About Our Programming
FFJ serves as a collaborative learning space, networking home, and leadership development hub for our members to connect across funding silos of issues and place, and cultivate common commitment to mobilize resources to the field to end criminalization of people of color. We move members on a spectrum from education to action, in a process where participants learn from the field, from each other, and ultimately apply those learnings to their institutions’ grant-making strategies and at other funder tables.
FFJ’s programming is generative and co-developed by members and staff, which make up the collaborative leadership team. Members develop programming throughout the year, bring in new members, and mobilize their peers to move money to the field. FFJ leaders are active participants, are collaborative with staff and their fellow members, and practice solidarity with the field. FFJ members receive one-on-one support from staff to inform their grant-making strategies, specific grants, and networking and collaborations with their funder partners. FFJ creates many opportunities for our members to lead in funder spaces, promoting and supporting new leaders in philanthropy.
FFJ Core Practices
- Follow and promote leadership by and for people of color in movement and in philanthropy, primarily women and trans people of color
- Participate in collaborative learning, in which we lift up each other and community partners
- Elevate and amplify collective work led by communities and movements, and promote funding solutions guided by movements
- Organize new funders into FFJ and drive new resources to movements
Funders for Justice created this website for funders because we believe that our collective investments in housing, education, health, transportation, food security, and jobs will fail if we do not also proactively work to divest this nation’s resources from criminalization. Our partners in the field are organizing for divestment from the prison industrial complex, and understand that as critical to the work of transforming communities to be truly safe and secure. This website is a toolkit for grant-makers, donors, and funder affinity groups, to help funders in confronting criminalization. We ask you to listen, learn, and take action.
Bail reform / Pre-trial detention / Adjudication Strategy Group
FFJ’s Bail Reform Strategy Group was founded in 2018 to center people and communities most impacted by criminalization in the funding strategies to support policy and systems change. The group’s goals are to learn from the field – the frame and the work that is happening, what the needs are, learn how philanthropy sees itself in the work, bring more people into funding bail reform/ onboard donors, and mobilize and align resources. The group centers its values in the needs and liberation of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, rather than a frame of risk and criminalization. The group is facilitated by Shaena Johnson, Program Director at Funders for Justice.
Healing Justice Strategy Group
FFJ’s Healing Justice Strategy Group was founded in 2017, to educate funders on a healing justice framework and move money in a way that best supports movements. The group’s goals are to 1) Learn from healing justice practitioners and establish a shared definition of healing justice as philanthropy can practice it within its own structures and behaviors; 2) mobilize resources for healing justice work of practitioners and movements; and 3) organize additional funders into this space. This group has been guided by multiple FFJ Movement Advisors. The group is jointly led by Joy Messinger, of Third Wave Fund, and maisha quint, of Libra Foundation. The group is facilitated by Shaena Johnson, Program Director at Funders for Justice.
‘me too.’ in Philanthropy Strategy Group
FFJ’s “me too.” in Philanthropy group was founded in 2018, to host an ongoing conversation in philanthropy and mobilize resources to projects and organizations working with an abolition frame to end sexual and gender-based violence. The group’s goals are to create a learning space, take action individually and collectively, increase resources to folks doing this work, and to do heart work together: regardless of how folks enter this conversation, to bridge our politics, our personal experience, and a commitment to ending sexual violence. The group is facilitated by Lorraine Ramirez, Executive Director of Funders for Justice.
Police Unions Strategy Group
FFJ’s Police Unions Strategy Group was founded in 2019, to educate funders and mobilize resources to grassroots organizations leading accountability campaigns against police unions and associations. The group works in partnership with NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy to deepen the knowledge of economic justice funders, and to inform their partnerships with labor and inform their grant-making. The group is grounded in ongoing political education and strategy guidance of three FFJ Movement Advisors. This strategy group is jointly led by Sandy Chiang, The California Endowment, and Jeree Thomas, Communities Transforming Policing Fund at Borealis Philanthropy. The group is facilitated by Lorraine Ramirez, Executive Director of Funders for Justice.
The FFJ Fellowship provides leadership development, concrete strategies for moving money, and a mechanism for holding each other accountable for moving resources directly to the field. This fellowship serves as an organizing school for grantmakers. It builds on FFJ’s leadership development and money-mobilization purpose, leveraging success thus far and creating a space for a set of members to go even further.
The first cohort is comprised entirely of women, trans, and gender queer people, and nearly all people of color. These members are in program director and program officer roles in a mix of private and public foundations, with a grantmaking focus on the intersections of gender justice, racial justice, and anti-criminalization, as well as economic justice, migrant justice, youth and multi-generational organizing, and LGBTQ rights.
- Build FFJ members’ skills, accountability practice, and support network to move money in line with FFJ values and purpose
- Develop FFJ leadership – build political alignment & organizing skills of core leaders
- Create a shared space and a community of practice between funders and field advisors, so that participating members are in right relationship with the field, and widen/deepen FFJ’s field partnerships
- Advance FFJ’s organizing goals & impact
This fellowship is an important new strategy for FFJ to deepen our impact on our central goal: mobilize dollars to grassroots organizing led by and for people of color, at the intersections of racial justice, gender justice, anti-criminalization, and models for community safety and justice. FFJ’s strength is building politically-aligned leaders most poised to take action. This fellowship connects these leaders more deeply to each other and provides them with additional support and programming to be more visible leaders in their work to activate more money to grassroots power building.
Donor Organizing Committee in Support of M4BL
In June of 2020, the committee formed and urged donors and grant-makers to move money to Black organizing at an entirely new level. On a conference call with hundreds of donors and grant-makers, Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, of Highlander Center and the Movement for Black Lives, called on funders to “Fund us like you want us to win”. The fundraising work of this committee challenges power dynamics and empowers frontlines of movement to be just as bold in their demands for resources.
FFJ Movement Advisors are selected in recognition of their expertise and leadership in movements for racial and gender justice, anti-criminalization movements, and efforts to inform more impactful grant-making for community power-building. In their role as advisors, they will guide FFJ’s work in lifting up community safety and justice models, join FFJ for national panels and workshops, and share their visions for change and what’s needed from philanthropy in this moment. We hope you will look to them as thought leaders and partners in your own work as well.