Making The Case For Equity And Grassroots Organizing: Funder Stories And Strategies To Build Institutional Commitment For Powerful Movements

Host Organization: Health and Environmental Funders Network


Philanthropy is abuzz right now about racial and gender equity and the grassroots. Some of this reflects deepening recognition of moral and political imperatives. For funders focused on issues like toxics, fracking, or drinking water, it also reflects experience seeing many groups of impacted people act as whistle-blowers, community scientists, powerful advocates, valued allies, and innovative problem-solvers. That experience aligns with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s reports of $1 invested in organizing and advocacy yielding $115 or more in societal benefits.

Amidst the buzz, we also see funders facing challenges in actually moving more money into impacted communities. Join us for a webinar on Oct. 23 (2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT) to learn from and talk with colleagues who’ve been building their chops at making those money-moving cases.

The webinar will feature participants in HEFN’s 2018 community of practice program on “Making the Case for Advancing Racial and Gender Equity and Grassroots Organizing” which worked closely with HEFN staff and expert coaches from the Justice Funders. The October 23 conversation will offer lessons about how varied funder decision-makers see the value of equity-advancing grants in the context of foundation goals. Presenters will share strategies they’ve used to navigate challenges in their own case-making, as well as reports on how this is playing out in their grantmaking.


  • Juliet Christian-Smith, Water Foundation
  • Kathryn Gilje, Ceres Trust
  • Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Justice Funders
  • Cynthia Renfro, BEA (Building Equity and Alignment for Impact) Fund
  • Kathy Sessions, HEFN

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