Remaining Steadfast in Our Support of Movements
4 April 2022
Dear FJS community,
These are difficult times. Not only are we dealing with the prolonged duration and impacts of the pandemic, but some days it feels like our world is truly buckling under the pressure of multiple occupations, wars, state-sponsored violence, structural racism, religious conservatism, authoritarianism, and environmental degradation. We see this play out in places like Myanmar, Burkina Faso, the US, Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. While there’s no shortage of reasons to despair, it’s important to remember that times of unrest and uncertainty can also be key moments for breakthroughs and transformation.
In these volatile times, it’s more important than ever for funders to stand arm in arm with movements and remain steadfast in our commitment to support them. In the last year, we have supported our grantee partners to persevere through unimaginable challenges and we have been moved by their relentless work, in concert with global progressive movements, to push for the transformative change that is possible at inflection points like this one; moments where the challenges our movements are facing have exposed vulnerable cracks in oppressive structures like fascism, racism, sexism, casteism, ableism, and transphobia.
We are committed to standing by our grantee partners and their movements through these trying times. We will continue to support organizations we believe to be uniquely positioned to create lasting and meaningful change. We will continue to prioritize multi-year, general operating support to ensure that organizations can be resilient and flexible in ever-changing circumstances. We will continue to ask about, and prioritize, the safety and well-being of the individuals and organizations carrying out this vital work. We encourage our fellow funders to join us in providing stability and staying curious about how we can best show up for our grantee partners at this time.
Nicky McIntyre, CEO
2021 Grantmaking in Review
In 2021, we provided grants totaling $53.2 million to 225 grantee partners working across our focus regions – Francophone West Africa, Global, Mesoamerica, New York City, South and Southeast Asia, and US Southeast – to advance the rights of women, girls, and LGBTQI people. This includes more than $4.8 million to support strategic communications and journalism seeking to bolster the narratives that reinforce and build support for feminist movements and more than $2.8 million in accompaniment grants focused on organizational strengthening efforts for current grantee partners. You can find some of our grantee partners highlighted below.
Grantee Partner Highlights
Francophone West Africa
Feminist Africa, an open access gender studies journal produced by a community of feminist scholars and activists from across the African continent, seeks to bridge the gaps between activism and scholarship and between Africa’s linguistic divides. The journal convenes spaces for scholars and activists across the region to tackle political questions about topics such as language, power, belonging, and movement building. We are excited to bring Feminist Africa into FJS’s Francophone West Africa portfolio as their work aligns with feminist movements across the continent and is in line with our priority of investing in groups that are using strategic communications to advance the rights of women, girls, and LGBTQI people in the region.
South and Southeast Asia
Badabon Sangho is a rural fisherwomen-led women’s rights network in the southern forest region of Bangladesh that seeks to advance the rights of women and girls from historically marginalized communities by supporting rural women organizing for their rights through a focus on land and water rights, climate justice, and the right to sustainable and ancestral forms of livelihood. Badabon Sangho has taken an important leadership role in the national women’s movement in Bangladesh. They’ve brought together women’s rights groups across the country to form the Women’s Land Rights Network, which focuses on establishing equal inheritance property rights for women.
Grantmakers for Girls of Color’s Black Girl Freedom Fund seeks to resource youth organizing led by Black girls, trans and non-binary youth with $1 billion over the next 10 years. The Fund will use a participatory grantmaking model with final decisions made by a Youth Grantmaking Council composed of eight Black girls, trans and non-binary youth between the ages of 13-18 years old. This grantmaking model both shifts decision-making power to those most impacted by racial and gender injustice and builds their leadership in ways that are consistent with FJS’s feminist values and commitment to collective care and healing. FJS sees supporting the Fund as a way to resource the next generation of young feminist leaders organizing across movements in the US South, particularly Black girls, trans and non-binary youth who are impacted by a multitude of intersecting oppressions and whose resiliency and contributions to movements are too often dismissed.
Red Feminista Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Acompañantes de Aborto is a young women-led network of twenty-three feminist collectives, organizations, and national networks across seventeen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that provide abortion resources and access to women, adolescent girls, and non-binary and trans people. Red Compañera aims to build the capacity of its members to provide safe, rapid, and free abortions and to advocate for the complete decriminalization of abortion in the region. Red Compañera, with its young feminist leadership and perspective, is one of a vibrant group of FJS’s grantee partners working on abortion rights and access in Mesoamerica. As restrictions on sexual and reproductive rights continue to increase across the region, these organizations are learning from abortion rights wins in places like Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia.
Numun Fund is a Global South-led feminist technology initiative that supports groups led by women, non-binary, and trans people using technology to advance feminist organizing. The Fund envisions a digital infrastructure that is anti-racist, inclusive, and protective of privacy, human dignity, and safety – all things that enable social movements to safely and securely organize and connect. FJS supports the Fund because it provides grants to grassroots organizations that national and regional funders don’t reach and is focused on strengthening the tech ecosystem to promote progressive communications globally, counter negative narratives about women and LBTQI+ communities, and support the digital infrastructure of the feminist movement.
What’s On Our Minds
Leaders within FJS have been grappling with big picture questions about how philanthropy should show up at this moment. Check out a few articles that FJS staff have authored recently:
What would the world look like if we trusted the power and vision of young feminists? - Purity Kagwiria and Juliana Vélez Uribe, Program Officer, Global
It’s Time for Funders to Debrahminize Philanthropy - Prachi Patankar, Senior Program Officer, South and Southeast Asia
Why we must overhaul the funding of social movements - Tatiana Cordero Velásquez* and mónica enríquez-enríquez, Senior Program Officer, Mesoamerica
*This article was published on January 15, 2021. Tatiana Cordero Velásquez, the longtime director of Urgent Action Fund Latin America, has since passed away. We greatly appreciate the profound way in which she influenced our field in how we think about care and protection and we celebrate her life and her contributions to the feminist movements we support. We are sharing her words in honor of her legacy.
As our grantmaking has grown, so has our team. Since January 2020, we’ve brought on seven new staff. We’re delighted to introduce you to our brilliant colleagues on the grants management, HR, communications, IT, and program teams.