Donor Advised Grantmaking

New Directions for Donor-Advised Grantmaking

Recently, two donor-advised grants were made by young people using innovative models for giving. We encourage you to think creatively about how you can leverage resources for social change! To talk more about the possibilities for donor-advised gifts please contact Casey Cook at 215-731-1107 x203 or casey@breadrosesfund.org.

The One Percent Fund

The seven members of the One Percenters Fund came together in early 2006. We are all in our late twenties and thirties. Our group includes a nurse practitioner, a high school educator, a legal aid lawyer, a community organizer, a domestic violence community educator, a grad student, and an immigrants’ rights attorney. We have all been involved in social justice activism for years, making contributions of $20 or $50 to numerous organizations throughout the year. We began the One Percenters Fund because we felt that we could better support sustained political change by pooling our contributions in order to make the kind of larger, more targeted gift that we lack the financial means to make as individuals. We considered how the religious right uses tithing to raise money for conservative causes; evangelical Christians are the most generous givers of any group in the US. Even if we were not yet in a position to give 10% of our income, we decided we could certainly all give 1% as a start. We plan to challenge each other to increase our giving over time.

We chose Bread & Roses to host our donor advised fund because we value Bread & Roses’ experience with and knowledge of local organizations working for progressive social change. We also appreciate the ease of having one fund to which all of our members can contribute.

After putting aside money all year, we met for dinner in December to discuss what issues we were interested in addressing with our contribution and what kind of organization we wanted to support.

“One of the things I love about our fund is talking to friends about how we can best use our money to support our political priorities,” said a member of the One Percenters. “For example, do we want to support a promising new organization that has just started or do we prefer an organization with a proven track record?”

One of the unexpected benefits of the fund was the way in which discussing how much each person planned to contribute encouraged each of us to give more. When we originally surveyed each other about how much we would contribute, we came up with about $2800. But when the contributions were tallied by Bread & Roses, we found we had contributed over $3400 to use for our first grant.

Bread & Roses provided us with information about several organizations that are making change in priority areas we had identified. We are very excited to be supporting X-Offenders for Community Empowerment with our 2007 grant. The goal of XCE is to create a movement for ex-offenders to reclaim their lives and be a productive force in the community. Much of the work is to empower ex-offenders to take action and leadership in the movement. Their work focuses on issues of recidivism, violence, and prisoner rights.

The One Percenters would be happy to share information with others who would like to consider establishing similar social justice giving groups of their own. For more information about the One Percenters Fund, please contact Bread & Roses.

Philadelphia Housing Justice Fund

We bought a house in East Parkside in 2001 and decided to sell it six years later due to various personal circumstances. As white homeowners in a Black neighborhood, we struggled with figuring out how to sell the house without contributing to oncoming gentrification that we could anticipate in the area. At the same time, we also didn’t want to sell too low and undercut the property values of our neighbors’ homes.

We decided that instead of putting the house on the market through a realtor we would spread the word about our desire to sell through a few community groups. Working primarily with the African American Business and Residents Association (AABRA), we were able to find a family of housing activists involved in the organization to buy our home.
Over 15% of the money we made selling the house at market value was set aside to create a fund through Bread & Roses to redirect the money to organizations working for housing justice in Philadelphia. The rest of the money was split between the 8 people who lived in the house over the years, each getting a percentage according to how long they lived in the house.

As activists, we have all been involved with organizations that have benefited from Bread & Roses grants. We decided to give this money through Bread & Roses because we admire their approach of pooling together resources to distribute to community groups. We wanted to challenge the idea of what it means to be a donor and what it means to have access to wealth and resources. While this is a one time gift, and one larger than any of us will probably be able to make again, we hope that we will have an impact and be a model to others to take similar action.