Giving Compass' Take:

• Lateefah Simon and Timothy Silard share strategies for funding bold leaders in order to help them make an impact on their communities. 

• How can funders identify leaders that will benefit from support? What communities are in need of financial and other forms of support for their movements? 

• Learn about impactful social movements

Patrisse Cullors is creating a network of rapid responders, as an alternative to police, to support victims and survivors of state violence and mass criminalization. Raj Jayadev is helping individuals who face incarceration, their families, and their communities play an active role in their defense. Nicole Pittman is taking on the practice of placing children on sex offender registries.

These leaders are finding new ways to break down barriers to opportunity and justice at a time when people of color, immigrants, and other communities face a resurgent wave of hostility and violence, both in the United States and elsewhere. In this moment, we need more leaders who are not satisfied with anything less than obliterating the systems of oppression that harm communities of color and working people, and who are deeply embedded in the communities they serve. But to make headway against these challenges, these leaders need those of us in philanthropy to step up and completely rethink our approach to investing in social change.

What does it take for philanthropy to effectively support emerging leaders and their risky ideas? Our experience with the Leading Edge Fund—a three-year fellowship launched by the Rosenberg Foundation and the Hellman Foundation in 2016 to support cutting-edge, social change ideas—has underlined the importance of four funding practices. While these practices aren’t particularly new, we believe our experiences over the past three years can offer some fresh examples of and new perspectives on how to apply them.

  1. Give Leaders Space and Opportunity to Think—and Act—Big
  2. Give Leaders Time to Try and Fail
  3. Support the Leader, Not Just the Organization
  4. Remember That Movements Thrive on Connections

Read the full article about funding bold leaders by Lateefah Simon and Timothy Silard at Stanford Social Innovation Review.