Tag Archives: Giving Project

Equitable Public Space Giving Project makes $450,000 in grants to 20 grassroots groups in Philadelphia and Camden

At Bread & Roses Community Fund, we believe that grassroots organizing led by communities most affected by injustice is essential to overcoming systems of oppression. Our 2019-2020 Equitable Public Space Giving Project, a partnership with the William Penn Foundation, brought together 18 determined volunteers from across differences of race, class, gender, and age to engage in a transformative process of collective giving, fundraising, grantmaking, and community building.

Members of the 2019-2020 Equitable Public Space Giving Project

Over three months, Giving Project members raised $150,000 for grants from 366 donors! The money they raised was matched 2:1 by a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, and in March 2020, Giving Project members made $450,000 in 2-year grants to 20 grassroots groups using community organizing to promote equitable public space.

WHYY’s Meir Rinde was in attendance for the Giving Project’s decision-making day and wrote about the process in a piece on March 12 titled “Why 18 strangers spent 6 months raising $150,000 for Philly public spaces.”

The 20 Equitable Public Space Fund grantees are organizing their communities to create equitable public spaces in parks, libraries, recreation centers, greenways, waterways, community gardens, community centers, plazas, and play areas in Philadelphia and Camden.

Soil Generation — $50,000 

Soil Generation is expanding their Threatened Gardens Campaign to push forward equitable policies that reduce barriers for people of color and low-income communities to access land and grow food. 

Urban Tree Connection — $30,000 

Urban Tree Connection is repurposing vacant lots in West Philadelphia’s Haddington neighborhood for communal growing and gathering, sustainable food production and affordable food distribution, and intergenerational health, wellness, and political education.  

VietLead — $30,000 

Vietlead is growing their intergenerational Resilient Roots Community Farm in Camden by cultivating neighborhood ownership and co-creation, making the farm more publicly accessible, incorporating art and cultural knowledge, and launching a campaign against gentrification. 

Asian Americans United — $20,000 

Asian Americans United is organizing around Chinatown’s changing public spaces, including protection of the Inch by Inch Garden, educational programming around public space equity, and publishing recommendations for equity in Chinatown. 

Black and Brown Workers Cooperative — $20,000 

Black and Brown Workers Cooperative is organizing to reclaim land, conducting teach-ins about community land trusts, and bringing art and disruption actions to public spaces. 

Coalition of African Communities — $20,000 

Coalition of African Communities is expanding access to public parks and libraries for African and Caribbean immigrants by hosting events and trainings in public spaces as well as conducting legislative advocacy campaigns to build more soccer infrastructure. 

Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association and Concerned Citizens of North Camden — $20,000 

Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association and Concerned Citizens of North Camden are working in coalition to expand access to public spaces controlled by Rutgers University Camden by organizing residents, distributing multilingual information, and creating guerilla marketing campaigns. 

Healing Communities USA — $20,000 

Healing Communities USA is using a restorative justice approach to expand access to public spaces for communities impacted by the criminal legal system. 

Holly Street Neighbors Community Garden, an initiative of UC Green — $20,000 

Holly Street Neighbors Community Garden, an initiative of UC Green, is amplifying its role in West and Southwest Philadelphia by serving as an accessible and therapeutic community space for events, education and arts. 

MOVES — $20,000 

MOVES is working to create access to community-controlled spaces in which Black and Brown LGBTQ people can create, critique, explore, enjoy, and perform art.  

Mt. Vernon Manor CDC — $20,000 

Mt. Vernon Manor CDC is partnering with the Friends of the Mantua Greenway and the Mantua Urban Peace Garden to organize community members, create a succession plan for the older generation of leaders, and steward local green spaces. 

National Institute for Healthy Human Spaces — $20,000 

National Institute for Healthy Human Spaces is working with the Camden NAACP and Friends of Cooper River Open Space Equity Group to push officials to remediate and open up public spaces that have remained polluted for over 20 years. In Philadelphia, they are working with Native American House Alliance to build awareness of local historic sites and promote open space and land justice.  

Norris Square Community Alliance — $20,000 

Norris Square Community Alliance is promoting equitable development through their Nuestro Barrio Project, which organizes to secure public ownership of vacant lots that have been used as public spaces for years and to steward these spaces to meet the needs and wants of their community.  

One Art Community Center — $20,000 

One Art Community Center is increasing community land ownership, expanding accessibility, cultivating educational programming, creating coworking spaces, and building a community kitchen and a library.  

Philadelphia Black Pride — $20,000 

Philadelphia Black Pride is organizing to make William Way LGBT Community Center more equitable and welcoming to Black LGBTQIA people by hosting events, developing leaders from the Black LGBTQIA community, and increasing the number of Black LGBTQIA people accessing resources and services at William Way. 

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign — $20,000 

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is partnering with United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4889 to create a public “free store,” expand their community center hours, create a community farm, and build a labor history and activism library.  

Senior to Senior Community Outreach — $20,000 

Senior to Senior Community Outreach is expanding their campaign to address food insecurity in senior communities by developing a series of forums to discuss accessibility of public spaces such as community gardens and libraries for seniors. 

Spiral Q — $20,000 

Spiral Q is claiming public space using art activism in order to center and honor people working against oppression and discrimination and to connect people and movements for change. 

Urban Creators — $20,000 

Urban Creators is investing in amenities that enable their neighbors to use their 2-acre farm on their own time and terms and establishing a neighborhood marketplace that offers local businesses and entrepreneurs opportunities to generate revenue and develop their businesses.  

William Way LGBT Community Center — $20,000 

William Way LGBT Community Center is expanding their free and low-cost space-sharing program to specifically meet the needs of people of color, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people.


Interested in joining an upcoming Giving Project at Bread & Roses? Visit our Giving Project page to learn more.

$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.

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.

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.”

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.”