Grantmakers for Girls of Color’s Call for the Philanthropy Sector
March 24, 2022
Many young people have said to us, “I didn’t know that philanthropy was for me.” Our approach is to say that our communities are deeply philanthropic and specifically that girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth of color have engaged in robust philanthropy since time immemorial. We help connect those experiences and that wisdom to their own lived experiences and provide them with the tools and the language to help them understand that their opinion matters and that their wisdom can drive decisions. Importantly, we also have the financial resources to provide compensation for them as true experts in this field.
Ultimately, it’s important that everyone on the G4GC team sees themselves in this work, that our communities see themselves in our team, and that everybody on our team can speak to the lived experiences of our grantees. Many of our team members serve on boards of our grantee partner organizations. Many are still organizing in communities in their personal capacities and are engaged in scholarship and activism around and in support of girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth of color.
We have intentionally assembled a powerful team that is proximate to the communities that we support, and it keeps us accountable. We’re proud of each of these stellar individuals because they are all leaders in their own rights and they’re actively engaged in movement work in their communities, and it makes our work at G4GC more rigorous and more honest.
There was a lot of momentum in 2020 around funding for racial justice efforts. How did this impact G4GC? Has the momentum been sustained?
We launched during a moment or racial reckoning in this country, in which there was widespread philanthropic attention not only on funding racial justice movements broadly but specifically on funding Black-led movements.
For us, it was important to emphasize that this moment offered an opportunity for funders to be responsive and to understand the legacy and the history of organizing in this country and the role that women, girls, femmes, and gender-expansive people of color have long played. It’s time to ensure that we are funding across issues, strategies, and communities. As we continue to work together to combat systemic injustices, we need to ensure that the funding is sustainable and people in communities have what they need to respond to moments like this, which will inevitably come when we achieve freedom. We need to stop forcing movements and communities to quickly mobilize around emergencies, and to characterize their work around experiences of violence and pain instead of strategies that are really about freedom and justice.
During this period, funders have found ways to enter the conversation. We’ve been grateful that a lot of funders approached us when we launched the Black Girl Freedom Fund, our largest initiative. We’ve received similar outreach after launching our other initiatives, including our Holding a Sister Initiative in partnership with the Black Trans Fund, which resources trans girls of color; our New Songs Rising Initiative, launched in partnership with Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, which resources Indigenous girls; and our continued grantmaking through the Love Is Healing fund. Many funders have said to us, “We want to give multi-year support. We see that we are new to these conversations, and we are eager to figure out how to be better.”
Nonetheless, many of our movement partners are nervous that these commitments will be short-lived, so we feel especially motivated to ensure that those funding resources are sustained and diverse.
What’s next for G4GC in 2022 and beyond?
There is so much happening for G4GC in 2022. We have grown to a staff of twelve people this year, and we will continue to grow our internal infrastructure and our capacity to respond to our grantees, young people, and co-investors. We are continuing to grow and seek resources for our Love Is Healing Fund, our Black Girl Freedom Fund, Holding a Sister Fund, and New Songs Rising Fund. In 2021, we were able to award $10 million to more than 200 organizations in all 50 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. We’re excited to do similar levels of grantmaking this year and to continue to cultivate community among our various stakeholders. We will also continue to deepen and strengthen our partnerships with fellow intermediaries such as the Black Trans Fund and Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples.
We are also excited about a new project we are launching with SecondMuse Capital, LLC, the Future Economy Lab: Abundantly Investing in Girls of Color. This lab will bring together a diversity of stakeholders, including girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth of color to develop financial mechanisms and strategies to ensure economic justice and access for girls of color and their communities.
In the fall, we will be hosting our annual convening, which will bring our communities together to engage directly with one another, to learn and create deeper connections, and to mobilize more resources. At the convening, we will also be rolling out our youth engagement strategy to share how young people will be engaged in our programming, operations, grantmaking, and communications. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to find ways to strengthen and build this philanthropic home that we see ourselves as—and to deepen support for movements that center girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth of color.