Author Archives: Bread Roses

Meet donor Kara Tennis

Why I give:
“I give because for me it would feel unconscionable not to work towards redistributing unearned wealth now that I have a sense in my gut — as well as a privileged white person can — of what it means to be a marginalized person who suffers from generations of oppression.”

Person indoors smiling wearing scarfKara Tennis became a donor after finding out about Bread & Roses from a neighbor, then wanted to get more involved. “I knew I really wanted to do a Giving Project just to challenge myself and to do that work in a group of people. My focus has always been about racial justice, but I did the gender justice one because it was the first one available, and I was so keen to do it,” she says. “As it went on, I realized it was the same work all along.”

“The Giving Project gave me a chance to practice my job as a privileged person, which is to keep listening, listening, listening, and learning from the experiences of marginalized people, rather than believing my own opinions and default reactions, centering my responses, or thinking I know what is needed or what should work,” she says.

Tennis recently began selling her mixed-media wearable art under the name Justice Jewelry. She donates all proceeds to anti-racist organizations including Bread & Roses. In October Tennis signed up to be a monthly donor to Bread & Roses. “I understand that it’s really helpful for the organization, knowing what it can count on,” she says. “I’ve been really behind supporting operating costs, because it’s harder for the organization to get those less sexy parts of funding done.”

Welcoming three new board members

Three headshots of new board members

Please join us in welcoming Yahya Alazrak, Farrah Parkes, and Nina Wong to our board of directors.

Yahya Alazrak’s experience growing up with one wealthy parent and one poor one has instilled in them a commitment to building a world where all people have three things: enough resources, power over their own lives, and community. They see Bread & Roses as having a key role in nurturing those things in the Philadelphia area, and they couldn’t be more grateful to serve that work. Yahya has been with Resource Generation since 2015 as a National Organizer and Coordinator of POC programs, organizing young people with access to wealth towards the redistribution of wealth, land, and power. They live in West Philadelphia and are a member of the Life Center Association cooperative land trust.

Farrah Parkes has spent her entire professional career in the non-profit sector working to address societal imbalances in resources and opportunities. She is inspired by Bread & Roses’ commitment to “change, not charity.” She previously served on the board of the Women’s Medical Fund and is currently the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Valentine Foundation.

Nina Wong is a lifelong Philadelphian always in search of new avenues to contribute to a collective, holistic vision of equity in the community she loves. Whether in her day-to-day roles as an operations consultant or trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness instructor, she is passionate about helping individuals and organizations alike align intention with action – while doing so ambitiously and sustainably. Nina was a member of Bread & Roses’ Spring 2017 Giving Project and considers it one of the most thought-provoking and paradigm-shifting experiences of her life (and she thinks you should join one as well!).

Meet donor Jordyn Myers

One person indoors smiling looking at camera

Jordyn Myers

Why I give:
“I trust that Bread & Roses is giving money to people who know what they’re talking about, are doing the work, and are not being funded by a lot of other organizations because they’re pushing against the status quo.”

After spending a year interning at Bread & Roses, Jordyn Myers decided to join the Fall 2017 Giving Project, which raised money and made grants in the Black-led, Black-centered Organizing Fund. “I wanted to be in a space where I could think about how fundraising could be done in an anti-capitalist, anti-racist way,” she says.

Black-identified members of the Giving Project led the process. “The facilitators and the people in it worked really hard for it to be a space where marginalized people were believed,” Myers says. “Once you start believing marginalized people, there’s this priority on the power of their ideas, the power of what we had to say. That was probably the first time I had been in a space like that.”

Prioritizing the voices of people of color made the process more efficient. “It was a space that was so much easier for me to share freely,” Myers says. “I never felt like, ‘I have to say this, because if I don’t say this nobody else would say it.’ It felt like the people of color caucus had each other’s backs. We were prepared for that, because we were just believed. We did a lot less defending ourselves.”

Through their personal donations and fundraising, Myers and her fellow Giving Project members raised enough money to make $130,000 in grants for Black-led, Black-centered organizing this spring.

Giving Projects profiled in Inside Philanthropy

Giving Projects at Bread & Roses and other social justice funds across the country were featured in an article in Inside Philanthropy on September 19. Our director of programs Aarati Kasturirangan and Giving Project member Beckett Koretz are quoted in the article.

“How did it feel to grow up knowing you had everything you needed?” That was a question put to Beckett Koretz by a fellow Giving Project participant who grew up without the kind of economic security Koretz enjoyed. And although Koretz has spent the last few years grappling with class privilege, the 26-year-old said, “I couldn’t answer that question.”

Rarely in our society do ordinary people come together to talk about money. Even more rarely does a diverse group—people of color, white people, wealthy people and cash-poor people—gather to talk about race and class. And almost never does such a group jointly raise and distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But that’s exactly what happens in a Giving Project.

To date, Giving Projects have raised more than $5 million from 8,000 people. This innovative model is energizing groups of people who are not generally well-represented in philanthropic decision-making—namely, young people and people of color. And the money raised and distributed by Giving Projects is providing necessary funding for grassroots, community-led organizing that’s underfunded by larger foundations. Taken all together, the Giving Project model holds the potential for revolutionizing funding for emergent social justice work across the country.

Read more at insidephilanthropy.com.

Grantee Profile: Amistad Law Project

Four people outside looking at camera

Amistad Law Project members (left to right) Sean West, Kempis “Ghani” Songster, Nikki Grant, and Kris Henderson provide legal services to people incarcerated in Pennsylvania.

“We absolutely have to improve conditions for people who are incarcerated now, but it’s also possible to have this world where we don’t put people in cages at all.”

— Kris Henderson

In 2014, friends Kris Henderson and Nikki Grant had been organizing against mass incarceration with Decarcerate PA for several years and had just graduated from law school. “We wanted to figure out how to make our organizing work a part of our jobs and our legal work,” says Henderson. They founded Amistad Law Project to provide legal services to incarcerated people and to push to abolish prisons.

Amistad Law Project received grants from three Bread & Roses funds this year — the Black-led, Black-centered Organizing Fund, the Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative, and the Racial & Economic Justice Fund — for a total of $25,000, the maximum amount an organization can receive from Bread & Roses in one fiscal year.

“I really like the process of going to an interview at Bread & Roses and having a conversation with folks,” Henderson says. “We tell about the work, but also how we do the work, and who we are as people and our relationships with one another.”

Amistad Law Project’s lawyers visit clients and allies in prison to build relationships and develop movement strategy. “We have a bunch of cases that are aimed at getting people serving death by incarceration sentences home,” says Henderson. “We also have cases around health care that folks aren’t receiving in prison that they should be.” The organization is suing on behalf of a client who did not receive treatment and died from complications of hepatitis C.

“Prison abolition is not this thing we have as a sound bite,” Henderson notes. “It’s something we hold as a really deep value and belief, and it informs the work that we’re doing. We absolutely have to improve conditions for people who are incarcerated now, but it’s also possible to have this world where we don’t put people in cages at all.”

Funding the Fight for Immigration Justice

“There’s a history of anti-immigration sentiment even when the states were colonies,” says Fernando Chang-Muy, professor of immigration and refugee law at Penn Law. “Actually, the beginning is anti-German feeling.” Benjamin Franklin spoke out against German immigrants, asking in 1751, “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion?”

Racially based fear of newcomers fueled policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States and was not repealed until 1943. “We have a history of both accepting people from other countries into our territory and we have a very sad, horrible history of turning people away,” notes Chang-Muy. “You might have ancestors who tried to come in. They were stopped at the border, Ellis Island, they were checked for diseases and other things like communism, and if any of those things were found they were excluded.” Within our borders, immigrants have faced forced relocation, incarceration, separation from family members, and other violence.

Group of people marching in the street with signs

Immigrants and allies march May 1 to end mass incarceration and detention and to demand reinvestment in communities. Photo by Joe Piette.

Immigrant rights advocate Ana Lisa Yoder traces the thread of this history to today. “Immigrants and refugees have been under attack for a long time, but in the last year and a half, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in policies and practices that dehumanize, violate human rights, and are creating long-lasting trauma in whole communities,” she says. “Ground-up strategies that centralize the voices of those directly impacted are imperative to creating meaningful change. If we ever needed movements for immigration justice, it is now.”

The next Giving Project at Bread & Roses, which begins in September, will raise money and make grants through a special Immigration Justice Fund. Yoder explains why she chose to join this Giving Project: “My uncle, who was a civil rights activist, died recently. I’ve been thinking a lot about him, what he might have been doing in this moment, and what more I can do to work for justice as he did.” The deadline to apply for a grant from the Immigration Justice Fund is October 12.

Yoder is keen to meet and begin work with her fellow Giving Project members. “I believe deeply in the power of collective action,” she says. “Having participated in traditional grantmaking over the years, the idea of ordinary people building power through grassroots fundraising gives me hope for change — so very needed in these times.”

Empathy and Intention: Erika Owens reflects on her Giving Project experience

by Erika Owens, member of the Spring 2017 Giving Project

Bread & Roses is one of my favorite parts of Philadelphia. It’s such a remarkable organization, not only in the work that it supports, but also in the way that it embodies its values in how it functions. So it was no surprise how the Giving Project has developed as a way to combine community building, capacity building, fundraising, and grantmaking to amazing organizations.

Prior to participating in the Spring 2017 Giving Project, I was involved in Bread & Roses as a donor, grant recipient, and member of the Community Grantmaking Committee (a precursor to the Giving Project). I got to know so many incredible organizations and the organizing history and impact of organizations like ACT UP. So, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to participate in a Giving Project.

In addition to the incredible people and challenging conversations, I appreciated the facilitation strategies I learned through the project. I’m a bit of a facilitation nerd, and Aarati’s thoughtfulness in agenda setting and adeptly navigating those charged conversations was really inspiring. The entire team was so open with their personal experiences that it created a space for the rest of us to deepen our connections to one another, too. This modeling of how to communicate with empathy and intention is part of what I appreciate most about Bread & Roses.

Two people sitting at a table working on documents

Erika Owens, left, works with another Giving Project member at their grantmaking training in 2017

I aspire to embody these values in my own work. I’ve learned much of how to do that both through Bread & Roses, and many of the grantees they support, from Juntos to Asian Americans United to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, my prior employer. In addition, the practice having 1-1 fundraising conversations prepared me for my workplace’s first individual donor campaign. I was able to confidently make direct asks, and support my colleagues in doing the same, because I saw how a community can really come out to support one another through the Giving Project experience. We met and exceeded our fundraising goal!

Nowadays, I’m a total Giving Project and Bread & Roses evangelist. I’ve sent links to funds in different cities to friends. I’ve told anyone new to the city and interested in social justice that they must check it out. I’ve counseled friends about their own thinking about philanthropy, while encouraging them to participate too. It’s hard to contain my excitement and gratitude for this organization and this pathway for learning, growing, fundraising, and giving. Thank you, Bread & Roses, and Social Justice Fund Northwest, for getting us all started!

Executive director Casey Cook elected to the board of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

On April 10, Bread & Roses Community Fund executive director Casey Cook was elected to serve on the board of directors of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, a network of more than 140 diverse organizations that invest more than $500 million annually in the Philadelphia region.

The Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia board of directors is composed of leaders representing the region’s diverse funders. “Part of our mission at Bread & Roses is to advance social justice philanthropy and to encourage our colleagues in the philanthropic sector to support work at the community level and to make more grants to organizations engaged in advocacy, civic engagement, and community organizing,” says Casey Cook.

Bread & Roses Community Fund has been an active member of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia for 20 years. “I’m honored to be elected to serve,” says Cook. “I look forward to supporting the leadership of executive director Sidney Hargro and to advancing the organization’s commitment to diverse, equitable, and inclusive philanthropy.”

Two people standing facing the camera smiling holding a framed certificate

Executive director Casey Cook (left) with Philanthropy Network’s board president Jennifer Pedroni, Vice President of Administration, HealthSpark Foundation. Bread & Roses received a certificate recognizing 20 years of membership in Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia.
Credit: Jim Harris Studios

 

Mourning the loss of Bread & Roses co-founder Molly Frantz

Person looking at the camera, outdoors

Molly Frantz passed away on April 25 at age 75.

We are very sad to announce the passing of Molly Frantz, a co-founder of Bread & Roses who remained active and dedicated to the organization throughout her life. She was a wonderful person, extraordinarily independent and thoroughly committed to the issues of racial and economic justice at the heart of Bread & Roses.

Molly grew up in the western suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated from Rosemont College in 1964. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College in 1970.

In the early 1970s, Molly joined with a small group of people in Philadelphia who wanted to create an alternative to the United Way that would fund a new generation of groups focusing on racial and economic justice, anti-war efforts, and other community organizing work. They founded The People’s Fund in 1971 and became Bread & Roses Community Fund in 1977.

Two people indoors laughing together

Molly Frantz (right) with Lenore Cooney at the first office of the People’s Fund at 13th and Sansom.

Molly’s impact at Bread & Roses is profound. Over the decades, she consistently pushed for a focus on racial and economic justice and a preference for funding new, small, community-based groups. She helped create Bread & Roses’ culture of consensus, encouraging people to work with one another to figure out how the organization would be shaped.

Molly enthusiastically served on committees and on the board of directors, showed up for events, and sustained her commitment for more than 40 years. She was also very supportive of each of the executive directors and she acted as an informal mentor to emerging leaders within the organization.

“Molly had a no nonsense demeanor and a generous heart,” says Casey Cook, executive director. “She always spoke her truth. She believed that a better, more just world was within reach. None of us would be at Bread & Roses without her.”

Black and white photo of four people standing and smiling

At a Tribute to Change event during the 1980s. From left to right, Steve Gold, Harvey Finkle, Molly Frantz, and Richard Baron.

Richard Baron, another co-founder of Bread & Roses, remembers Molly as “the nicest person most of us ever got to meet.”  He recalls her as an “intelligent, practical, pleasant partner to the people she worked with, and always interested in what other people had to say, but very clear about her own opinions and ambitions.”

Molly spent her career advocating for patients’ rights within the mental and behavioral health systems. In her private life, she enjoyed spending time with her devoted friends and family, going to the theater, and traveling all over the world.

Person sitting in a dark room looking down at paper

Molly Frantz in the early years of Bread & Roses

We invite you to share your remembrances of Molly in the comments section below — click on “Leave a reply.” We will be compiling these remembrances to share them with Molly’s family. Thank you for taking time to celebrate and honor Molly with us.

Grantee Profile: Women’s Medical Fund

People in a park holding up signs about crisis pregnancy centers

Women’s Medical Fund members raise awareness in October about manipulative tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers

“We strongly believe that taxpayer money should go towards actually benefiting our communities instead of just trying to control people’s bodies.”

— Tabitha Skervin

Women’s Medical Fund was started in 1985 to protect and increase abortion access for people with low incomes. “Last year, we expanded our work to include both direct service and community mobilizing,” says executive director Elicia Gonzales. “We applied for a grant from Bread & Roses to do that initial base-building work and create what is now called the Philadelphia Reproductive Freedom Collective.” The collective has been meeting every other week to learn community organizing skills and deepen their understanding of power and privilege. “Bread and Roses’ support really allowed that group to come to fruition, to cultivate their leadership,” Gonzales says.

The collective determined that their inaugural campaign would focus on crisis pregnancy centers. “We see crisis pregnancy centers as a barrier to abortion because they’re designed to intentionally deceive people, primarily poor people, [to prevent them] from having an abortion,” Gonzales says. “They have names that are very woman-centric and family-friendly, but when a person goes in, they are given misinformation, such as ‘abortion causes cancer.’ They even go so far as to lie about whether or not a person is pregnant.”

There are 18 crisis pregnancy centers in the city of Philadelphia but only six clinics where abortions are performed. “In Pennsylvania we give millions of dollars in taxpayer money to crisis pregnancy centers, specifically Temporary Assistance to Needy Families money,” notes Tabitha Skervin, community mobilization coordinator at Women’s Medical Fund. “We strongly believe that taxpayer money should go towards actually benefiting our communities instead of just trying to control people’s bodies.” Skervin adds that they aim for the city be free of any crisis pregnancy centers, and are building a base to raise awareness and support.

For Women’s Medical Fund, abortion access is a racial and economic justice issue. “Systemic oppression differently impacts communities,” Gonzales says. “The vast majority of people who get abortions in the country are white people, but the vast majority of people who call our helpline are people of color. We’re also continuing to grapple with ways to engage with our callers and really have people with lived experiences be part of the fabric of our work so that the work is not transactional but transformational.”