The Defending the Dream Fund partnership, made up of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, General Service Foundation and other partners, came together this spring to support grassroots organizing in under-resourced areas to protect targeted communities, resist the draconian and destructive policies of the Trump era and work towards a hopeful dream of a just, equitable and caring society.
We are very excited to announce the 19 organizations selected in the first round of grants.
In response to this unique moment and opportunity, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation has developed the Making Black Lives Matter Initiative (MBLM), a three year grantmaking and strategic co-funding initiative that seeks to maximize this historic moment to begin building long term institutional and political power for Black social change and racial justice.
The events that spurred the Hill-Snowdon Foundation to develop the MBLM Initiative have also compelled other foundations and donors to act and explore how they can best support racial justice for the Black community. For instance, the North Star Fund created the Let Us Breathe Fund that prioritizes “Black-led and allied organizing of communities directly impacted by “broken-windows policing, poverty and injustice in New York City” and Resource Generation has granted $1.4 million dollars to Black-led organizing groups across the country working towards Black liberation. In addition to collaborative funds, individual foundations are also developing plans to expand their grantmaking to respond to this moment. To make the most of this moment though, we believe that philanthropy must push beyond its traditional discrete issue focus to adopt an intersectional approach to substantively address structural racism against the Black community.
Consequently, a core component of the Making Black Lives Matter Initiative is to develop a strategic co-funding and joint learning table where funders can coordinate and align their grantmaking for the greatest impact across a range of sectors, issues and strategies. The overall purpose of the table is to help build the institutional and political power of the Black community to make Black lives matter and for the Black community to thrive. There are many different strategies, issues and sectors that need to be involved in order to build the requisite power. Foundations that join the table would continue to fund their typical strategies, issues and sectors, but commit to dedicating a meaningful portion of their work specifically to Black social change and racial justice and to working together with other partners to maximize our impact and learning. For instance, a foundation like HSF would focus on Black-led grassroots organizing and leadership development, while other partners could focus on other strategies that are necessary for building Black political and institutional power, including research, policy and legislative advocacy, strategic communications and media, cultural arts and production and electoral organizing. However, the table will help to ensure that our approaches and grantmaking are in dynamic, reflective, strategic, aligned and coordinated relationship with one another in order to build the overall political and institutional power that is necessary for the Black community to matter and thrive as a whole, on any issue.
We will partner with the Association of Black Funding Executives to host and coordinate the MBLM funder table. We are excited to partner with any and all foundations and donors who are aligned with the purposes of the Making Black Lives Matter Initiative.