Bread & Roses Community Fund puts grantmaking in the hands of activists - Generocity Philly


Dec. 17, 2015 8:00 am

Bread & Roses Community Fund puts grantmaking in the hands of activists

The public foundation’s new grantmaking model, Giving Projects, trains socially minded community members to make educated funding decisions.

Young activists.

(Courtesy photo)

Most foundations have a top-down approach to funding — foundation execs are the ones making the final call on who gets the money.

That method doesn’t make much sense for Bread & Roses Community Fund, which funds grassroots social justice projects by pooling individual donations.

Instead, the Fund is putting the power of grant distribution into the hands of the community through a new grantmaking model called Giving Projects, which trains socially minded community members to raise and distribute money for its Racial and Economic Justice Fund and Future Fund.

“We are putting together a cross-class, cross-race, intergenerational group of folks,” said Bread & Roses Director of Programs Aarati Kasturirangan. “We’re looking for people who are committed to community organizing for social justice, [who] believe that is the strong approach to making change around racial and economic justice and who have an interest in supporting those movements.

“Outside of that, we’re looking for people that want to engage in some really intense work around race and class.”

Once the group is selected by Jan. 23, its members will take part in monthly trainings that will typically take place over the course of a day. The first training will be a race-class workshop in February.

At this training, members will have the opportunity to “do some deep reflection on how our ideas of race and class have been shaped from a young age and how that reflects the way we think about fundraising and the way we think about giving money as a receiver and a donor,” Kasturirangan explained.

There will then be a fundraising training day in March and a grantmaking training day in April. Decisions for grant recipients will take place in May.

In addition to selecting grant recipients, committee members will also be required to fundraise for the grants within their respective networks. Of the money raised, 15 percent will go toward funding the operational costs of the Giving Project and 85 percent will go to grantmaking.

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The idea came from similar work being done by one of Bread and Roses sister funds in Seattle, Social Justice Fund Northwest.

“The reason we’re excited about this model is that in Seattle they’re making close to $1 million in grants a year which is a huge leap from where they were, and it’s a great goal for us,” Kasturirangan said. “Last year we had $65,000 and what we’re hearing from our sister funds is that they’re doubling their grantmaking.”

Bread & Roses is enacting this grantmaking model in partnership with the Philadelphia chapter of Resource Generation, a national organization that brings young people with wealth together to create social change.

Those interested in participating in Giving Projects can email or call 215-731-1107.

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