Groundswell Announces Fund to Support Grassroots Organizing led by Women of Color and Transgender People of Color

Women of Color and Transgender People of Color

New “Liberation Fund” Aims to Ensure Reproductive & Gender Justice by Supporting Women of Color and Transgender People of Color to Build Grassroots Power

OAKLAND, Calif.—In the wake of a game-changing election, Groundswell Fund, the largest funder of the U.S. Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement announced today the launch of a new national “Liberation Fund” to support the strongest grassroots organizing efforts led by women of color and transgender people of color across social justice sectors.

Groundswell’s leadership believes that strong grassroots organizing that holds public officials accountable in their home districts is critical to protecting and advancing rights; and that, in the era of Trump, the two groups that bear the greatest burden of white supremacy and misogyny in the US – women of color and transgender people of color–have a vital leadership role to play in the larger resistance movement.

The fund will launch with an initial $500,000 dollars, and its first set of grantees will be curated by 15 advisors, prominent women of color leading in a variety of sectors–from environmental, racial and economic justice, to immigrant, Native and transgender rights. The fund is now accepting donations.

Fund Advisor Linda Sarsour, CEO of MPower Change says, “Millions of Americans are hungry for leadership that ignites our political imagination and offers clear, concrete pathways forward. Women of color and LGBTQ people of color led organizations are doing just that, energizing newly-engaged people to drive a sea change for greater freedom and justice. Now is the time for funders and donors to meet that level of boldness in their giving strategies.”

Adds advisor Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, “The Liberation Fund will make it easier for donors and funders to identify and resource some of the most effective and innovative organizing at the grassroots led by women of color and transgender people of color. To elevate women of color and trans people of color at a time when our communities are under extreme duress is not only smart, but essential for our survival. There’s never been a better time for donors and funders to put their money directly where change is happening.”

The Liberation Fund’s expansive approach advances Groundswell’s mission of reproductive justice — ensuring we all have the power to make decisions about our bodies, families and futures.

“The greatest force in any fight against fascism is solidarity,” says Groundswell Fund Executive Director Vanessa Daniel. “The Trump Administration is trying to divide us. If there is one thing that grassroots organizing efforts run by women of color and trans people of color understand better than anyone else, it’s that, as Audre Lorde once said, none of us live single-issue lives. Our fates are intertwined. If we can’t ensure our children aren’t deported, shot by the police, or poisoned by polluted drinking water—we don’t have true reproductive justice or freedom. If we can’t stand together to defend those under greatest attack, then we will lack the backbone to protect anyone. Women of color and transgender people of color are shining the light on the path of solidarity that the larger progressive movement must travel in order to win. We must invest in their leadership. The Liberation Fund is dedicated to doing just that.”

The first “Liberation Fund” grants will be awarded in the summer of 2017 at the recommendation of the Fund’s advisors (full list and quotes below).

Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance & Black Lives Matter

Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Bamby Salcedo, The TransLatin@ Coalition

Charlene Sinclair, Center for Community Change

Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Chrissie Castro, Native Voice Network

Denise Perry, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD)

Elle Hearns, Marsha P. Johnson Institute

Isa Noyola, Transgender Law Center

Linda Sarsour, Mpower Change

Mary Hooks, Southerners On New Ground

Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Sarita Gupta, Jobs With Justice

Saru Jayaraman, Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC) United

“At a time when trans women of color experience and face disproportionate amounts of violence at the hands of the state and society, it is so critical for movements and resources to amplify the voices of TWOC leaders and community based organizations that are empowering our most vulnerable. This fund is a show of support and signal to the movement that we must do better to protect, defend, and uplift TWOC-led work!” —Isa Noyola, Director of Programs at the Transgender Law Center

“We need game-changing funding strategies to meet the political moment we are in, while preparing and sustaining our leadership for the long haul. This fund allows us to scale up the work and magic Black women have been creating for decades across sectors, often times on shoestring budgets. What becomes possible for the next generation of Marsha P.s, Fannie Lous, Shirley Chisholms or Grace Lee Boggs, when we have the resources to support our work and vision, becomes a gift to the world. We all are made more whole when the work of Black women including trans Black women is invested in.” —Mary Hooks, Co-Director of Southerners On New Ground

Groundswell supports a stronger, more effective U.S. movement for reproductive justice by mobilizing new funding and capacity building resources to grassroots organizing and policy change efforts led to empower low income women, women of color and transgender people. Groundswell Fund is a public foundation, meaning it is powered by donations rather than by endowment.

To find out more, please visit Groundswell.

[From a News Release]

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