I’m writing this newsletter message on the 40th day since my beloved 91-year-old Lola passed away, a significant time marker for my family as we remember and honor her. Maybe you’re wondering what this has to do with Neighborhood Funders Group, and the answer is that I don’t know how to (and won’t) compartmentalize, and I know that what is personal is political and is also very much part of this professional/philanthropic sector.

Individually and collectively, we are grappling with so much right now. We continue to live through overlapping, intersecting, and systemic crises including and not limited to: the stripping away of abortion access and care; attacks on trans, nonbinary, and queer folks; voter suppression; gun and police violence; too many wildfires; inadequate and inaccessible housing, healthcare, social protections, and education; the persisting Covid pandemic, the rising monkeypox outbreak, and inaccurate messaging that will ultimately cause more harm to so many of our communities; generations-long impacts of patriarchy, oppression, and white supremacy — I could go on. We’re trying to make sense of too many things in a nonsensical time while also navigating whatever exciting, hard, devastating, celebratory, confusing things are happening in our individual lives.

For me, it’s holding grief and loss + being sick with Covid for the first time on the heels of my Lola passing away + creating space for moments like impromptu sushi picnics in the park + taking longer walks in the morning so my pup can gleefully chase squirrels, butterflies, and grasshoppers.

For you, it’s something else.

And for NFG, it’s how to move through a transition period, which brings about new and inspiring opportunities + the tension points that come with change, at a time when it feels like everything is burning around us.

At last week’s Member Connection Call with NFG staff and grantmakers in our community, we explored this question:

Given the context of everything happening around us, what analysis and opportunities to take action and support movements are missing from the conversations you are a part of in philanthropy right now?

Conversation highlights included:

  • Exploring how NFG can create iterative strategy spaces to learn about community organizing, funder organizing, racial capitalism, and moving money differently and featuring movement leaders and other stakeholders

  • Naming that grantmaking practices had shifted at the outset of the pandemic and the 2020 uprisings and discussing how funders can continue to shift to be more in alignment with dismantling philanthropic structures that are not serving our movements or communities

  • Recognizing that additional connections are needed so that funders can benefit from and build relationships with new people to ensure that they aren’t always in space with the same folks

As with any transitional time, strength comes from the work and unity of the collective, and showing up for each other with care. At NFG, we want — and need! — to be in community with all of you. NFG is a place for grantmakers to build, think creatively, and relate to one another amidst the heaviness of the world because we believe that philanthropy has a role to play in moving all of us toward liberation and self-determination.

welcome your thoughts and ideas regarding what’s missing from philanthropy right now; how might NFG lead in a way that helps to fill that gap; and what needs to be put in place to ensure the strongest foundation for new leadership at NFG to build upon so that we are all moving more money to racial, gender, economic, disability, and climate justice.

You’ll be hearing more from NFG soon regarding our 2023 National Convening in Wilmington, NC, our racial capitalism community of practice, and a soon-to-be-unveiled new website. In the meantime, I’m sending all the good, nourishing, and joyful vibes your way.

In community,

Courtney Banayad
Director of Membership and Communications