Dear Movement Leaders,
In at least 140 cities in the U.S., and around the world, we are witnessing an uprising for freedom. An uprising against deeply rooted anti-Blackness, and for Black liberation. An uprising that calls for justice and accountability in the murders for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless other victims of police brutality and state violence.
Across the country, courageous movement leaders like you are tirelessly organizing for racial, economic and social justice in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, the global rise of white supremacy and authoritarianism, and the continued and destructive impact of systemic racism. As a community of donors and donor organizers, we are writing today to say we see you, we thank you, we love you—and we are with you.
We are with you as you organize against systemic police violence that ties directly to a system of mass incarceration. We are with you as you not only march and protest in the streets, but also advocate in the corridors of power to transform racial capitalism. We are with you as you push the levers of media and culture to wake up people who are living in denial about the injustice that pervades every structure propping up this country.
At Solidaire, we are proud to be in community with you, our movement partners. We believe that supporting Black-led social change is key to transforming systemic inequality. We understand that social change led by Black people advances racial and social justice for all people. The struggle for civil rights resulted in advancements for women, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ folks, immigrants and workers of all colors. We affirm that Black-led social change forges alliances that propel broad and deep societal transformation.
But we also know that less than two percent of funding by the nation’s largest foundations is specifically allocated to the Black community—even less to Black-led movement building—and that in itself is an injustice.
Even now, we are hearing stories about funders and donors scaling back some of their investments and partnerships—or weighing plans to do so. With recent stock market declines and the economy in a freefall, donors are expressing a wariness about their giving. With love and respect to our colleagues, we say that this is the moment to give more—not less. Withdrawing in any way right now from the struggle for justice is antithetical to everything Solidaire believes about how philanthropy should respond to times of crises—not by hoarding and protecting wealth but by responding with care and abundance to movement needs and demands.
In this time of uncertainty and unrest, Solidaire and our members want you to know that we remain more committed than ever to supporting your work. Solidaire network has recently directed funding to the frontlines in Minneapolis and Louisville to bail funds, legal support, digital security as well as to ongoing grassroots organizing. We are participating in the Movement for Black Lives’ Week of Action In Defense of Black Lives all week long as well as committing long-term funding for M4BL’s work to build movement infrastructure. We are lifting up community funds and local intermediaries like the Transformation Fund involved in mutual aid, recovery and reimagination efforts in response to the multiple threats of pandemic, vigilante violence and state repression. Our members are educating themselves and organizing their friends and families to give rapidly and without reservation to your brilliant and necessary work.
We also want to send a strong and clear message that long-term and consistent support to Black-led organizations and movements means that we repair the past and ongoing harms of society’s and philanthropy’s disinvestment from Black communities. Philanthropy’s support for justice cannot waver with the performance of the stock market or the economy. Philanthropy must answer the call to support Black communities, incur risks and make sacrifices to ensure that all Black lives matter. This is a time to hold firm against actions and decisions that will reduce our investments and our impact.
We know this moment has exposed for all to see how the United States remains a fundamentally unjust society for Black, Indigenous and Immigrant communities, built on white supremacist ideologies that insidiously affect all aspects of our lives. This Movement Moment is a wake-up call for all of us—and especially for those whose philanthropy is focused in any way on advancing social and racial justice.
We want to do everything we can to demonstrate our solidarity with you as you stand up powerfully to the challenges of this trying time—and we urge our colleagues in giving to do the same. Philanthropy must follow your example and bolster your resolve with the resources you need to win. The time is now to embrace, not in words but through our actions, your calls for the transformation that are essential for our collective liberation.
Thank you for leading the way. We humbly follow.
On behalf of Solidaire