We work in service to the movement for justice.
Philanthropy doesn't go far enough in redistributing wealth and making reparations.
Philanthropic wealth in the U.S. has only been made possible by the attempted genocide of Indigenous people, the enslavement and trafficking of Black people, the cheap labor provided by immigrants, and the privatization, commodification, and destruction of our natural environment.
Philanthropy can be different
It can be transformative and community led.
It can be about activist donors joining a movement, and moving their wealth to the frontlines of organizing and collective change. It can be about supporting community-based organizations in coming together, building their infrastructure, and effecting long-lasting change.
It can be about supporting BIPOC and other historically excluded communities as they organize, assert their rights, take to the streets, raise their voice, shape policy, share their stories, celebrate, start businesses, lead nonprofits, form coalitions, educate others, donate resources, support each other through mutual aid networks, and start movements for justice.
Ultimately, we believe that philanthropy shouldn’t exist. But until then, we are working for a better, more just and more equitable philanthropic model that’s based on trust, abundance, equal relationships, and collaboration.
As we move forward, our work is and will continue to be guided by one question: How are we in service to the movement for justice and liberation?
Our approach is different than traditional philanthropy
Because of philanthropy’s abhorrent origins—steeped in racist, sexist, classist, heteronormative and ableist oppression—its extractive systems are shrouded by distrust. Around the country, nonprofits (especially those that are led by BIPOC and other marginalized leaders) operate in scarcity, given barely enough to function instead of abundance, with opportunities to innovate or grow. They’re limited to strings-attached funding, overburdened with cumbersome application and reporting requirements, and forced into a “nonprofit starvation cycle,” where they are pressured to do increasingly more work with less resources. Unsurprisingly, this leads to ineffective programs, unimpressive outcomes, and burnt out employees.
Learn about our restorative grantmaking approach.
Shifting Wealth and Power
In addition to preserving their wealth, donor-advised funds (DAFs) help donors to retain control over where their philanthropic dollars are spent. Or, unfortunately, not spent—because the IRS doesn’t require DAFs to be spent down, those dollars ($140+ billion at last count) often sit, untouched, in foundations and charitable funds across the U.S. Meanwhile, small nonprofits compete for increasingly smaller, more restrictive, and burdensome pools of funding.
Explore how Seeding Justice is rethinking DAFs.
Building Wealth in Community
In March 2020, a group of community led organizations in Oregon launched an initiative to create a relief fund for undocumented workers who were ineligible for COVID-19 unemployment and quarantine benefits despite having been deemed “essential” to the economic health of the state. The legislature stepped in to provide dollars for direct relief, but the groups had to fundraise for the funds that would cover administration and operations of the funds. The problem? There was no centralized mechanism to receive donations and they lacked the collective capacity and infrastructure to manage the distribution of the funds to members of the coalition.
Read about how we harness the power of community funding.