In this three-part series, California Criminal Justice Funders Group (CCJFG) funder-members will come together to discuss and identify funding strategies that support alternatives to the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), including investing in community-led models that address lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment. We will learn about concrete funding strategies, hear from movement leaders, highlight CCJFG members’ work, and share practical strategies for supporting work that reimagines different models of community safety and justice.
2020 has truly tested our resolve. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people in prison cannot be understated. As rates of infection rose inside prisons throughout the state, we witnessed our movement partners quickly and efficiently organize in response to this crisis. We witnessed the same tenacity and steadfastness this summer, as organizers led uprisings worldwide to protest racist state violence after the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others—violence that is all too familiar for incarcerated people and their families.
The Community Arts Stabilization Trust’s goal is to acquire 100,000 square feet of space for arts groups by the end of 2018 and expand its footprint in Oakland. Today, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced $3 million in additional funding for the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), a game-changing organization that protects San Francisco Bay Area arts and cultural organizations from displacement. This three-year grant will help CAST realize an ambitious goal to acquire 100,000 square feet of space for arts groups by the end of 2018. With this funding, CAST will expand and prioritize its work in Oakland to create permanently affordable spaces for arts organizations. The funding will also help CAST continue its work in San Francisco.
We want to extend our deepest gratitude for Alan Kwok for serving as NCG’s and Philanthropy California’s Director of Climate and Disaster Resilience for the past four years. Alan will transition to the new role of Senior Advisor beginning February 2023. Underscoring NCG’s deepening commitment to advancing equity in climate and disaster resilience, we will be growing the team, bringing on a new Climate and Disaster Resilience Director to continue the work.
Anti-Black racism and white supremacy are embedded in philanthropy and in our institutions, often invisible to the majority of us, even as we work with intention towards equity and justice. As change agents within philanthropy, we are stretching to become our best selves, rise to the moment, and progress toward racial equity.
Over the next 20 years in the U.S., $35–70 trillion in wealth will transfer from one generation to another in the largest generational wealth transfer in history, mostly moving within wealthy white families. The policies that make possible this protection and accumulation of wealth are situated within the legacy of land theft, genocide of Native people, enslavement of Black people, and exploitation of natural resources. This context of racial capitalism has also given rise to wealth accumulation that, in part, birthed the philanthropic sector. Paradoxically, many of us working within philanthropy aim to contribute to changes in systems, structures, and outcomes that address the harms of interconnected systems like racial capitalism that favor some at the expense of others and the planet.
Trans leaders need the spaciousness–many of us understand to be provided by sufficient resourcing–to be able to dream even bigger. As funders, we must understand, now is not the time to center our individual agendas; we cannot focus on single program areas, issues, and strategies, or tepid expansion of portfolios. The Right continues to fund for the long haul, and progressive philanthropy needs to expand our funding and our imagination. If we are working toward equity, we must be steadfast in resourcing trans leaders committed to, and creating long-term strategies for, trans people to live with self-determination and full autonomy.