About Our Connection, Learning, and Strategy Sessions (CLS Sessions)

As a core component of Midwest Organizing Infrastructure Funder programming, CLS Sessions are bi-monthly 90-minute virtual meetings for funders to strategize, learn, and build community in ways that strengthen their ability to move more resources to Midwest grassroots organizing.


All funders that fund in the Midwest or are interested in the region are welcome to attend our CLS Sessions.


These sessions are dynamic, interactive spaces for funders to:

  • Explore the organizing landscape across the Midwest, especially what the current challenges, barriers, and opportunities are for building deep community power and durable organizing infrastructure
  • Share strategies and tools for navigating institutional barriers to funding organizing within a brave space
  • Learn about funder organizing skills for shifting philanthropic culture, grantmaking strategies, and practices and move more resources towards organizing
  • Deepen their political analysis of how philanthropy is embedded within racial capitalism and how funders can build community and organize towards liberating philanthropic assets
  • Discuss potential shared strategies across geography and institutions to fund organizing
  • Connect with and feel supported by other funders that are passionate about liberation and change


As funders, our work to boldly support community power and self-determination must be collective. To this end, we are launching bi-monthly meetings to strengthen the Midwest Organizing Infrastructure Funders as an organizing home for funders to collectively re-imagine what is possible for philanthropy and their work.


We are honored to co-design and co-facilitate these sessions with a Core Design Team comprised of:



NEW! "Office Hours"

April 23, 2024
7:30am PT | 9:30am MT | 10:30am CT | 11:30am ET
(60-minute event)


This will be an organic, participatory space for folks to continue to interact with our Funder Organizing Basics Worksheet (from our March CLS Session) or discuss other topics related to organizing more resources to Midwest organizing groups. 


Thank you March CLS Session participants for asking us to pilot this space so that folks don't have to wait until the May CLS Session, which will have a longer and more structured agenda and activities.


There will be some facilitation from our Core Design Team and our time is reliant on you bringing your questions, stories, and reflections! Like an office hour, please feel free to attend any portion of the session you can whether it's all 60 minutes or 15 minutes.



Back to (Funder Organizing) Basics

March 6, 2024
7:30am PT | 8:30am MT | 9:30am CT | 10:30am ET
(90-minute event)


During this CLS Session, funders will be invited to sharpen their strategy for moving more resources to organizing this year. Funders will be guided through a series of questions to help them begin to outline a road map for organizing their own foundation. Specifically, we will support funders to:

  • Analyze their institutional and political contexts
  • Identify clear institutional changes needed to fund more organizing that are within the funders' power to influence/shape/enact
  • Map key decision-makers
  • Map allies and identify tactics for building alignment and engaging in collective action


This session will include time to discuss the Midwest organizing landscape, silent working time, and breakout rooms for deeper discussion.


Consultants, grants managers, board members, and other philanthropic roles outside of the traditional "grantmaker" role are welcome!



Mapping Our Ecosystem

November 16, 2023
8:00am PT | 9:00am MT | 10:00am CT | 11:00am ET
(90-minute event)


Please join us for our first virtual Midwest Funder Connection, Learning, & Strategy (CLS) Session!


At our first CLS Session, we will:

  • Utilize an ecological framework to invite all attendees to describe what organizing groups and funders are grappling with across the Midwest, particularly as we prepare for 2024
  • Offer the following breakout rooms:
    • Connection & Breath Room: How are we caring for ourselves, peers, and community?
    • Nuts & Bolts Room: What institutional barriers are you face to move more resources to organizing?
    • Guest Breakout Room hosted by Organize the Midwest 

Event Details


Apr 23, 2024

10:30 am - 11:30 am CT