Tag Archives: Giving Project

Meet donor Polly Pillen

Why I give:

“Because Bread & Roses centers and trusts the people that are most impacted by systems.”

Person smiling wearing a hatPolly Pillen moved to Philadelphia in October 2016 and joined a Giving Project at Bread & Roses just two months later. “It was a really special way to enter into my time in Philadelphia and hear about organizations on the ground that I would never have known about,” Pillen says. “Also, I was very recently learning about my owning class background and what I could move and starting that process. It felt like a serendipitous moment to think about what my role was in movement building.”

Pillen is a therapist at Women Organized Against Rape, a local rape and sexual assault crisis center. “My work is doing individual healing,” she says. “In my personal life, my community is doing work around movement building and thinking critically about our class and race privilege and trying to use those in ways that are important.”

For Pillen, participating in the Giving Project was one of the first steps, and she says it was transformative to hear the experiences and perspectives of people of color from different class backgrounds. “Being part of a democratic process where we got to learn about all of the work that was on the ground and mull over the decisions about how to give was really important and powerful and made me think more critically about giving,” she says. “The community aspect and being around other people doing that work really pushed me through some walls I had built up around giving. The Giving Project supports cross-race, cross-class community building, and I want to support that.”

Movements for gender justice find power in inclusivity

Women marching

Photo by Harvey Finkle

Following closely on the heels of the inauguration, the January 2017 Women’s March galvanized throngs of people into the streets to demonstrate power, rage, and commitment. The year that followed held dire threats to longstanding civil rights coupled with unprecedented moments of accountability, such as the explosion of the #MeToo movement.

“I think people are aware of gender justice on a level that they had not been before, a level of attention that has been given to #MeToo and to even more subtle and complex issues of power and relationships between men and women,” says Farrah Parkes, director of education, technology, and job readiness at ‎Lutheran Settlement House.

But today’s movements for gender justice are not our grandmothers’ movements, and they are gaining strength from understanding the interconnectedness of different forms of oppression.

“On a mass scale, more people are being encouraged, pushed, and challenged to have more of an intersectional analysis,” says Sara Zia Ebrahimi, program director at Leeway Foundation. That analysis addresses how people experience multiple forms of oppression — such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia — simultaneously.

“Ten years ago, Leeway made the transition to fund not just women artists but women, trans, and gender-nonconforming artists, because feminism is about self-determination and trying to address people who are marginalized because of their gender, and so we’re looking beyond he or she and to a wider spectrum,” Ebrahimi says.

Nora Lichtash, executive director of Women’s Community Revitalization Project, works at the intersection of gender justice and economic justice. “It feels like now people can see a reality that has been so present for so many of us for a long time,” Lichtash says. “Sometimes people do see it but feel scared to say it. I think people are speaking out in the context of class, which is very important because as poor women, the vulnerability as far as the horrors of sexism and violence is unbelievable.”

Social change happens when communities organize together, and the spring 2018 Giving Project will raise money for a specialized Gender Justice Fund. “I’m looking forward to the gender justice project as a way to engage a lot of people on this issue,” says Parkes, a Giving Project alum. She notes that every person who contributes to a Giving Project, at any amount, is a part of sustaining change and building movements.

“The time is always right to do what’s right,” Parkes says, “but it’s the right moment because people are energized, people are waking up, people want to do something.”

Bread & Roses profiled on CityWide Stories

Bread & Roses Community Fund: Striving for Racial Equity and Economic Justice
Excerpted from CityWide Stories article published on February 19, 2018

Seven people outdoors smiling

Bread & Roses staff in December 2017

Casey Cook, Executive Director, has been at Bread & Roses Community Fund for over ten years. She told me she feels privileged to be a part of that history and to work with an amazing team of staff, volunteers, and organizers who work every day to create real change in the Philadelphia region and beyond. “The work we do together is shifting the balance of power in our region, lifting up the voices of those who have been silenced, and creating equity for all of our communities. We do that through collective action, driven by a sense of mutual accountability. We are in the midst of creating a world that has yet to be imagined,” said Cook.

In 2016, Bread & Roses launched the Giving Project, an innovative model for building leadership and moving money for real change in the Philadelphia region.

Read more at citywidestories.com.

Giving Project member Julie Zeglen writes about young people, generosity, and activism

Millennials are mad as hell and they’re not afraid to do something about it
Excerpted from Philadelphia Inquirer article published on February 9, 2018

The Center City-based Bread & Roses Community Fund is one of about seven social justice-focused funding organizations in the county that runs Giving Projects, a fund-raising initiative that asks a cross-race, cross-class, intergenerational cohort of citizens to fund-raise from their peers (and donate themselves) to a collective pool, which the cohort then grants out to local activist groups working for racial and economic justice. This past winter’s cohort of 17 — which, full disclosure, included me — raised $154,801.

Executive director Casey Cook said that interest in the project surged after the 2016 election — and that overwhelmingly, it was young people who responded to the call over their older peers. This matched Giving Project trends around the country.

“In Philly, we’ve had to make an effort to create an intergenerational environment,” Cook said. “We are overwhelmed with applications from young people, and that’s actually why we’re increasing the number of Giving Projects we’re running every year, in order to accommodate that need. And from my colleagues around the country, I am hearing similar things — that applications from young people are the largest in number.”

Read more at Philly.com.

One-time Black-led, Black-centered Organizing Fund to make $10,000 grants this spring

20 people pose on a rooftop in Philadelphia

Fall 2017 Giving Project members

Attacks on Black communities are intensifying, but across the country and in the Philadelphia area, organizers are responding with strength and power. To respond to this reality, Bread & Roses Community Fund’s fall 2017 Giving Project is raising money to make grants to support Black-led, Black-centered organizing in our region through the one-time Black-led, Black-centered Organizing Fund.

“We see the growing leadership of Black-led organizations in movements,” says director of programs Aarati Kasturirangan. “We also see sources of funding for this work shrinking, so we’re responding by moving more money.”

A small group of Giving Project membersAnti-black racism drives many forms of injustice in our region, such as mass incarceration, police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, gentrification and displacement, environmental racism, transphobia, and the exploitation of workers. But every day organized communities are resisting and pushing back against these and other manifestations of racism.

“We support groups whose leaders come from communities facing a wide variety of issues. Anti-black racism lies at the heart of many of these issues,” explains Kasturirangan. “We are moving resources to Black-led, Black-centered groups and stepping aside so they can continue to build power.”

More than a dozen people sit in a circle in a large room

Members of the Fall 2017 Giving Project gather for a training on understanding race and class

Seneca Joyner, a Latin American historian and activist with Women’s Medical Fund, joined the fall 2017 Giving Project because she thought it sounded meaningful. “I felt sort of burnt out and disinterested with philanthropy,” she says. “I want to do better, and do more, with different people who also want that. I wanted to blend more skills with respect to fundraising and challenge myself to do it in a way that would be useful to not just me.”

The majority of people participating in the fall 2017 Giving Project are Black-identified. “The groups applying can have confidence that it’s not a system that is dominated by others — it’s mostly Black people,” notes Nigel Charles, project manager.

A small group of Giving Project members share a light moment“I haven’t been this excited about participating in a group activity in a while,” says Joyner. “I am new to Philadelphia, and because of my poverty and the care work I do, I often feel like I am excluded from the communities that are supposed to be ‘saving me. I care about the community, I picked the Giving Project, and I want to be of use to it and the community in a really specific way.”

The recipients of the Black-led, Black-centered Organizing Fund’s $10,000 grants will be announced in March 2018. The Racial & Economic Justice Fund and Future Fund grant cycles will happen in the spring as usual.

Learn more about The Giving Project.

Meet donor LaTrista Webb

Why I give:
“There’s a lot right and wrong in this country, and I might not touch all the areas, but my financial contribution may touch areas that I can’t.”

Photo: Erika Guadalupe Nuñez

“I think Bread & Roses is unique because it has a real community feel. It’s very inclusive, very culturally aware,” says LaTrista Webb, a member of the spring 2017 Giving Project.

Webb is the executive director of the Elevation Project, a Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative grantee that supports people who are currently or formerly incarcerated. She sees this work as a piece of a larger movement for social justice. “I recognize that I’m not working on the only issue in our country,” she says, “but if I give to Bread & Roses, they in turn give the money to someone who works in an area that I don’t work in.”

The cross-race, cross-class nature of the Giving Project, Webb says, offered her an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. During the Giving Project race and class training, Webb was moved to hear people speak so candidly about their class backgrounds: “It opened my eyes that everyone wealthy is not bad.”

For Webb, the biggest lesson the Giving Project provided was recognizing a broader sense of community. “I don’t have to stay in my little circle to get the work done,” she says. “There are all sorts of people who want to see social justice happen.”