How much is Ford commiting to racial justice advocacy work?
The Ford Foundation is committing at least $180 million from the proceeds of our historic social bond sale for racial justice advocacy in the United States. This doubles our annual commitment to this work to more than $330 million over 2020 and 2021.
Why is Ford doubling its funding for racial justice advocacy?
We believe we are at a critical time for change. The country is engaged in a historic and long-needed reckoning over racism and injustice. We hope this funding will provide the resources that frontline advocacy organizations and movements need to be strong and resilient in the days and months ahead, particularly as we face what may be a severe economic downturn. We also hope this infusion of funds can help spark big, transformative ideas to influence change.
How does Ford define racial justice advocacy?
Ford’s commitment to racial justice cuts across all of our program areas: voting rights and civic engagement; worker rights; immigration; criminal justice; gender and reproductive justice; the role of technology in society; and local governance. These new grants are meant specifically to advance advocacy work and grassroots organizers across issues and communities. We believe that creating structural, systemic change requires many different types of advocacy strategies, and so we are supporting organizations focused on approaches such as strategic litigation; policy advocacy; research; and communications.
What kinds of organizations will be receiving these funds?
We will make grants to longtime grantees of the Ford Foundation, as well as new organizations we have not previously funded. Grantees include organizations that have an established record of advancing change, like the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. We are also supporting new movements, and specifically devoting $125 million to support a new generation of Black-led organizing. All of our grants will be publicly listed on our website.
Why is it important to support Black-led organizing?
Even before the pandemic, the average unrestricted net assets of Black-led organizations were 76% smaller than the assets of their white-led counterparts. This moment of racial reckoning highlights the ways grassroots organizing and large-scale social movements not only illuminate systemic problems, but also widen the scope of what is necessary and possible. Yet, only 5 percent of racial equity funding is specifically focused on grassroots organizing and movement-building. By investing in this new movement of grassroots organizations, we hope to encourage other funders to support a dynamic and powerful constellation of emerging leaders who see constituent organizing and civic engagement as an essential path toward greater well-being for Black communities.
When will grantees start receiving funds?
Many grantees will start receiving these new funds over the next several weeks and new grants will follow in the coming months.
Are grants tied to specific activity, or general support?
These grants are for general operating support to give organizations the flexibility to respond to new and urgent challenges.