Site visits are an important part of the grantmaking process because it gives grantmakers the opportunity to learn from potential grantees in ways that can’t be conveyed through a report or application. For Social Justice Fund, the importance of this process is elevated because of the nuanced complexity that comes with grassroots organizing.
For Rachel, Amber, and Davíd, their site visits were a rare opportunity to learn about current issues, bond with each other, and gain a sense of understanding that comes only from the firsthand knowledge, and wisdom of grassroots leaders. Rachel, who participated in last year’s Next Generation Giving Project, remembers her trip from Washington to Idaho,
“Oh man! Driving through hundreds of miles of desert terrain, and almost running out of gas made me so appreciate the incredible work happening in our rural communities. Many of these places are already in need of support, and many of the challenges these communities deal with are exacerbated to the point of being life-or-death issues.”
Amber and Davíd who participated in the 2013 Criminal Justice Giving Project, took a 4 day road trip from Washington to Montana, making stops in Seattle, Butte, Bozeman, Helena, and Missoula. Amber says,
“Traveling to Montana with my Criminal Justice Giving Project peers was a remarkable opportunity to contextualize the grantmaking process by experiencing the culture and hearing about the issues firsthand. Plus, Montana is totes-Butte-iful”.
For David, the trip deepened his understanding of social justice philanthropy and helped him understand the role he plays in supporting movements for social change. He said,
“Initially I felt like foundations weren’t for me. I had no idea what to expect when I joined the Giving Project. I knew I wanted to gain the skills, but I didn’t see how I fit into that world. Going through each step of the [Giving Project] process, you start to understand it. After meeting the Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance it inspired me to do better work in my own life, and I ended up increasing my contribution to the Giving Project because of that experience.” He smiles a little and adds “Then we went rafting together. Which was pretty awesome.”
For Rachel, her inspiration came from “seeing first-hand, the power that a grant without any strings attached is a powerful testament to what amazing things could happen if we had a more fair playing field.”
For all of our members, site visits are so much more than an element of our grantmaking cycle. It’s an incredibly powerful experience that deepens the understanding of our communities, and how to move resources for progressive social change.
Site visits are happening now, and all members of Social Justice Fund are not only welcome to join, but encouraged! You don’t have to be in a Giving Project to join a site visit. Transportation, and lodging is coordinated by Social Justice Fund. If you have questions, about a site visit contact Sunny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not a member but want to be? Joining Social Justice Fund is easy. For questions about membership, or how to join contact email@example.com