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Dear Change Agents for Collective Liberation,
We hit the pause button and are ready to play it forward!
As you may know, Tzedek’s updated mission to redistribute money, resources, and power to support systems change and community healing in Asheville, North Carolina was the result of an in-depth journey of deep internal reflection and analysis building. Our goal was – and still is – to accelerate social change by rooting our work in community-led learning, discovery, and engagement, which is why we opted to slow it down in 2018.
Fast forward to 2022 and our community research report findings have been compiled, distilled, and implemented. We’re excited to share what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown from this research. We also want to spotlight the visionary brilliance captured in these findings in hopes of inspiring similar transformation throughout the Asheville community and philanthropy and nonprofit sectors.
But first… a little background on the community-based research project.
In 2018, Tzedek conducted a participatory community research process that engaged 29 community leaders working in Asheville’s social justice and philanthropy sectors. We also convened a group of 11 trusted advisors whose expertise was born from the lived experience and wisdom that comes from living and doing transformational work in Tzedek’s mission-aligned focal areas of LGBTQ justice, racial justice, and combatting antisemitism. In these safe spaces of shared vision, we explored what power, white supremacy, oppression, and liberation mean to us and delved into how these forces impacted our identities, lives, and work.
A CALL TO prACTice
The transformative power of listening should never be underestimated. The key themes and takeaways that emerged from this ongoing shared analysis carved out a path toward high-impact social change work and meaningful social transformation. We asked the questions and our trusted advisors answered. These learnings have helped us better define who we are, what we do, and how we do it.
A CALL TO impACT
These insights have profoundly shaped every level of our philosophy, methods, and strategy. As we discovered, social transformation is not only possible but ignited, when funders willingly seek and practice alternative ways to support and sustain collective liberation. In short, what we do and why we do it are just as important as how we do it.
A CALL TO counterACT
We are a philanthropic fund guided by Jewish social justice values and the use of adaptive, trust-based philanthropy to resist oppressive systems and fuel community transformation. We do this work because we believe in and are committed to an Asheville where every human being thrives. It is not enough to act; we must also counteract. Authentic community healing requires us to openly and compassionately address, confront, and dismantle systemic oppression, including shifting toxic patterns of philanthropy that undermine this process and progress.
What we know to be true is that impacted communities are the greatest asset to effective social justice philanthropy because they intimately know and understand what they need. As such, investing in and prioritizing impacted leadership and grassroots organizations provides a foundation for activating and elevating community transformation.
So… what’s next?
A CALL TO ACT: Join the Journey to Collective Liberation!
We are grateful for the expressed interest in our findings and are excited to announce our four-part webinar series to share these insights. “BOLD PEOPLE/MAGIC DREAMS: Tzedek’s Community Research Findings” launches Thursday, April 7, 2022. We are thrilled to dig in deep and invite local philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, grassroots organizers, and community members to join us in this collective liberation conversation.
Tzedek has created four mini-reports to organize and optimize community research insights.
We’ll discuss these reports throughout the webinar series.
Here’s the basic breakdown:
Webinar 1. THE 6Ws OF COMMUNITY RESEARCH: USING COMMUNITY RESEARCH TO STRENGTHEN YOUR ORGANIZATION
Date: Thursday, April 7, 1 – 3 PM EST.
- A transparent overview of Tzedek’s community research process detailing the Who, What, Where, When, and HoW
- Panel Discussion: Why should we conduct community-based research?
- Marsha Davis, Executive Director/Director of Organizational Strategy and Practice, Moderator
- Amy Mandel, Founder and Funder
- Beth Trigg, Researcher
- Tamiko Ambrose Murray, Board Member/Researcher
Webinar 2. “BE BOLD, BOLD, BOLD”: PRACTICING SOCIAL JUSTICE PHILANTHROPY
Date: Tuesday, April 12, 1 – 3 PM EST
- Outline actionable liberatory philanthropy practices.
- Share how-to guidance for philanthropist/nonprofit leaders.
- Panel Discussion: Is it possible for a funder to be a co-conspirator in the journey toward liberation?
- Desiree Adaway, Board Chair, Moderator
- Althea Gonzalez, Board Member
- Amy Mandel, Funder and Founder
- Jennifer Langton, Director of Organizational Grantmaking
- Libby Kyles, Director of Community-Led Grantmaking
- Marsha Davis, Executive Director
Webinar 3. “PEOPLE INVESTED IN ME”: SUSTAINING IMPACTED LEADERSHIP, PRACTICING HEALING JUSTICE
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2 – 4 PM EST
- Share how community feedback led to the creation of the Brilliance and Impact Awards.
- Share insights on how to best support local community leaders.
- Panel Discussion: Why should philanthropy directly invest in individuals?
- Libby Kyles, Co-Moderator
- Marsha Davis, Co-Moderator
- Marta Alcala-Williams, Tzedek Brilliance Awardee
- Nicole Townsend-Green, Tzedek Brilliance Awardee
- Renee White, Tzedek Brilliance Awardee
- Sheneika Smith, Tzedek Brilliance Awardee
Webinar 4. “THERE’S A LOT OF MAGIC HERE!”: THE GIFTS AND CHALLENGES OF SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISM IN ASHEVILLE
Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2 – 4 PM EST
- Share our path forward – where we are and where we are going.
- Engage local leaders in creating a vision of collective liberation for Asheville.
- Community Discussion: What’s next? – Collective Liberation Chats
- Libby Kyles
- Marsha Davis
As we continue to discover and embrace more regenerative, liberatory philanthropic practices, new lessons will be learned from our successes and shortcomings. Basically, the collective liberation conversation is just beginning. We hope you’ll join us in building this shared analysis.
Want to be part of this exciting deep-dive into planning a better tomorrow? Sign up today! Zoom registration links are in the individual webinar descriptions above. Whether you can make one or all, we look forward to sharing space and strategies.
Let’s do this, Asheville!