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At Tzedek, we aim to do more than write checks. How can we be co-conspirators for justice and liberation? By centering a vision of social justice philanthropy in our work, we strive to be trusted allies and collaborators.
Here’s what we know to be true:
- People directly impacted by systems of oppression are best positioned to lead work to transform our world. Our identities do not simply shape our experience of the world. Our identities are a source of expertise.
- Philanthropy is a system built upon exploited labor and the hoarding of wealth. We approach our grantmaking as a first step in a larger process of redistributing money, resources, and power.
- Relatedly, grantmaking must be accessible. Burdensome applications and reporting requirements inhibit those who are most marginalized from accessing funds. This is one way that philanthropy plays a direct role in perpetuating systems of oppression. Trust-based philanthropy helps us re-imagine what grantmaking can look like.
- Transparency is an essential practice for healing wounds created by philanthropy. We aim to learn in public, to tell the truth about when we fall short of our values, and to solicit the invaluable wisdom of our brilliant grantees.
- Social justice philanthropy requires deep, authentic relationships. It requires showing up in community–sharing a meal, stacking chairs side by side, telling stories, listening deeply, phone banking together. When we feel as if our lives are bound up together, our work becomes grounded in our shared liberation. This is essential for dismantling the top-down, power over legacy of philanthropy.
These truths shape our approach to philanthropy.
ORGANIZATIONAL GRANTMAKING COMMITMENTS
In the process of realigning and redesigning our grantmaking we relied on our community research. There, grantees, community leaders, and colleagues we trust revealed what is needed from funders at this moment.
The following commitments are grounded in our organizational values and practices. These commitments shape what our grantmaking offerings look like and our day-to-day grantmaking work.
We prioritize grantees’ expertise, self determination, and agency by…
- building relationships with grantees through intentional conversation.
- providing multi-year, unrestricted funding as the norm in our general organizational grantmaking.
- simplifying and streamlining paperwork and processes.
- trusting that organizations and leaders know what they need and are best positioned to make decisions about strategy and how funds are used.
We offer support beyond the check by…
- advocating with other funders, community organizations, and local government to create systems and processes that serve our grantees.
- redistributing other resources including space, skills, networks, and relationships
- redistributing power through regularly soliciting and incorporating feedback and moving towards community-based participatory grantmaking.
We communicate directly with transparency and heart by…
- being honest about the organizational and legal structures that we are working within.
- sharing how decisions are made.
- demystifying the work of a funder by communicating simply and clearly.
For more information about social justice philanthropy, we recommend the following resources:
Justice Funders’ Resonance Framework