Reproductive freedom in the United States is under attack like never before. No group will be more acutely impacted than women of color*, and nowhere will the odds of defeating these attacks be better than at state and local levels. At this critical juncture in the history of the United States, we, the undersigned reproductive health, rights, and justice funders and donors, urge the philanthropic sector to increase funding to organizations led by people of color, particularly those working at the state and local level. We affirm this not only because people of color are at greatest risk in a political environment of intensifying xenophobia and white supremacy, but also because people of color-led organizations working to advance racial justice offer at this pivotal moment, as they have throughout the history of this country, some of the boldest strategies and clearest leadership towards dismantling these same forces.
We affirm that solidarity among those who are working for justice is the most powerful tool in the fight against hate. This solidarity crosses issues and demographic groups and begins by standing shoulder to shoulder with the most vulnerable communities to proclaim to the forces of injustice, in both word and deed, “If you come for them, you must first come through all of us.” Solidarity is the surest path to advancing reproductive justice as well as a free and just nation, and world.
We believe it will take all of us, working together in a multiracial movement, to win reproductive justice. To this end we commit to funding efforts that live into this practice of solidarity. We will more keenly assess the approach of all of our grantees, including white-led organizations or projects, to hear not just from them but from respected people of color-led efforts with whom they work, how they are showing up in solidarity.
We recognize that national organizations play important roles in our movements and are deserving of support. At the same time we acknowledge that the main levers for protecting communities from attacks and advancing gains are at the state and local levels and maintaining and increasing support for state and local efforts – particularly for long-term grassroots organizing efforts that are engaging public officials in their home districts -–is absolutely critical.
We affirm the following practices and pledge to take on some, or all, of them ourselves:
We are united by a strong belief in this approach. Will you stand with us? We welcome all philanthropic colleagues to join us on the path ahead.
*For the purposes of this letter, the term “women of color” is inclusive of transgender women of color. Women of color-led organizations are defined as: organizations with a majority women of color board, staff and volunteers in leadership positions.
Ms. Foundation for Women
Linked Fate Fund
The Women Donors Network Reproductive
General Service Foundation
Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
Funders Network on Population, Reproductive
Health and Rights
Urgent Action Fund
Third Wave Fund
Chicago Foundation for Women
The New York Women’s Foundation
Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples
Women’s Foundation of California
Hildy Karp, Donor Advisor
Andrea Lynch, Philanthropic Consultant
Nancy Meyer, Donor
Amanda Coslor, Donor
Ellen Solms, Donor
Joanna Lauen, Philanthropic Professional
Becky Liebman, Donor
Susan Dickler, Board Chair, Ms. Foundation; Donor Advisor, The Oma Fund