(Photo by Joe Piette)
Independence Public Media Foundation isn’t very old, but it’s already made a huge mark in the Philadelphia nonprofit landscape.
Since its first funding cycle, the Foundation has made $13 million in grants that “support media and media making that creates and holds space for communities fighting for change and justice,” according to the organization’s website.
And now, IPMF has created a $750,000 Community Voices Fund to speed the work by “lifting up the stories and lived experiences of Black and Brown people across the region.”
“This fund is our response to COVID-19 exacerbation of persistent racial and social inequity,” Nuala Cabral, IPMF’s program officer, told Generocity. “We planned to launch the fund in early June, the events we’ve been experiencing [in the past weeks] happened to coincide with the Fund announcement.”
In order to elevate community voices, the fund will consider applications for projects that meet some very specific criteria:
- Compensate community members directly for their stories and contributions
- Amplify the stories and needs of vulnerable communities
- Seek to build lasting community connections through media and media making
- Celebrate community history and preserve community memory
- Address systemic inequality
- Feature collaboration between multiple partners
The grant awards fall into three ranges: $5,000 to $20,000 for new or small-scale projects; $20,000 to $50,000 for larger scale projects or collaborations; and $50,000 to $100,000 in operational support for the expansion of established projects and programs, and are reviewed weekly.
IPMF — whose president, Molly de Aguiar, been vocal about the need for philanthropy to provide more capital to small, community-led nonprofits — has stated on the fund’s information page that it will “give preference to organizations with annual operating budgets under $1 million and those which are led by people of color.” Additionally, the application itself is relatively uncomplicated, to reflect the fact that many small, community organizations do not have staff members dedicated solely to grantswriting.
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The whole process highlights the kind of storytelling that illuminates the ways the coronavirus pandemic has heightened the structural racism and inequities in the city and offers community-led, authentic solutions.
“The ideal outcome [for IPMF] would be to support the voices and stories of marginalized communities in Philadelphia who often go unheard in mainstream media. Poor people, Black and brown people, trans/NGC people, youth, undocumented people, etc.,” Cabral said.
“Our hope is that the amplification of their voices and stories will help shape the needed recovery and healing efforts of our city.”-30-
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