Giving in Community

Community is a central aspect of Solidaire. We seek to build deep, non-transactional relationships with each other and with the movements we support. Solidaire members are able to participate in our community events around the country, including an annual summer conference, membership dinners throughout the year, and movement salons on various issues and strategies.

Our Theory of Change

Social change requires an ecosystem of interlocking pieces which together transform culture, economic structures, and political systems. In our work at Solidaire we have identified three key elements of focus:

1. Creative Disruption
Social movements disrupt the status quo. Often, this makes them unattractive to funders because this disruption is unseemly or uncomfortable for those with power.  But we believe that when facing the deepest, most entrenched social problems, it is necessary to put a wrench in the gears and bring the machine to a halt.  This creates an opening for a national conversation, and ultimately has the effect of changes social narratives and stories.  At times, this is done beautifully and creatively, in ways that redefine the boundaries of us and them, and turn a social injustice into a moral invitation.

2. Organized Communities
Movements require communities organized around a defined purpose to sustain the energy of dynamic moments, turning that energy into power. Organized communities are the lifeblood of social change: they have the opportunity to reflect, strategize, and plan towards a visionary alternative and a shared solution. Organization transforms anger and hope into tangible outcomes.

3. Political Power
Disruption and organization become transformative when they are capable of amassing political power. Commonly, policy change is mistaken as the first, rather than the last, step in creating change and people seek shortcuts in its pursuit. In fact, viewed correctly, policy change is the outcome of deep organizing and political power-building among those who represent a new paradigm. Movements succeed when legal/political change and social/cultural change begin moving hand in hand to reconstruct a societal context.

Our Funding Models

As a community, we also give together. The shifting of paradigms requires bold thinking; thus we take pride in supporting efforts that fall outside the parameters of more traditional funding streams. We engage in three kinds of giving, each of which relates to a different element or stage of a social movement’s development:

Rapid Response

for Movement Moments

Rapid Response funding is our most nimble way to fund opportunities that might otherwise not have access to resources because they are too new, too small, or too urgent. Sometimes these are crises or uprisings; at other times, they are creative ideas.

Pooled Fund

for Movement R&D

Our Pooled Giving process is one of the ways we take collective action as a community. Through this fund, we support “Movement R&D”: the upstart, innovative experiments in movement-building. Breakthroughs emerge when there is space to be creative and try new things, and thus, by pooling our resources, we provide risk capital for leaders on the ground, striving to create social change.

Aligned Giving

for Movement Infrastructure

At Solidaire, we create Aligned Giving Strategies, to coordinate our impact.  Our first Aligned Giving Strategy is focused on moving  long-term financial resources to support the Movement for Black Lives. Over the next five years, we pledge to work in partnership with the movement to ensure that Black-led organizations working to build power in their communities have the financial resources they need to address the deep structures of racism and discrimination that persist in American society, as they fight for justice and dignity for all.

What We Support

In everything we do, we week to support organizations that are:

  • Collaborative and have an intersectional analysis on the relationship between economics, racism, climate, gender and sexual orientation.
  • Working for systemic change through an understanding of the deep causes of social symptoms.
  • Building power in communities and using that power to create change.

More specifically, we understand movement organizations to be those who engage in a variety of activities, including:

  • Organizing and Base-building
  • Direct Action and Protest
  • Leadership Development
  • Training and Capacity Building
  • Alliance Building and Convenings

Our goal is to direct more resources to these organizations, understanding that social change requires a complex interplay of forces, including policy change, the transformation of ideas, and the cultivation of popular power.

Our Annual Reports

2015
Movements rising: 
a year of vision and action
2014
Moments to movements