UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
[The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund] focuses on the South because of the many powerful multi-issue organizations poised to make an impact on racial justice and LGBTQ rights there and because of how under-resourced the region is philanthropically. And, as Southern racial justice and LGBTQ rights organizers are pointing out to us now, they know how to fight against right-wing repression. We have been listening carefully to our cohort of brilliant and brave movement-building grantees, and I’m eager to share that we’ve heard.
No one is safe from the transition this country is undergoing. The period that we have entered is unlike anything that any of us has ever seen before. We will need to build a movement across divides of class, race, gender, age, documentation, religion and disability. Building a movement requires reaching out beyond the people who agree with you. Simply said, we need each other, and we need leadership and strategy.
Social movements are a hidden underpinning of the American story. This report seeks to provide a guidepost to both funders and the field by detailing what makes for a successful social movement, what capacities need to be developed, and what funding opportunities might exist.
We live in a political era defined by crisis, great promise, and a visible resurgence of popular movements. Strides in economic inequality, criminal justice reforms, and other issues have been made. However, questions on grassroots activism sustaining lasting change, impact, creating successful movement structures, and donors catalyzing movement growth remain. The "From Protest to Power" convening, co-hosted by Ford Foundation and the Solidaire Network, explores these questions through a series of lively and participatory presentations.
Funding must fit the movement cycle and timing is critical. Healthy movements have cycles, and the needs of a thriving, expanding movement change dramatically and rapidly. However, these shifts are neither unpredictable nor random. Funders must be able to anticipate these shifts and be able to respond with agility in order to be most effective.
The Movement Strategy Center offers a plethora of resources that speak on transformative practices, collective impact, intersecting issues, and building progressive power. This is a curated list.