More About Funders for a Just Economy

Discount Foundation Legacy Award

Funders for a Just Economy Programming

FJE and Economic Opportunity Funders (formerly GIST) joint Budget and Policy Briefing - 2019

2019 Budget and Policy Briefing
February 21-22, 2019 | Washington, DC

FJE and Economic Opportunity Funders (EOF) are joining together to hold a combined 2019 Budget and Policy Briefing as a way to streamline programming, highlight intersections, eliminate duplication, reduce travel burdens on membership, and economize on meeting expenditures.

This two-day meeting will focus on federal and state budget and tax policy, work and job quality issues, and organizing and power building strategies. Sessions will explore how the current policy landscape will impact struggling families, workers and communities and the role funders play in building an economy that works for all.

More details at EOF's site coming soon!

Future of Work Series

FJE is hosting a series of funder conversations about the Future of Work for those interested in emerging policies and campaign strategies to protect workers by addressing the changing nature of work, the influence of automation and technology, and the shifts within various job sectors. Learn from thought leaders about how they are addressing these issues and how funders can support their efforts. 

Next Call: TBA


Funder Meeting - Funding Corporate Facing Campaigns

Historically, philanthropy as a sector has focused on resourcing advocacy efforts that move the public sector to change policy and regulate industry. However, as more corporations have taken over power and garnered more influence on the political landscape we are forced to ask ourselves: how can philanthropy shift its strategies to influence corporate practices? How do we fund efforts pushing for policy shifts within corporations? And, what is philanthropy’s role in shifting corporate practices, considering the relationships we may have with corporate philanthropy?

Join the Funders for a Just Economy to discuss of the challenges and opportunities of funding corporate facing campaigns on Wednesday, 10/10/18 from 12:30-2:30pm at the Open Society Foundations’ office in New York City with guest Andrea Dehlendorf of Organization United for Respect.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 | 12:30-2:30pm ET | Open Society Foundations, NYC 

FJE Meeting - The Economy & Contesting for Power

Partnering with Dr. Manuel Pastor of University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), FJE is hosting an invitation-only conversation to develop a shared analysis of the major shifts in the economy and to create a vision for shaping a just economy for all. We aim to utilize this vision to understand how we can better resource communities contesting for power and build long-term campaigns that move progressive economic policies and build the power of communities such as low-wage workers, people of color, immigrants, women and people who identify as LGBTQ+.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 | 11am-5pm | Open Society Foundations, New York City

In particular, Dr. Pastor will help us analyze the conservative forces in the economy that will impact these communities and explore the political landscape following the rollbacks of labor, health and safety protections, the various changes in how workers are working and will work. Lastly, using this information and PERE's Changing States framework, our goal is to come out of the meeting with a shared analysis and agenda for FJE members to help develop our objectives and program strategies for future learning and potential work together.

Funder Call on Forced Arbitration

FJE Funder Call on Forced Arbitration
Friday, June 1st, 2018 | 9:30am PT/ 11:30am CT/ 12:30pm ET, 60 minutes

On Monday May 21st, the Supreme Court made a 5-4 decision in the Murphy Oil vs. NLRB case, allowing corporations to include arbitration clauses in employee contracts that effectively force employees to settle any disputes through arbitration. The decision on this case delivers a major blow to workers’ ability to deal with any workplace violations with their employer. FJE discussed this case, along with several other upcoming labor issues, during this year’s Policy Briefing & Labor Strategy Session in March. Join us to continue this conversation, learn about the implications of the case, and hear directly from attorneys working on the issue alongside community partners.

- Rachel Deutsch, Center for Popular Democracy
- Myriam Gilles, Cardozo School of Law
- Ceilidh Gao, National Employment Law Project
- Bob Shull, Public Welfare Foundation

Join the Funders for a Just Economy at the NFG Conference!


WEBINAR: Grant-making with an Intersectional Lens - May 24, 2018


The current economic system and laws were not designed for Black people, indigenous peoples, people of color, women, people who identify as LGBTQI, and migrants to thrive. As we consider the implications of this economic system, and philanthropy as a sector within that system, what will it take to truly integrate a historical and intersectional analysis in our grant-making of the economic policies that have led to systemic poverty, structural racism, and patriarchy in order to resource the movement to shift power and seed change?

Over the last few years, the Funders for a Just Economy (FJE) has worked on developing an intersectional analysis and an understanding of the underlying root causes of systemic poverty and economic discrimination. This webinar featured Alex Delvalle (Groundswell Fund), Holly Bartling (General Service Foundation), and Julia Beatty (Borealis Philanthropy) as they told the story of their foundations’ journeys to shift the culture and their program strategies to implement an intersectional analysis on race, gender and migration status. Additionally, FJE launched a report that shares best practices for intersectional grant-making that we learned through conversations with leaders in philanthropy who described promising practices from their perspectives.

View the slides and 12 best practices here.

Future of Work Call Series #2 - May 14, 2018


Palak Shah and Jess Morales of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Becki Smith of the National Employment Law Project (NELP) discussed the rise of “Handy laws” and their campaigns to defeat them state by state.

“Handy laws" codify into state law that employees classified as independent contractors (many platform workers and “gig economy” workers are classified in this way) are not eligible or required to receive job training, health insurance, or other worker benefits from their employers. Additionally, corporations would not be forced to pay employment taxes for these workers.

According to a recent McKinsey report, as many as 20-30 percent of the working-age population work in some form of independent work, and legislation like the “Handy laws” would strip these workers of benefits and protections under our current labor laws. NDWA, NELP and others are actively advocating against this legislation. 

View the slides here!

WEBINAR: Amazon and the Future of Retail and Logistics Work - May 3, 2018


Amazon’s high-profile search for a second headquarters location has focused a spotlight on both the company and the many issues raised by the rise of e-commerce. Join us the Funders for a Just Economy for a conversation with groups engaged on issues such as: What is a “good job” when there is so much disruption, bricks-and-mortar job loss and warehouse work speed-up in retailing? As retailing is reshaped, what are the effects on economic opportunity, community development and the tax base?

On this webinar, funders considered the questions: As the HQ2 bidding war plays out, what do we know about the 20 finalist cities’ bids? What are local groups doing to prepare for issues such as gentrification and displacement, infrastructure and schools, and other community benefits in the “winning” city? And how can the experience be “composted” for the benefit of working families in the 237 “losing” locations? Finally: how can funders best support critical campaign and organizing work in the 20 finalist cities AND in the major logistical hubs where Amazon fulfillment centers are most heavily concentrated?

View the slides here!

Future of Work Call Series #1 - March 19, 2018

FJE is proud to host a series of funder conversations about the Future of Work for those interested in emerging policies and organizing strategies to protect workers by addressing the changing nature of work, the influence of automation and technology, the accumulation of power and money in the financial sector, and the shifts within various job sectors. Learn from thought leaders about how they are addressing these issues and how funders can support their efforts through a strategy conversation.

The first call of the series on March 19, 2018 featured Dr. Annette Bernhardt, of the University of California at Berkeley who shared an overview of the shifts in the economy and provided a foundational grounding to the conversation about the future of work.

View the slides here!

2018 FJE Policy Briefing: Evolving Strategies for Worker Justice

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Funders for a Just Economy’s 2018 Policy Briefing will focused on Labor, worker centers, and community partnerships in this era of attacks on workers. We developed a shared analysis of the current state of labor unions and worker centers, and discussed strategies to ensure workers are protected as conditions transform. We also discussed the opportunities for philanthropy to engage Labor, worker centers, and community groups despite these policy erosions through a funder strategy session.

WEBINAR: Strategies to Address How Amazon’s HQ2 Will Impact Workers and Local Economies

November 29, 2017

While tax and other incentives are often used to attract corporations to cities, there is little evidence that these mechanisms improve employment rates and spur economic growth. In fact, these public policies can promote and engender a concentration of power and a monopolization of the market that become drivers of geographic and racial inequality and force local communities to bear the brunt of the loss of revenue without reaping the benefits.

The frenzy surrounding Amazon’s new headquarters’ bidding process sheds light on how corporate incentives are used for more profit under the guise of economic development. Using examples from state and local campaigns to challenge corporate power and hold big corporations accountable to their workforce and communities they operate in, this webinar will explore what the data shows about how corporate incentives can drive down wages and exacerbate existing problems related to poor working conditions and a lack of worker protections and benefits. During the webinar, funders will have the opportunity to strategize about how to resource the movement to curb Amazon’s impact and support movement building and grassroots organizing across the country.

FJE Alabama Learning Tour

November 6-8, 2017

On November 6-8, Neighborhood Funders Group's Funders for a Just Economy brought funders from across the US to Alabama to meet with local and regional funders, community organizations, unions and worker centers to experience, appreciate, and learn about the movement building strategies workers and communities are implementing to advocate for economic justice. Funders learned about the immense history, culture, and narrative story of the people of Alabama and how this rich history connects to current campaigns and resistance efforts with low-wage workers, women, immigrants and communities of color leading the charge. FJE also explored how people have built power and economic stability through economic models that shift assets to community members, and traditionally unorganized and migrant workers.

View the separate website about the tour here.

WEBINAR: New Southern Strategies Report: Employment, Workers’ Rights and the Prospects for Regional Resurgence

October 3, 2017

The New Southern Strategies: Employment, Workers’ Rights and the Prospects for Regional Resurgence report assesses economic indicators affecting quality of life in the South and examines corporate strategies that are driving these changes. It presents some of the efforts underway in the region to improve the quality of economic opportunity through labor organizing and strengthening workers’ rights, focusing on the southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

What will it take to win successful economic justice campaigns in the South? With many families facing chronically low wages and economic insecurity, an understanding and attention to the political economy of the South can help funders and field organizations develop successful intervention strategies. Speakers shared highlights from the report, examined how the history of systemic racism has maintained corporate power and limited efforts to improve workers' rights, and discussed how recent unionization efforts in Tennessee and Mississippi impact the outlook for future organizing nationwide.

2017 FJE Policy Briefing: The Road Ahead for Worker Justice

May 18-19, 2017


For many years, FJE has held a yearly policy briefing to engage its members on specific policy issues that affect middle and low-income workers. In a fundamentally shifting political and power map, this year’s policy briefing, held on May 18th and 19th updated members with our current understanding of the major forces and players that impact worker justice.

FJE members engaged in strategic conversations about the decline of organized labor, economic discrimination based on migration status and gender, the future of work, emerging state and local policy and advocacy campaigns, and how to leverage and build power through movement building, cross-issue collaborations, litigation strategies, and community organizing.

Regulatory Enforcement & Corporate Misconduct

In 2016, the Bauman Foundation and Bob Shull of Public Welfare Foundation hosted a funder briefing on new developments in enforcement and corporate accountability. Participants tested out the Violation Tracker database, a powerful and insightful tool created by Good Jobs First that pulls together enforcement data from the Department of Labor, EPA, and other government agencies to allow real insight into companies that break the law. Good Jobs First is continuing to track labor law violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and NLRB back pay awards through their database.

Black Worker Organizing Project

In 2015, Columbia University hosted the second annual State of Black Workers in America Conference in New York City. Here, two groundbreaking reports were launched:  And Still I Rise: Black Women Labor Leaders’ Voices, Power and Promisea photo-journalistic report written by Kimberly Freeman Brown designed to engage black women labor leaders and activists in exploring ways to leverage their organizing expertise for the preservation of the labor movement and the economic advancement of the black community; and #BlackWorkersMatter, a cutting edge report on the state of black worker organizing around the country, highlighting efforts to organize black workers and address the particular barriers to employment and economic security faced by people of African descent in the U.S.

Members of Funders for a Just Economy (then known as the Working Group on Labor and Community Partnerships) supported the creation of these reports, and will continue to support the promotion of the reports and organizing work featured in them through a series of regional meeting across the country for funders (stayed tuned for details). The working group hosted a webinar, Black Workers Rising: A Conversation with the Neighborhood Funders Group, in which NFG members heard directly from the report authors, Kimberly Freeman Brown and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, and Marc Bayard, head of the Black Worker Initiative at the Institute of Policy Studies.