The best way to achieve social change as a funder is to center movements and their knowledge and visions. When we fund those most impacted by injustice, the solutions are more enduring and effective. But there are multiple and sometimes complex pathways we need to take in order to reach the moment where movement groups become grantees – and for Black feminist movements in Latin America and the Caribbean, many funders are at the beginning of their journeys. We hope the following recommendations help chart a course to reaching and funding these movements, while discovering new pathways along the way.
Provide flexible, long-term core support funding directly to Black women-led groups in the geographies where you work. Remember that Black women are doing critical work on all issues of interest to philanthropy, so whether you are funding feminist movements broadly or advancing an issue-based strategy, there is an entry point for you.
Resourcing is needed for Black feminist organizing at all levels, from grassroots collectives to cross-border networks, so Black feminists can strengthen their movements on their own terms. Specific funding priorities include Black feminist political education, knowledge production, political mobilization and advocacy, art and culture-building, care and protection, collective healing, and cross-border alliance-building across the region and the wider diaspora.
Create new and resource existing funding mechanisms dedicated to Black feminist organizing in Latin America and the Caribbean. We need a rich and abundant funding landscape that provides multiple pathways for resources to flow to Black feminist movements. There’s an especially acute need for funding that centers and shifts power to Black women’s leadership.
Develop systems for collecting and tracking disaggregated grantmaking data that count Black women as a unique population. Make your data public and accessible to both movements and funders to enable a comprehensive understanding of the needs and opportunities.
If you are funding gender or feminist movement work, review your grantmaking portfolio to assess the extent to which you are reaching Black women-led organizing and how your strategies take into account Black women’s needs, realities, and priorities. Ask your white-mestiza-led partners – including public foundations and women’s funds – how they are nurturing equitable relationships with Black women and providing them with direct support.
Engage in political education and find ways to build trust with Black feminist organizers in the regions. Seek ways to better understand the local contexts, cultural dynamics, and ancestral legacies that shape Black women’s lives and organizing. Explore the conceptual basis of Black decolonial feminist organizing.
Fund with care. Many Black women-led groups consider transforming the emotional and psychological impacts of racism integral to the liberation of their communities. Provide funding for care and protection, and collective healing. Aspire for your grantmaking processes to be accessible and supportive, rather than contributing to the burdens that Black women-led groups carry.
Commit to anti-racist study in your institution so you can identify and address the root causes of why your funding may not be reaching Black feminist movements. Address the racialized and gendered “trust gap” that contributes to bias against and the under-funding of Black feminist groups. Document and share your learning. Engage in advocacy with other funders and work to transform the philanthropic sector as well as your own institution.
Do this work in partnership. Partnering with other funders can help you think creatively to address shared barriers in your institutions and in the field, complement each others’ work, fill gaps in your knowledge, and connect with potential partners. FJS and Wellspring have found it so helpful to travel this journey together. We would love for you to join us in learning and resourcing this work.