Tag Archives: Giving Project

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.

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!

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.”