we do?” However, when we ask ourselves what is necessary, it requires us to acknowledge the nested systems of oppression that are in operation vs. when we ask ourselves what we should do, it allows us to operate from whatever privilege we may have. “What should we do?” becomes a choice vs. answering “what is necessary?” hones focus on what needs to be done.”


Funding Grassroots Movement Building

An interview with Dana Kawaoka-Chen / September 14, 2016

“A move to a strategic philanthropic and data-driven, results-oriented approach often works against deeply transformational work of organizations, as it requires a smaller, narrower focus or goals….Some organizations can get stuck trying to make benchmarks in particular programs rather than thinking about larger transformational impact.”


Changing Funder Habits to Change the Game 

by Dana Kawaoka-Chen / December 12, 2014

“I am clear that we in philanthropy need new habits to support new ways of intersectional organizing, as well as new habits to radically transform the very systems that allow and perpetuate state violence without accountability. We need new habits because the very definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, yet expect different results.”


What Do We Stand For?

by Dana Kawaoka-Chen / June 29, 2014

“What is the role of philanthropic affinity groups?  And how do we both support our members in an “inside change strategy” as well as help push an “outside change strategy” that keeps philanthropy accountable, while continuing to lift-up work that centers the values of love, social justice and movements led by those most impacted by inequity?”