Joint Foundation Statement on Immigration

More than 100  foundations have signed on to a joint statement on immigration.

The United States stands at a historic crossroads. Founded as a refuge from religious persecution and built by generations of immigrants, our country has been the standard bearer internationally for the assertion and protection of inalienable rights and freedoms, a beacon of hope for refugees facing oppression and persecution, and a land of opportunity for immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

As philanthropic institutions, we have built our missions on this proud and rich tradition. We have invested in creating healthy communities, promoting diversity and inclusion, building a vibrant democracy, and advancing equity and equality for all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, immigration status, and national origin.

The recently issued immigration executive orders compromise our nation’s founding principles and the Constitution, our standing in the world, and our core values of liberty, justice, and due process. They weaken our moral leadership, fuel the efforts of those who wish us ill, harm our global competitiveness, and fray our social fabric.

Our foundations support diverse issues, strategies, and communities across the country, but we are united in the belief that immigrants and refugees are integral to every aspect of our society. Newcomers enrich our culture and tradition as artists, playwrights, and dancers. Naturalized citizens strengthen our civic life as voters, jurors, school-board members, and elected officials. Immigrant entrepreneurs and refugee-owned businesses revitalize neighborhoods, towns, and cities across America. Foreign-born scientists and engineers fuel innovations and help our country prosper. Farmworkers put food on our tables, and caregivers nurture our children, care for our elders, and nurse our ill. Young newcomers—including DACA beneficiaries—demonstrate their patriotism and enthusiasm for American ideals in schools, communities, workplaces, and the armed forces. Without the contributions of immigrants and refugees now and throughout our history, our collective well being and economic vitality would be greatly diminished.

We, the undersigned philanthropies, join public officials, the faith community, business leaders, and the American public in supporting policies that protect our national security, strengthen our economy, and uphold core American values. We stand with our grantees—advocates, organizers, researchers, and service providers—in calling for policies that reflect our nation’s founding principles, promote cohesion and inclusion, instill hope, and show compassion. Policies that recognize our global interdependence, that honor our tradition of welcoming those seeking refuge and a better life, and that keep families together will make our communities stronger, safer, and more prosperous.

We expect additional challenges in the weeks and months ahead on the immigration front, including expanded detention and deportations, and on policies affecting the rights of women, African Americans, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable groups. The issues, communities, and core values that our foundations have sought to advance are under serious and imminent danger. With history and morality as our guide, we reject discriminatory policies that target individuals based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender expression, and other grounds. We stand committed to the inherent value and dignity of every person at home and abroad. We stand together for the American Dream.

See the statement, all the signatories, and learn more on the GCIR website.

Why This Collaboration Working for Women and Girls of Color Deserves a Close Look

We’ve written often about how women funders excel at working together to advance gender equity. Around the country, and now the world, they’ve pooled together the money and energy of many donors to bring new resources to advancing women and girls.

One of the collaborative efforts in this space we’ve been following is called the NYC Fund for Girls and Women of Color, which brings together 16 funders. This collaboration isn’t brand new, but it’s the first fund of its kind in the nation and is worth watching closely, especially for how it makes grants.

The effort was co-founded by the NoVo Foundation and the New York Women’s Foundation, and is managed and housed at the latter. Grantmaking started in 2015 and this fund has now distributed at least $2.4 million in grants.

So what kinds of things does the NYC Fund for Girls and Women of Color support, and how does it operate?

Well, earlier this month, the fund announced its 2016 grants, which totaled $2.1 million and reached 28 nonprofits in the five boroughs. The funders that are part of this collaboration look for nonprofits that provide services, leadership development, and advocacy in the areas of health, economic and workforce development, community support and opportunity, education, and anti-violence/criminal justice. What the grantees have in common is that they view women of color as potential leaders and change agents to empower women now and in future generations.

Structurally, the NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color is another example of how organizations are pooling their resources to leverage better use of their assets collectively. Member foundations last year were as follows: Andrus Family Fund, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Cricket Island Foundation, Ford Foundation, Foundation for a Just Society, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, Ms. Foundation for Women, The New York Community Trust, the New York Women’s Foundation North Star Fund, NoVo Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, Scherman Foundation, Schott Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and Third Wave Fund. These are lot of big names to have on one roster, and include both national and local funders.

A shared goal of breaking generational cycles of poverty, abuse and disinvestment is what brings these groups together despite their differences in overall funding strategies. They established a participatory review committee to select grant recipients, drawing on the long experience in this area of the New York Women’s Foundation, which is leading the committee. What makes this group stand out is that it’s mostly made up of young women of color who are new to participatory grantmaking and philanthropy in general. Basically, these well-established foundations are trusting the most relevant individuals in New York City to make decisions about how their own peers need support. This is the kind of empowerment that many funders talk about a lot, but rarely institutionalize at this level.

The committee members are gaining valuable experience reading proposals, conducting site visits, and making recommendations to foundation leaders. It’s easy to assume that a secondary goal of this approach is to groom the next generation of philanthropy leaders at a time when the sector is increasingly attuned to its staffing diversity challenges—but often scratches its head about how to build better leadership pipelines.

“If we want to create a world in which girls can live free from violence and discrimination, we must truly listen to them and follow their lead,” Pamela Shifman, the executive director of the NoVo Foundation said in a press release. “Girls and young women of color are the best agents in transforming their communities and it’s time we invest in their leadership. That’s exactly what these grants will do.”

Read the full story in Inside Philanthropy.

The NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color Awards $2.1M to 28 Organizations

The NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color, a collaboration of 16 foundations, announced its 2016 grants totaling $2.1 million, awarded to 28 non-profit organizations across the five boroughs. Each organization works to cultivate the leadership of young women of color as change agents to advance cultural and systemic shifts. The grantees provide services, leadership development and advocacy in the areas of health, economic and workforce development, community support and opportunity, education, and anti-violence/criminal justice.

The Fund, managed by and housed at The New York Women’s Foundation, is an example of collaborative philanthropy where organizations pool resources to better leverage collective use of their assets. Launched by The New York Women’s Foundation and NoVo Foundation in 2014, it was formed to increase philanthropic resources available to organizations that advance the leadership of New York’s girls and young women of color and address longstanding issues that inhibit opportunity and provoke inequity.

The first of its kind in the United States, it is also unique in its specific mission to foster sustained structural change that will transform the lives of young women of color — breaking generational cycles of poverty, abuse, and disinvestment. To that end, The Fund’s Participatory Review Committee (PRC), which helps select grant recipients, includes a majority of young women of color who are new to philanthropy and participatory grantmaking. The members of the PRC were (in majority) young women of color who facilitated site visits, read all proposals and made formal recommendations to the funding members participating in the effort.

The 2016 members of The NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color are the Andrus Family Fund, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Cricket Island Foundation, Ford Foundation, Foundation For A Just Society, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, Ms. Foundation for Women, The New York Community Trust, The New York Women’s Foundation North Star Fund, NoVo Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, Scherman Foundation, Schott Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and Third Wave Fund.

Ana Oliveira, President & CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation said, “Recent events in our country have underscored the urgency in investing in the lives of young women of color, so they can take their rightful place as the next generation of leaders. Together, the members of The NYC Fund for Girls and Women of Color and its grantee partners will share strength, strategies and resources to help make this so.”

“If we want to create a world in which girls can live free from violence and discrimination, we must truly listen to them and follow their lead,” said Pamela Shifman, Executive Director of the NoVo Foundation. “Girls and young women of color are the best agents in transforming their communities and it’s time we invest in their leadership. That’s exactly what these grants will do.”

See all the grantees in the full release.

Job Announcement: Program Office at New York The New York Women’s Foundation

The New York Women’s Foundation is seeking a Program Officer to support the NYC Fund for Girls & Young Women of Color.  As you may know, The NYC Fund for Girls & Young Women of Color is the first fund of its kind in the country bringing together a growing and evolving collaboration of funders committed to increasing philanthropic investments for advancing the leadership of girls and young women of color toward cultural and systemic change.

See the job posting here.

BCF Announces $2.3 Million in Grants to Brooklyn Nonprofits Serving Youth, Girls of Color

Today, Brooklyn Community Foundation announced $1.9 million in new grants through its Invest in Youth initiative, bringing the Foundation’s total funding for youth-serving nonprofits in Brooklyn to $2.3 million in 2016.

BCF launched its Invest in Youth initiative in 2015 as a 10-year, $25 million commitment to improve Brooklyn’s social and economic opportunities and outcomes for 16- to 24-year-olds, particularly young people of color.

“We believe that a stronger and more equitable future for Brooklyn depends upon the success of its young people today—especially those who are growing up in our poorest communities.” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke.Brooklyn is home to more than 100,000 youth living in poverty, the vast majority of whom are growing up in communities of color. One in four incarcerated youth in New York City come from just six Brooklyn neighborhoods. And more and more Brooklyn youth are from immigrant families, which account for one third of all New York City households.

This year, 43 nonprofits are receiving renewed funding, and 17 organizations are receiving Invest in Youth support for the first time, grants ranging from $20,000 to $50,000, deployed under three strategic investment areas:

YOUTH LEADERSHIP: $960,000 to 32 Nonprofits. Grants supporting community-based organizations that position youth as long-term leaders in their communities.

YOUTH JUSTICE: $595,000 to 18 Nonprofits. Grants supporting both advocacy and direct-service organizations that address the far-reaching effects of young people’s encounters with the criminal justice system.

IMMIGRANT YOUTH: $360,000 to 10 Nonprofits. Grants supporting organizations that help immigrant youth in Brooklyn build their leadership capacity in order to advocate for themselves and organize for change in their communities.

Read the full article on BKReader.

“There’s a Real Opportunity for Funders to Learn Here.” Lessons from Standing Rock

Tate Williams

Amid deep concern about what a Trump presidency means for the progressive and environmental agenda, the fight against the Dakota Access oil pipeline presented a powerful, Native American-led grassroots movement that many are championing as a path forward.

After months of resistance, water protectors rallying behind the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won an important victory when the Army Corps of Engineers denied a key permit to proceed, halting the project. It’s not completely clear what will happen next, especially under a Trump administration. But it’s a win nonetheless, and the movement seems to be shifting into its next phase.

The Standing Rock fight has also been undeniably successful in demonstrating the strength of a community-led, grassroots movement that captured the global spotlight, attracting support and solidarity across a huge array of groups and people.

Several tribal nations issued resolutions in support and sent delegations to the camp. Veterans, church congregations, elected officials, unions, municipal governments, and a broad cross-section of nonprofits all issued statements of support or joined the camp. Thousands braved the frigid North Dakota winter.

Standing Rock has also been a meaningful moment for philanthropy, as millions in funding poured in from small donors, celebrities, and some fast-acting foundations, helping to fuel the work on the ground as it unfolded. It shows how effective rapid response funding to grassroots, community-led movements can be, and philanthropy can look to what happened there to adapt, improve, and win future victories down the line.

How Standing Rock Can Inform Future Philanthropy

One important takeaway from the Dakota Access pipeline protests is the tremendous need and potential impact in funding Native communities (further coverage to come). But the way in which institutional funders responded in this particular case also offers some lessons for foundations eager to replicate and broaden its success.

The source of the movement’s strength came from the leadership of Native communities and the thousands of demonstrators who have faced arrest and bodily harm, but the philanthropic response has fueled and elevated the fight.

Donations from tens of thousands of individuals and a set of foundations played a big role in sustaining the effort, including supporting basic costs of running the camp and legal expenses. Foundations early to the scene backed the work of nonprofits like Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3), which trained thousands of people in nonviolent direct action, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, which played a big role in communications. But it was also a diffuse movement, with important work and support coming from many organizations.

“This is what success looks like when we make the bold investments that are needed into direct action organizing and movement work,” said Tyler Nickerson of The Solutions Project, which makes rapid response grants through its Fighter Fund and supported Standing Rock. Standing Rock should raise important questions for philanthropy about how effective it is at moving money quickly to movements like these, he said.

“Clearly, this is a moment for us to learn, both from those who’ve stepped forward and done it, and those who were thinking about it and trying to make it work. This shows us and gives us a sign of success that moving money in the right way to groups on the ground is incredibly beneficial for all of our movements.”

Read the full piece in Inside Philanthropy.

Brooklyn Community Foundation Announces New Immigrant Rights Fund

Now more than ever, Brooklyn Community Foundation is being called upon to lift up organizations fighting for the dignity and respect of all Brooklyn residents.

In the past few weeks, the safety and security of our immigrant communities have been threatened as they face potentially dangerous and exclusionary government policies.

Representing nearly 40% of all Brooklyn residents—immigrants are vital to our borough’s strength, its legacy, and its future.

We stand with our immigrant communities
and we are taking action.

The Immigrant Rights Fund will support both the immediate and long-term needs of immigrants across communities, while strengthening collaboration among immigrant-serving nonprofits.

Last year, we deployed more than $400,000 in grant funding to immigrant-led organizations in the borough. This new fund signals an additional and targeted investment in organizations that are lifelines to immigrant communities as their work becomes even more critical in the coming months and years.

Our goal is to raise $1 million for this dedicated fund.

Read more about the new fund on the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s website.

Open Society Foundations Announce $10 Million Initiative to Confront Hate

NEW YORK—In response to the national wave of hate incidents, the threat of forcible removal of undocumented immigrants, and the fear pervading communities across the country, the Open Society Foundations today announced a $10 million initiative to support and protect those targeted by hateful acts.

Harsh rhetoric and policy proposals during the 2016 presidential campaign that drew on racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTI, and other forms of hate have encouraged a wave of physical and verbal attacks nationwide. The Southern Poverty Law Center has received over 700 reports of “hateful harassment and intimidation” since November 8.

The Open Society Foundations initiative is an effort to move swiftly to address this urgent problem, providing support designed to encourage and empower communities to resist the spread of hate and strengthen services and protections for their most vulnerable neighbors.

We stand in solidarity with the tens of millions of Americans of all political preferences who condemn these hateful words and deeds and embrace inclusion, tolerance, and hope. We applaud the many communities, organizations, advocates, and concerned families who are rising to meet this challenge, and invite others in the philanthropic community to join this fight to reaffirm core American values.

Among the components of this effort:

Support to local community groups across the country working to de-escalate and head off future incidents of bullying, intimidation, bigoted slurs, assaults, desecration of houses of worship, and other acts that target persecuted populations. We will begin soliciting applications via our website next week, and plan to make funding decisions on an expedited basis, directing grants to organizations that are well positioned to provide support, services, technical assistance, outreach, and public education in the face of acts of hate.
To complement that grassroots effort, support to help develop a national referral network to channel requests for legal and social services to those who have experienced acts of hate.
Support for new efforts to document and aggregate incidents of hate as they happen, and categorize them by type of offense, targeted community, and geographic location.
Support for efforts to increase public awareness of the scale and scope of hate incidents, with the goal of encouraging investigation of these offenses by state and local authorities as well as the Department of Justice.

In addition to these short-term measures, the initiative will seek to help bolster communities’ longer-term resilience and capacity to stand up to hate and overcome it.

“Through this initiative, a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches, we join with the millions of Americans around the country who disavow hateful rhetoric and acts,” said Christopher Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations. “We call on the leaders of our country in all sectors—business, faith, political, and otherwise—starting with the president and the president-elect—to denounce these attacks unequivocally, and take steps to address them.”

Learn more on the Open Society Foundation website.

OpEd: “Let the record show, while they hedged their bets, we resisted”

By Carmen Rojas, PhD

It’s been 6 days. Many of us have been reeling from the prospects of promises to deport millions, force the registry of millions more, and to dismantle key parts of the civic fabric that grant us free public education, protection under the law, and freedom of speech. I have been reeling and working. This is an invitation to my partners in philanthropy to do the same.

Since our inception, The Workers Lab has pushed a conversation in the non-profit and philanthropic sector about the desperate need for a new organizational form. The 501c3 model has stunted the ability of some of our best and brightest leaders to engage in the political process or innovate new models that build a just economy. With limited resources that are tied to arbitrary outcomes, leaders spend too much of their imagination, magic, and power fulfilling grant requirements as opposed to seeding the ground for the just and loving world we know is possible.

After spending two years in the thick of this work and at this critical moment I ask, with the deepest sincerity, our philanthropic leaders and donors to act courageously. Over the last 8 years, we’ve seen the flourishing of funders who are talking the language of social equity, power, economic equality, opportunity, and justice. Today you have an opportunity not only to talk about it, but also to be about it.

We have never needed your courage like we need it today. Instead of hedging your bets and thinking: ‘we’ll find ways to work with this administration’, ‘there has to be some common ground’, or ‘we have to protect our legacy/endowment/resources’- I invite you to join those of us who choose to oppose this turn and build anew.

Direct your resources to the organizing and advocacy that will protect your grant recipients, their members and their families. Stand side by side with the leaders of color, immigrant and Muslim leaders who are organizing at the frontline and be fearless.

This is what IS needed:

·  Unrestricted funding to organizations led by people of color, immigrants, and Muslims who are organizing, setting an agenda, training, and protecting people of color, immigrants, and Muslims.

· Free & local legal services for:

– Immigration Defense Removal

– Civil Rights

– Civil Liberties

· Rapid response services for LGBTQ, women, people of color, immigrants, and Muslims in the form of:

– Hotlines that can direct people to local support and organizers

– Local lawyers organized in networks like Lawyers for Black Lives

– Local medical service providers to respond to direct action

· Support for investigative journalists of color, immigrant journalists, and Muslim journalists to tell our stories and accurately represent this moment.

· Unrestricted support for organizing, sanctuary, and rapid response taking place at schools and universities across the country.

· Know your 501c4 restrictions and align your endowment investments.The 501c3 dollar has handcuffed many of us from taking the political and economic action necessary to chart a new course forward. It is not your only tool.

Read the full piece posted by Carmen Rojas on Medium.

OpEd: Philanthropy in the Age of Trump: Six Predictions

By David Callahan

A few weeks ago I told a friend of mine, jittery about the prospects of a Trump win, to “take an Ambien and call me in November, after you wake up in the second Clinton era.”

I mention that because, clearly, my predictions aren’t worth very much. But, hey, the same goes for so many other people who live in elite coastal bubbles, well insulated from life in the flyover states.

With that caveat out of the way, let’s wonder out loud about what a once-unthinkable Donald J. Trump presidency might mean for philanthropy and the nonprofit sector more broadly. In the runup to the election, we wrote several stories exploring how a Hillary Clinton victory might play out on this front, in which we predicted a golden age of public-private partnerships, along with new high-level access for funders and nonprofits working on women’s and family issues.

So what might a Trump scenario look like? Here are six predictions.

1. Philanthropy and Nonprofits Will Lose Influence in Washington

The last 16 years has seen a remarkable rise in the influence of civil society in the halls of power, or at least in the White House and executive branch. This shift began under George W. Bush, a president who embraced the conservative argument that government had overreached and that civil society needed to step forward as a central agent in solving problems—especially poverty. Advised by veteran thinkers like John Dilulio, Don Eberly and Marvin Olasky, Bush created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which channeled billions of dollars to nonprofits. When Obama came in, he built on this work, and expanded it, adding the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, which coordinated a number of major initiatives involving top foundations and nonprofits.

That was then.

It’s hard to see how this long, bipartisan push continues with any energy in a Trump administration. Never mind that the billionaire himself believes so little in philanthropy that he has given away less than $10 million over the past 30 years. This is also a president-elect with few ties to the nonprofit sector or the conservative policy thinkers and funders who focus on how to strengthen civil society.

2. Philanthropy Will Gain Influence in the Rest of Society

Republican control of the White House and Congress is likely to mean new cuts to non-defense domestic discretionary spending, on top of reductions that have already shrunk that portion of the federal budget to its lowest level since the Eisenhower era, measured by GDP. This deepening era of scarce public resources will mean a larger role for private funders, a trend we’re already seeing play out in areas like education, public parks and science research. Foundations and major donors will be picking up more tabs for more things in coming years as government pulls back even faster under Trump, and they’ll wield more influence as a result. Overall, we’re looking at an acceleration of a historic power shift away from the public sector and toward private philanthropy as the next chapter of the second Gilded Age plays out over coming decades.

3. Progressive Fundraising Will Explode

At the Nation magazine, there’s a saying that “what’s bad for the nation is good for the Nation,” meaning that whenever the right is in power, circulation and donations soar. During the Bush era, we saw this phenomenon play out with dramatic effect, as numerous new donors—alarmed by a reckless president and Republican dominance—swung behind progressive causes in a big way. Those donors pumped tens of millions of dollars into the Democracy Alliance, the Center for American Progress, Media Matters, and other new progressive organizations, while existing groups on the left saw their funding skyrocket. We’re likely to see the same phenomenon this time around. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if groups like the ACLU are already seeing a spike in donations.

A deeper point here is that affluent Americans—and the donor class, specifically—are continuing to move away from an ever more populist American right wing. Clinton won voters making over $250,000, just as Obama did in 2008. The ranks of the rich include more progressives than ever before, as well as those sympathetic to such traditional progressive causes as protecting the environment and promoting tolerance. Trump’s victory will solidify this trend in ways that play out in nonprofit fundraising for years to come.

4. Philanthropic Giving Overall May Decline

If Trump is able to enact his tax plan, it could mean a notable falloff in charitable giving. Not long ago, the Tax Policy Center estimated that “Trump’s plan would reduce individual giving by 4.5 percent to 9 percent, or between $13.5 billion and $26.1 billion in 2017. That would be so because when you cut taxes on the wealthy, as Trump proposes, you reduce the after-tax value of the charitable tax exemption.” Trump’s proposed cap on itemized deductions, as well as his plan to raise the standard deduction, could also serve to depress tax-deductible giving. On the other hand, if his plan means higher incomes for the wealthy, that could mean this group has more spare cash to give away. More broadly, the growing influx of new givers may work to offset any declines in overall giving. So this is an area of real unknowns.

Read the full piece in Inside Philanthropy.