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:
- Bahati Aimee (she/her), Program Officer, Woods Fund Chicago
- Ian Bautista (he/him/él/lo), Senior Director of Civic Engagement, Greater Milwaukee Foundation
- Rupal Soni (she/her), Philanthropic Consultant
- Terri Thao (she/her), Program Director, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
March 2024 Session
March 6, 2024
7:30am PT | 8:30am MT | 9:30am CT | 10:30am ET
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!
November 2023 Session
November 16, 2023
8:00am PT | 9:00am MT | 10:00am CT | 11:00am ET
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
Mar 6, 2024
9:30 am - 11:00 am CT