Lessons Learned from the Janisha R. Gabriel Movement Protection Fund
Solidaire launched the Janisha R. Gabriel Movement Protection Fund in September 2020 in direct response to our movement partners telling us about the urgent and immediate needs of movement leaders who were facing heightened risks, threats of violence and increased dangers due to the U.S. political climate in 2020.
We recognized that the movements in defense of Black lives were particular targets of increased state repression, vigilante violence and cyberattacks, and that trusted providers of security, legal and protection services should also be bolstered during this period.
Solidaire committed $1m to this fund as part of immediate needs from our Black Liberation Pooled Fund to ensure that the leaders and organizers associated with social movements fighting for collective liberation have the resources they need immediately for personal security and protection.
The criteria for the Movement Protection Fund were:
• Furtherance of Solidaire’s charitable purposes of serving and protecting social movements and their leaders.
• Funds to be utilized within the next 1-3 months towards the infrastructure and security support needs of movement organizations and their leaders.
• Funds to be utilized especially by movement leaders and organizations within the movement ecosystem targeted by threats and acts of violence and intimidation.
A committee of both staff and Solidaire members reviewed each application. Due diligence was conducted by Solidaire and, on average, decisions were made within 48 hours. Resources then moved within 7.5 days from initial submission to payments posting.
As of the closing of the fund, over $2.2M in urgent protection funding was moved to 44 organizations, collectives and individuals working in movements for liberation. The average grant size was approximately $53,000 with grants ranging from $2,000 – $150,000.
Top Areas Funded:
• Digital security
• Physical security
• Legal support
Support in the above-named areas went toward both supporting individuals, organizations and collectives in need of these security measures as well as funding the capacity builders and organizations that provide these services.
Top Organizing Issues Funded:
• Uprising for racial justice
• Voter suppression and get out the vote campaigns
Of the 44 grants moved, 19 are new partnerships with Solidaire Network, defined based on applicants self-reporting whether they had any relationship with staff, board members, movement partners or donor members of Solidaire.
• The scale and need for movement safety and security is immense, way beyond Solidaire’s capacity to meet alone.
• Movements are in need of stronger, values-aligned safety and security infrastructures in order to do their work and keep themselves safe from threats and acts of violence from the state, non-state actors and from white supremacists.
• We must embody trust-based philanthropic practices in order to keep our people safe and to win. Doing so is what enabled Solidaire to move these resources to the ground quickly.
• Digital and physical security are critical to movements. Investing in long-term movement infrastructure builds a stronger and more nimble ecosystem ready to respond and able to be in a proactive stance.
• Movements have the vision for and models needed to build a vibrant and abundant ecosystem–what they are lacking is the resources to put their plans in place.
• Requests that did not meet the fund’s criteria amplified the ways in which racialized capitalism deepens social inequities. Applications to support mutual aid efforts, housing, food and educational needs of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities brought to focus the failure of government and public infrastructure in ensuring that fundamental human rights are met for our people.
• Check-ins with movement partners from this fund to begin in January 2021
• Solidaire staff will engage in sensemaking and take the learnings from the Movement Protection Fund to:
– Inform upcoming Solidaire pooled grantmaking vehicles
– Mobilize philanthropy to fund movement infrastructure and capacity building needs
Should you wish to learn more, please contact Jesenia Santana, Senior Resource Strategist, at [email protected] after January 4, 2021. Please note Solidaire Network is closed between December 19, 2020 to January 4, 2021.