NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy (FJE) program is sponsoring a Racial Capitalism Community of Practice (CoP) open to funder members. Through this CoP, funder participants will explore how we can deepen our grantmaking efforts to advance justice, incorporate anti-racist practices in philanthropy, and partner with movement leaders in the creation of an inclusive economy.
What is Racial Capitalism?
The term racial capitalism is a concept originally proposed by Cedric J. Robinson to describe the extractive way America’s capitalist economy derives social and economic value from another person of a different racial identity. The basic tenets of racial capitalism are:
- Capitalism is defined as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry is controlled and owned by private individuals and corporations for profit;
- Capitalism measures success based on a company’s ability to continually generate and increase their rate of profitability, constantly extracting maximum value for owners;
- To sustain and increase the rate of capital growth and extract maximum value/profit for owners, capitalism must establish and exploit the idea of unequal human value to reduce costs; and
- The predominant differentiator of human value in many countries, including the United States, was and is race and ethnicity.
Why Racial Capitalism?
Since 2015, NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy program has explored how to deepen its impact on the particular challenges BIPOC workers face. FJE supported reports and funder learning opportunities which discussed how fees, fines, criminalization associated with day laborer and migrant labor, rampant wage theft, little or paid family leave, lack of labor law enforcement or litigation from states and local governments, and workplace sexual violence and harassment remains persistent in jobs and industries with a higher representation of workers and women of color. To begin to address these systemic challenges, FJE published a working paper Journey Towards Intersectional Grantmaking in 2018, which helped develop a framework and definition of intersectional grantmaking, which is: grantmaking that takes into consideration the ways in which multiple systems of oppression are interwoven in people’s lives, communities, cultures, and institutions and how they impact people differently based on where each person sits and their lived experience.
Considering that philanthropy historically and currently is a contributor to the deeply embedded and extractive tenets of racial capitalism, over the last three years FJE has been building its analysis of racial capitalism and power by learning about Black radical tradition and feminist theory. This includes the 2019 Racial Capitalism, Power and Resistance Convening and 2022 FJE Network Strategy Meeting, as well as the first Racial Capitalism Community of Practice cohort that took place from November 2021 to June 2022.
Our Upcoming 2023 Cohort
Through the second cohort of the Racial Capitalism Community of Practice, we aim to put this political education and the vision of movement leaders in action. Racial Capitalism Community of Practice participants will develop their skills as funder organizers who are shifting philanthropic culture, grantmaking strategies and practices, and moving more resources toward movement efforts to build an economy that works for all.
See details about our 2023 cohort here. To learn more about joining the second cohort, please email Neda Said, Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 15, 2023