FRIDA: The Young Feminist Fund’s Annual 2017 Report

At FRIDA, we’ve found our place in a new conversation, one of innovation and opportunity, one that isn’t afraid to challenge existing structures, or ask uncomfortable questions. As we embarked on relooking at last year’s journey, we thought to ourselves what it really means to be a young feminist activist in today’s world of shrinking spaces and
competitive resources.We remain an untamed, untouched and unafraid beauty that blossoms in a seemingly dark place. Young feminist organizing is blooming all over the world—we exist everywhere, we are no longer inconsequential and we refuse to be infantilised. Our identity lies in the way we adapt to changing contexts, continue to branch out and emerge stronger and more resilient, piercing as the sun and organic as the flower.

Read more at FRIDA.

Ripple Effect: A Foundation Looks to Women and Girls of Color to Take the Lead

The Ms. Foundation for Women, the nation’s’ oldest women’s foundation, shared a new five-year strategic plan this month that outlines a $25 million commitment to invest in women and girls of color and gender equity.

“We want to create a safe and just world where power and possibility are not limited,” Ms. Foundation president and CEO Teresa C. Younger tells us. The plan introduces a six-pronged approach to support organizations led by and for women of color while “building power [and] advancing democracy.” One of its strategies is to create a new 501(c)(4) arm, which will free the organization to increase its political activities under U.S. tax law.

Read more at Inside Philanthropy.

Good News: The Ms. Foundation Is Making a Major Investment in Women of Color

Finally, some good news to come out of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day: On Tuesday, the Ms. Foundation for Women announced a new strategic plan (PDF) which “will route $25 million to grassroots organizations led by, or serving, women and girls of color over the next five years in an effort to improve outcomes for all women.”

Read more at The Root. 

Call for Ideas: Apply for Pillars Grants by July 31

The 2018-19 Pillars grant cycle is under way! At Pillars, we are looking for grantee partners who are committed to advancing American Muslim talent and leadership to serve our communities and contribute broadly to the world around us.

Muslims have a critical role to play in social and racial justice movements in the United States. We strongly encourage grantseekers who share this belief to visit our website and submit a Letter of Inquiry by July 31, 2018. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a Full Proposal in Fall 2018.

Click to apply

Read our FAQs

Attend an online info session

Pillars seeks to advance three priorities through our grantmaking:

  • Rights: We support social and policy change efforts that allow American Muslims to live and thrive with dignity and that protect and expand the human and civil rights of us all.
  • Wellness: We support the growth and nurturing of whole, healthy American Muslim communities that are equipped to serve those nearest to them and society at large.
  • Understanding: We support a range of approaches to amplify American Muslim voices, create a deeper understanding of American Muslims and American society, and encourage people to learn more and take action.

Because strong leaders and institutions are key to advancing these priorities, we will also consider opportunities to invest in leadership development and organizational capacity to strengthen the American Muslim civic engagement community as a whole.

We look forward to learning more about your bold ideas. To get started, please visit our website for more details and create an online account. And, we’d love to hear from you. Please send any questions to our team at [email protected]

“Radical Innovation is Already Happening.” A Funder’s Push for Bottom-Up Power

We keep a close eye on the NoVo Foundation, both for the deep pockets of the Buffett family to which it’s connected, and for its hard-charging approach to social justice, particularly for young women and girls of color.

It’s unusual to find a funder with NoVo’s combination of radical sensibilities and major financial resources. Fueled by steady infusions of Berkshire Hathaway stock, NoVo’s annual giving has doubled in the past six or seven years—it reported $123.8 million in grants in a recent year—allowing the foundation to place ever-greater bets on grassroots-driven work that it believes can be transformative.

Which brings us to the latest news: NoVo recently announced $34 million in grants to 19 groups doing social justice work in the U.S. and around the globe. The grants, which NoVo calls the “Radical Hope Fund,” well exceed the $20 million original commitment.

Read more at Inside Philanthropy 

NY Women’s Foundation Launches #MeToo Fund with $1 Million Start

As the global conversation on gender-based violence continues to gain momentum, the New York Women’s Foundation is stepping up to fund more of this unprecedented social change in the U.S. On May 10 at a breakfast celebrating women leaders, Foundation President and CEO announced the   launching of a fund in collaboration with Tarana Burke, Founder and Leader of the #MeToo Movement, which will continue the work of ending sexual violence.

With New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s resignation being the latest example of how the #MeToo movement is impacting society, the New York Women’s Foundation will help pick up the pace of this work’s impact with $1 million in seed funding, as well as ongoing efforts to build further philanthropic investment in the new fund.

“The #MeToo movement has given women hope that, finally change is within reach,” said Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation. “Now we must support the movement in reaching its goals of justice and healing so that no woman is overlooked—especially cis and trans women of color and women living in poverty.” Oliveira described Tarana Burke as an “indomitable leader” who will assure the #MeToo movement’s continued impact.

Gender-based violence has been on the radar of the New York Women’s Foundation since its inception 31 years ago. The new #MeToo Fund will  be based in New York City and co-chaired by Tarana Burke and the Foundation.  The fund will dedicate its strategy to addressing sexual violence, particularly in underserved communities, with a particular emphasis on “the healing and leadership of survivors and promoting gender and racial justice.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with The New York Women’s Foundation to create this Fund,” said Tarana Burke. “Our work started out as a grassroot community-based effort and grew into a global network of survivors and advocates working to interrupt sexual violence and ensure that survivors have access to the tools they need to sustain a healing process. This Fund will go a long way to not only support our ongoing work.”

Read the full story on

OpEd: We Must Create Financial Support for Child Abuse Survivors of Color

Cassandra Porter is the founder of Optimism by Fire which is an organization that promotes black philanthropy. She is a Public Voices Fellow through The OpEd Project.


By age 11, I was a survivor of child sexual abuse committed by two male relatives. This proclamation frees me from decades of carrying their shame.  The monsters weren’t sharks in the deep end of the pool, or in the darkness under the bed. The monsters were in my family.

It would be another 30 years before I sought professional help from a therapist. In the meantime, I developed a two-pronged approach to surviving by becoming the super good girl who didn’t speak up or talk back. I escaped through books, art and music. I lost my voice, but found other ways to persevere.

According to Statista, African American children suffer some of the highest rates of abuse at 13.9 per 1,000 children. Only American Indian or Alaskan Natives have higher rates of child abuse at 14.2 out of 1,000 individuals. Other children of color suffering child abuse include multiple race children at 11.2 per 1,000; Pacific Islander children at 8.6 per 1,000; Hispanic children at 8 per 1,000, and Asian children at 1.6 per 1,000.

Black girls and women should not be left alone to figure out their own recovery from sexual trauma. I kept quiet about my sexual abuse out of shame and the cultural concept of black people not airing dirty laundry.

We saw that in the final vindication of law professor Anita Hill who was initially vilified during the 1991 confirmation hearings when she testified to her experience of sexual harassment by now U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  R. Kelly accusers have been called “fast” to shame them and imply they played a role in their sexual abuse.

Because black girls and women aren’t believed and publicly humiliated, they keep their trauma to themselves.

Georgetown University Law School’s Center on Poverty & Inequality reported that black girls between 5 and 14 are viewed by adults as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers. According to the report, black girls know more about sex. Called “adultification,” these are examples of beliefs that make it easier to trivialize their pain and deny them protection accorded to white children.

Read the full OpEd in the Hill.

In California, These Funders Want to Keep Kids Out of the Criminal Justice System

Reforming juvenile justice systems and ending the heartbreaking ways they can destroy young lives has been a philanthropic cause for decades. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been most persistent funder in this space, hammering away with reform efforts since the early 1990s. MacArthur worked on the issue for 20 years before shifting the focus of its criminal justice work to over-incarceration and jails.

Local and regional funders are also involved in juvenile justice reform, and California is one place where this cause has drawn a fair amount of interest from grantmakers. For years, the state’s juvenile justice system—the largest in the U.S.—has been the focus of outrage and intense criticism for its inhumanity and ineffectiveness. Efforts at reform have yielded some success. The population of incarcerated youth in California is much lower today than a decade ago—a drop that tracks with national trends.

But plenty of kids in California still get caught up in the juvenile justice system, which can undermine their life chances. And the vast majority of them are black and Latino. One group of grantmakers paying attention to this problem is the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color (CFBMoC), which is all about improving outcomes and expanding opportunities for African American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander and Native American boys and young men throughout the state.

There are a lot of big funding partners involved in this collaboration, and increasing interest in the reasons that many young people of color are embroiled in the juvenile justice system. A few months ago, more than 25 foundations came together to discuss ways to transform Los Angeles County’s youth justice system. Currently, the county incarcerates more young people than anywhere else in the nation.

The effort was led by the Liberty Hill Foundation, and big takeaways from the meeting were the racial disparities of youth in juvenile hall (94 percent of the youth in jail here are boys and girls of color) and the fact that at least 95 percent of youth in the local juvenile justice system were once part of the child welfare system. But another takeaway is that funders and community organizations have made a difference in the past decade in reducing the number of youth who are locked up. Funders believe they can make a greater impact yet, especially if they work with other stakeholders, including from government and the private sector, and use research to inform the quest for systemic change. The goal, here, is to reduce youth involvement with the justice system and develop a system that focuses on prevention rather than punishment in Los Angeles County.

CFBMoC’s Southern California Leadership team consists of the Liberty Hill Foundation, the California Endowment, the California Wellness Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation. They planned to award $150,000 in grant funding to turn these lessons into actionable work, but ended up kicking in $200,000 last month to advance local juvenile justice reform. The SoCal groups benefiting from the new funders’ collaborative commitment are the Children’s Defense Fund-California, Urban Peace Institute, Youth Justice Coalition, Community Coalition, Inner City Struggle, Khmer Girls in Action, Brotherhood Crusade, and Social Justice Learning Institute.

This investment couldn’t have come at a better time, considering that Los Angeles County recently launched a new department focused on youth justice, and committed $26 million to support related programs.

Shane Goldsmith, president and CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation, said, “We are in the midst of an incredibly historic moment for youth justice reform in Los Angeles. Research has proven that second chances and community support are cheaper and more effective than time in jail or prison. We are investing in projects that have been proven to work in keeping our kids out of the criminal justice system and improving public safety for our communities.”

The four foundations behind this commitment share a common interest in promoting racial justice and equity right now. In California, as elsewhere, a rising focus on race has gone hand-in-hand with new attention to reforming criminal justice practices.

Read the full article in In Philanthropy.

Funders for Justice Announces Inaugural Advisory Committee of Field Leaders

Since we were founded three years ago, a pillar of FFJ has always been close partnership and guidance from field partners. We are incredibly proud to announce our inaugural cohort of FFJ Advisors. These nine leaders were selected in recognition of their expertise and leadership in movements for racial and gender justice, in police accountability campaigns and anti-criminalization movements, and efforts to inform more impactful grantmaking for community power-building.

The Funders for Justice Advisors for 2017-2018:

In their role as advisors, they will guide FFJ’s work in lifting up community safety and justice models, join FFJ for national panels and workshops, and share their visions for change and what’s needed from philanthropy in this moment. We hope you will look to them as thought leaders and partners in your own work as well. 

Learn more about each of the new FJJ Advisors on the Funders for Justice website.

NoVo is Hiring a Director of Organizational Development and Leadership

Based in the NoVo Foundation’s New York office, this new full-time position is a senior leadership role, reporting directly to the Executive Director, serving on NoVo’s senior management team, and having a strong voice in shaping how we operate and structurally organize.

We know that this will not only reap rewards for our staff tenure, productivity and program excellence, but, over time, could also influence practice among other foundations, and help inform how we invest in our grantees.

Full position announcement, candidate profile, and instructions on applying here.

Since NoVo’s creation in 2006, our grants and initiatives have grown significantly in complexity and scale, and we anticipate continued evolution in the years to come.  Over this first decade, we have paid close attention to creating and maintaining an organizational culture that reflects our values of racial equity, feminism, inclusion, risk-taking, innovation and learning.  As we grow, we are aware of, and energized by, the challenge of deepening how we live into those values.

Specifically, we are committed to bringing a strategic approach to:

— adapting our processes and systems as our work deepens and our organization evolves;

— ensuring a values-aligned lens to all of our operations, including racial and gender justice;

— supporting staff to thrive and develop professionally both individually and as teams;

— learning together and sharing lessons across our programs;

— recruiting and carefully integrating new staff leaders who will push us and our work forward; and

— providing best in class policies and benefits that reflect our feminist values.