Time to Invest for Justice

In June 2018, Neighborhood Funders Group convened hundreds of local, regional, and national funders for the NFG 2018 National Convening, Raise Up: Moving Money for Justice. Here, Rudi Navarra, Program Officer at The Solutions Project, reflects on the importance of investing time into learning and collaborating together.


C155614-2_pp.jpgThis week in Texas, "Road To Change" organizers and Parkland shooting survivors engaged pro-gun counter-protesters in an impromptu 90-minute street town hall dialogue resulting in jaw-dropping and surprising general agreement on Red Flag Laws, background checks, limiting gun trafficking and digitizing ATF records, providing us a glimmer of hope in the contentious national gun debate. 

A couple of weeks ago, progressive star rising Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won New York’s 14th US Congressional district primary election by defeating ten-term Democratic incumbent and heavyweight Joe Crowley in probably the biggest political upset of the year by listening and inspiring residents of the Bronx and Queens in New York City, sparking a national conversation about democratic socialism and liberal values.

And last month, at NFG's "Raise Up: Moving Money for Justice" National Convening in St. Louis, Missouri, Ferguson activist Kayla Reed from the St. Louis Action Center and Electoral Justice Project at Movement for Black Lives reminded us in the philanthropic sector to slow down enough and take the time to learn what local communities genuinely know, desperately need, and honestly seek in partners (including funders). I was humbled to hear Kayla’s words. And they struck a nerve. 

These three events may appear random, but they demonstrate the need to invest enough time in being smarter and learning from each other in order to succeed in our common road to social justice. 

356.jpgThe Neighborhood Funders Group "Raise Up" National Convening is arguably the premier social and racial justice funder gathering in the country. This past June, it was evident how important intersectional work and funding across silos would get us closer to our social justice goals. In my case and Solutions Project’s, it’s a movement building intermediary advancing 100% clean, renewable energy for 100% of the people and 100% equity. So how do we all work together across so many silos?

Convenings such as these allow funders to self-organize and collaborate with a cross-section of stakeholders to drive social change not as a leader but as one of many social change partners. We need not have to look too far. Community champions such as "Road To Change," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Kayla Reed are showing us all how to give our 100%.

These are dangerous times for our communities, and yet in spite of hope-busting setbacks, we continue to see great leadership and progress where least expected. Having participated in this, my first NFG convening, today is our moment for leadership and a new philanthropy to emerge. It is time to raise up and move money for justice. 

Connect with Rudi on LinkedIn and Twitter at @LatinoSublime.

Follow The Solutions Project at @SolutionsProj and @100isNow.

Find more posts about the NFG 2018 National Convening on our Member Blog.