New funder collaborative commits $36 million to Black movement leaders

New funder collaborative commits $36 million to Black movement leaders

The San Francisco-based Libra Foundation has announced the launch of a funder collaborative aimed at supporting frontline Black activists working to end systemic racism.

Backed by twelve grantmakers, including Libra and the Kataly, MacArthurHewlettJPBSchmidt FamilySomelandCrankstart, Kelson & Loud Hound, and Wend foundations; Sobrato Philanthropies; and Tao Rising LLC, the Democracy Frontlines Fund will direct at least $36 million over the next three years to Black-led organizers "fighting for free and fair elections and working to defund prisons and police." The collaborative has already awarded grants to ten nonprofits identified and vetted by a "brain trust" of movement leaders, including Solidaire Network executive director Rajasvini Bhansali, Groundswell founder and executive director Vanessa Daniel, and Ms. Foundation for Women president and CEO Teresa C. Younger. 

Organizations receiving grants include Blackbird, the Black Futures Lab, the Black LGBTQIA + Migrant Project, the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building InstituteBlack Youth Project 100, the Communities Transforming Policing Fund, the Movement for Black Lives, the National Black Food & Justice Alliance, the Southern Power Fund, and State Voices. The fund also will create a learning community designed to help foundation leaders deepen their understanding of racial justice grantmaking and build authentic relationships with grantees.

"Our goal is to move from transactional to transformational philanthropy," said Libra Foundation executive director Crystal Hayling. "That means listening and being guided by a different type of expertise than the think tanks and consultants that usually frame foundation strategy."

"This is a gamechanger," said LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. "Multiyear support gives us room to plan for our long-term growth, and we can build real relationships with foundations we wouldn’t otherwise have known." 

(Photo credit: Chad Davis via Democracy Frontlines Fund)