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Equity requires sharing leadership with those most impacted by the problems we hope to solve. We cannot hoard power and expect change.Marsha Davis
In 2021, Tzedek launched Community-led Grantmaking. Even as a Black and queer-led organization, we are responsible for sharing power with those who are on the frontlines of community work.
Five thoughtful and creative Fellows deeply connected to Asheville’s LGBTQ, Black and Brown, and Jewish communities were selected (through this process) to develop strategy and practice to redistribute Tzedek’s grantmaking budget that was not already committed to local organizations through multi-year general operating grants.
Tzedek asked other community-led grantmaking initiatives, including the Trans Justice Funding Project, how to convene leaders to do the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual work of redistributing money.
Here’s some of the advice we received:
- Approach community-led grantmaking as a pathway for funding new-to-you organizations and solutions led by impacted leaders
- Pay people for their labor including feedback (countering an extractive model of community engagement)
- Welcome the full range of human expression – love, anger, sadness, connection and disconnection
- Building relationship with each other that honor the range of emotions grantmaking brings up is trust building
- Creating processes that feel good and humanizing is essential if our vision is to heal the impact of oppression
It is an ongoing process of learning about how to tend to this collective decision-making process.
We asked Ray Hemachandra, a Tzedek Community-led Grantmaking Fellows to share about what pathways for philanthropic organizations to cede power.
Here’s what he shared…