If someone handed you $10,000 and asked you to give it away to grassroots organizations in the Philadelphia area, which groups would you choose? Bread & Roses Community Fund puts its grant decisions in the hands of the people who are closest to the issues: community organizers, activists, and donors who have firsthand knowledge of how to make social change in Philadelphia.
The Community Grantmaking Committee (CGC) uses a consensus-based process to identify which groups are most qualified for grants and to inform Bread & Roses on how the grantmaking program can best meet the needs of activists in the Philadelphia region.
This spring, 14 new CGC members joined six returning members, representing a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences.
“I was looking for ways to practice my politics now that I’m not a full-time organizer, and participating in the CGC was a really good fit,” says new member Jennifer Jordan.
Serving on the CGC is a substantial time commitment. In this spring’s grant cycle, committee members split into teams to evaluate and interview more than 40 grant-seeking organizations. Final deliberations took place during an all-day meeting in June.
The process was intense, but both new and returning committee members approached it with dedication and enthusiasm. “It was challenging to realize how much impact we could have had if we had four times more money,” says Max Ray, new CGC member and longtime ACT UP member. “But it was really inspiring when we got to the end of the grantmaking process, and people literally got out their checkbooks and said, ‘I’m going to give more money this year.’”
Jordan echoes those feelings of hope: “I would come home at night after CGC interviews and feel like there’s good stuff happening in the world and that there’s a role I can play by helping to fund it. It was really meaningful to me.”