Donor Profile: the Pien Family

Why we give:
“It makes us feel really interconnected with the destiny of Philadelphia.”

Andrea Pien
Howard Pien, at left, and his daughter Andrea

“Bread & Roses is able to connect seemingly very disparate populations in the Philadelphia area in a way that recognizes everyone’s humanity,” says Andrea Pien. “They facilitate cross-race, cross-class conversations that can be uncomfortable but enable learning and growth and enable us to fund more movements more successfully.”

Pien gives to Bread & Roses along with her parents, Howard and Diane, and her sister, Catarina. “I feel a lot of gratitude to the racial and economic justice movement that enabled my family to move to the United States from Taiwan,” says Pien. “All of these movements were grassroots movements that were planned and thought out and needed to be funded. I grew up in the United States with a fundamental understanding of my rights, knowing I can sit anywhere on the bus and drink from any water fountain that I want. But, we still have so much further to go.”

The Pien family made a special gift this year to support Bread & Roses’ infrastructure, which helped make the office move possible. “With technology we can do things virtually, but there’s nothing that compares with sitting down face to face and hearing somebody’s story, and infrastructure and space are the way to do that,” says Pien. “Important grassroots movements have to happen in a space. Space has been taken away; the history of gentrification is space being taken away. Allowing for sound space and infrastructure is a really crucial, if not glamorous, way to support grassroots movements.”

$160,000 in Gender Justice Fund grants announced

Members of the 2019 Gender Justice Giving project practice one-on-one fundraising with each other.

We are proud to announce that Bread & Roses made $160,000 in grants this October to 16 groups organizing to mobilize women, girls, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people to make change in the Philadelphia region. The money for these grants was raised by the 2019 Gender Justice Giving Project.

“Bread & Roses sees things that no other organization tends to see.”

Sappho Fulton, 2018 and 2019 Gender Justice Fund grantee quoted in Philly Gay News

The grant announcement was covered by Philly Gay News and Generocity.

Grantee Profile: Sappho and LaRoyce Foundation

In October, Sappho and LaRoyce Foundation held an event for families to explore intergenerational trauma and toxic masculinity through mindfulness practices and artmaking.

Like many grassroots groups, Sappho and LaRoyce Foundation emerged when people got together to share their stories and take action. “I started having conversations with other lesbian women,” says co-founder Sappho Fulton. “They were going through a lot of nonsense in their relationships and they didn’t understand why they stayed, and I said we’ve got to do something collectively to help ourselves.”

The group formed in May 2018 with a mission to “educate, elevate, and empower LGBTQ and women of color to sustain holistic healing,” says Fulton. Sappho and LaRoyce Foundation received a grant from the Future Fund followed by a grant from the Gender Justice Fund. One of their core activities is facilitating support groups. “It is really about community,” Fulton says. “I see it as creating and opening up space for everybody so we can grow together and learn from one another.”

In addition to establishing spaces for mutual support and caretaking, Sappho and LaRoyce Foundation is working on a campaign to pass an updated Violence Against Women Act, which would add protections for transgender people. Because this legislation has stagnated in the Senate since April, Sappho and LaRoyce Foundation is working to push it forward by writing letters, meeting with local representatives, and learning about other advocacy tools.

As the organization grows, Fulton foresees expanding their work to engage trans men and LGBTQ youth in dialogue about domestic abuse. Fulton reflects on the group’s evolving role: “It went from my own personal experience being the motivating factor to addressing community needs from a holistic lens, from a broader lens. So, we have grown up and grown out.”

Executive director Casey Cook receives community leadership award

Casey Cook stands with Urban Affairs Coalition President & CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner.

Bread & Roses executive director Casey Cook was honored with a Community Leadership Award from the Friends of the Urban Affairs Coalition on November 22. The award was given to recognize Cook as a leader in philanthropy and to honor her demonstrated commitment to community before self, which is one of the core principles of the Friends of the Urban Affairs Coalition.

Seven people smiling and facing camera, person at center is holding an award
Casey Cook, center, poses with Bread & Roses staff members and current and former board members at the event

Board co-chair Jennifer Jordan writes powerful op-ed about Giving Projects for the Philadelphia Inquirer

Jennifer Jordan, co-chair of the board of Bread & Roses Community Fund, just published an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer exploring how Giving Projects transform the conventional wisdom in philanthropy.

Jennifer Jordan (right, front) practices fundraising pitches with her Giving Project group.

She writes: “In the fall of 2017, on the heels of the white supremacist Charlottesville rally and other unsettling displays of anti-black vitriol, Bread & Roses convened a Giving Project to raise money for black-led, black-centered organizing here in Philly. I signed up and the experience transformed me.”

Read the full article: Philanthropy fails in its approach to inequality. Here’s a way to change it.

Meet Donor Ha Pham

Why I give:
“I try to understand how [my family] did so much for me by putting myself in their place and doing it for others.”

Ha Pham

For Ha Pham, a 2018 Gender Justice Giving Project member, giving to Bread & Roses is rooted in relationships: “I give to support my community: the work they do and the environment they create. But on a more personal level, I am motivated by my mother and my grandmother — by thinking about the things they endured in life and being aware of the system they lived within. They laid plans that grew through so many seeds. They brought me here as one of those seeds, and now I feel the need to carry their work on. I try to understand how they did so much for me by putting myself in their place and doing it for others.”

Participating in a Giving Project was a transformative experience for Pham: “It changed a lot of things for me. The Giving Project felt like everything was coming together. Being a part of that community made me feel whole — the sense of community moved me. When I hear the word ‘movement,’ I think about moving forward, determination. Like the movement that drives a protest. But the Giving Project moved me in a different way. It wasn’t movement to a destination, but more like movement into daily life.”

After the Giving Project, Pham continued her involvement by joining the 2019 Tribute to Change planning committee. She is organizing the members of her Giving Project to be a collective sponsor of the Tribute to Change.

Grantee Profile: Agape African Senior Center

The Agape African Senior Center, a Black-led, Black-centered Organizing Fund and Immigration Justice Fund grantee, was founded in 2000 by immigrants and refugees of African descent. Their mission, in the words of founder Rev. Dr. John Jallah, is to “organize to help aging refugees and immigrants cope with life.” In the beginning, Agape members met once a week to develop an understanding of how government worked in Philadelphia. A 2004 grant from Bread & Roses Community Fund was the Center’s first source of funding.

Elderly African and Caribbean immigrants and refugees living in Philadelphia face economic, cultural, social, and language barriers. The Agape African Senior Center’s English as a Second Language classes, residency and citizenship assistance, skills trainings, and peer support group aim to build a base to take collective action.

“The first win has been to get senior citizens out of their homes and to participate,” Jallah says. The Center’s programming enables community members to independently navigate the city, addressing the isolation often experienced by elderly immigrants and refugees. 

The Center’s inclusion campaign calls on the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging to re-direct funding to community-led organizations that meet the specific needs of aging African and Caribbean immigrants and refugees, who face discrimination accessing health care and other services available to seniors. The campaign hopes to ensure that the “10,000 aging African and Caribbean immigrants are treated like other aging Philadelphians,” says Jallah.

Members of the Agape African Senior Center advocate for their needs at the city level by serving on the newly formed African Caribbean Advisory Body as well as the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs. “Our community already has organizations,” says Jallah. “Our community should be empowered to serve our people and our refugees.” 

Welcoming Susan Schewel and Caitlin Quigley

New Board Member: Susan Schewel

When Susan Schewel moved to Philadelphia 30 years ago, Bread & Roses was the first place she volunteered. Her continued support has been motivated by her belief in the power of Philadelphia grassroots organizations to create change. A women’s health activist, she was as an OB/GYN nurse, a women’s health nurse practitioner, and the executive director of the Women’s Medical Fund from 2003 to 2017. Susan has worked in patient care, research, policy, management, and fundraising. She served on the Philadelphia Board of Health, the National Women’s Health Network board, and the Congregation Mishkan Shalom board, and is excited to bring her knowledge and skills to the Bread & Roses board.

New Staff Member: Caitlin Quigley

Caitlin Quigley joins the staff as director of communications & development. She started volunteering at Bread & Roses in 2012 and served on staff in 2014 and 2015. Caitlin co-founded the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, and in 2016 she was named a winner of the Knight Cities Challenge for her project 20 Book Clubs → 20 Cooperative Businesses, which organized 180 people to study economic cooperation and then form their own cooperative businesses. Caitlin holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts in social justice and community organizing from Prescott College. She is delighted to return to staff and would love to talk to you about moving money to movements for change.

Independence Public Media Foundation forms partnership with Bread & Roses for media justice

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Independence Public Media Foundation (IPM)! IPM made an $800,000 gift to establish a fund at Bread & Roses to support grassroots media and media making across the region.

IPM was founded in 1981 as a public broadcaster operating WYBE Channel 35 in the Philadelphia market. In 2017, it relinquished its broadcast license as part of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadcast Incentive Auction and began transitioning into a private foundation. It seeks to fund media and related programs that strengthen and connect diverse voices and foster greater understanding across the Philadelphia region.

IPM announced its first round of grants on July 9. These grants, it says, represent a key step toward “advancing the foundation’s strategic goals, which were designed through a detailed community listening and engagement process.” Including the gift to Bread & Roses, it will make grants totaling $5.3 million to 11 organizations.

Read about the grants here:
Learn more about IPM’s history and mission:

Anthony Marqusee: Using the Racial Wage Gap To Support Anti-Racism

Anthony (left) at a Giving Project session

After participating in the 2018-19 Immigration Justice Giving Project, Anthony Marqusee wanted to keep the momentum going. “I started thinking about other ways I could contribute resources to social change while also finding meaning for myself,” says Anthony. Below, we’re sharing a reflection Anthony wrote about this challenge.

by Anthony Marquesee

Participating in the Giving Project this year was an energizing and educational experience for me. After my project ended, I started thinking about other ways I could contribute resources to social change while also finding meaning for myself. Back in May I was mulling this challenge over and thought about the racial wage gap (the differences in earnings across racial groups in the US). What if I took the gap between what employers pay Black and white workers, and donated that amount to causes promoting racial justice?

I decided to try it, using my income for the one month period ending on Juneteenth (the holiday celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the US). I figured that donating through this method would both support a worthy cause, and also help “bring home” the true size of the wage gap. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average Black American worker receives 73.3% of the average wage for a white worker, so I multiplied (100%-73.3%=26.7%) by my income for the month.

I donated the money to two community groups based in my neighborhood (Human Rights Coalition PA and Black & Brown Workers Co-op), and two one-time fundraisers that I heard about through acquaintances (BLISS Meadows and Let’s Help Uwizeyimana Angelique Finish College!).

In the end I felt that taking on this challenge was very fruitful. I learned more about the many Black liberation efforts that are ongoing today, and I was able to more deeply feel the reality of the racial wage gap. Like many people, I am inundated with facts and statistics about social issues, and I realized I had become numb to some of the reality behind the numbers. If you had told me before, “the wage gap is 26.7%,” I would have said, “that’s a lot.” But it wasn’t until I was actually giving up my own money that I realized, “wait, that actually is a lot.” I felt the injustice more deeply, and simultaneously felt I was doing something to support people working to end it.

I will share more about the process I used to choose the 26.7% number, and I also welcome any feedback on this project idea (and would love it if anyone felt inspired to try it themselves, on whatever scale works for them). Happy Juneteenth!

Note: see Anthony’s original post for footnotes on how they applied the wage gap numbers to their own income.