Giving Compass' Take:

• Elyse Gordon discusses the three core pillars of the social justice grantmaking model and recommends giving projects as a vehicle. 

• What social justice grantmaking methods could you employ? Who can you partner with to advance social justice efforts? 

• Read more about social justice philanthropy.

We are living through an era of extreme wealth inequality, of increased violence towards Black, brown, Muslim, Jewish, queer, and trans people. Our climate is in crisis, and philanthropy is often just a drop in the bucket towards lasting systemic change. In light of this reality, more and more funders are asking themselves, “How do we make a real impact in this world?” “What new questions do we need to be asking?”

Increasingly, funders who consider themselves “progressive” are leaning into social justice frameworks in their grantmaking. But what does that mean, and how can foundations adopt social justice philanthropy practices more intentionally?

Some public foundations have gone a step further, implementing the Giving Project model to bring social justice organizing principles to every facet of their organization and their grantmaking.[1] Started by the Social Justice Fund NW in Seattle, Wash., Giving Projects have been recently highlighted by Inside Philanthropy. The six-month group process organizes a multi-racial and cross-class group of individual donors who do much more than grant reviews. They question personal experiences of race and class privilege and oppression, they fundraise in their communities, and they democratically decide how their funds are distributed, always to organizations organizing communities to address the root causes of issues.

Yet there are three core practices within the Giving Project approach to social justice philanthropy that private or community foundations should consider. These core practices can maximize impact and make philanthropy that much more effectively supports long-term social change.

  1. From uncritical giving to organizations, to prioritizing grassroots organizations
  2.  From wealth-driven philanthropists to class-aware philanthropy
  3. From community grant review to democratic grantmaking

Read the full article about social justice grantmaking by Elyse Gordon at PEAK Insight Journal.