Fund 4 the Frontlines (F4tF) is a one-of-a-kind campaign with a singular focus: to level-up our region’s grassroots organizing by resourcing powerful, long term base building for communities at the frontlines of struggle.
Our goal of $4.5 million is dedicated to two things: deep investments in basebuilding for grassroots organizations in our region, and growing the staff capacity of Social Justice Fund NW so we can continue to show up powerfully for the communities we serve.
$2.5 million for ten, 5-year basebuilding grants of $250,000 total for grassroots organizations in our region
“What is the audacious vision or goal that will not only help us through these next four years, but really build on the movement that’s already started?” — Ubax Gardheere, Fund 4 the Frontlines Committee Member and former SJF board member
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, SJF staff and board came together to assess our ability to resource the grassroots movement for social justice in response to an emboldened and growing American far-right.
We knew our grantees were already doing incredible work, but often lacked the financial resources to share skills, grow leadership, and scale up their organizations to not only meet community needs, but build lasting power to maintain victories and change culture for the long term.
Stronger movements need more resources. Unfortunately for small, determined organizations, day-to-day survival often competes with their vision for liberation. SJF’s standard level of grantmaking —$15,000 per year, for two years — is essential to help organizers maintain their ongoing level of engagement, but our movements require a much bigger investment to reach the next level.
It’s not enough for SJF to simply move money within an oppressive system. To support our grantees and transform the world around us, we need to educate and grow our donor base, and make sure our own work evolves to keep pace with the movements we resource.
Fund 4 the Frontlines was created with this vision. We launched the campaign in 2018 with a goal of $4 million: $2 million for grantmaking and $2 million to grow SJF’s capacity and donor organizing base. Initial funds were raised from a small group of long-time donors. By early 2020, we had nearly reached that goal.
As the events of the past two years unfolded, we more plainly understood the impact F4tF could have on grassroots organizing, both as a resource and as an opportunity to engage people newer to the movement. We decided to increase our goal with an extra $500,000 completely dedicated to grantmaking, increase the number of small gifts, and deepen accountability by recruiting an all Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) led committee of community members.
Now, F4tF stands out as the only campaign of its kind in our region. In a field where power belongs to white, wealthy donors with virtually no accountability to BIPOC and other communities most impacted by systemic oppression, F4tF is rooted in community and committed to undoing white supremacy in philanthropy.
We announced the first six recipients of the Fund 4 the Frontlines Basebuilding grant in May of 2020. Applications for the final four grants will be announced in 2021.
Basebuilding means growing the breadth and depth of people who share a vision and who develop the strategies and work to make that vision a reality. It means building collective power, enough to win shifts in policy and culture and to defend those wins. It means not just bringing people together for a march or rally, but holding people together as a community of leaders. Not just for a day or a presidential term, but for years to come.
Characteristics of basebuilding
Communities most impacted by the issue at hand lead the work, are centered in decision making, and have broad power within the movement
Organizers use a set of different tactics to engage and build relationships with a broad swathe of their community
Organizations provide regular community opportunities for political education and skill building
Organizations emphasize leadership development and support emerging leaders by helping them find their place in the movement
Organizations have strong practices in place to maintain accountability to the communities they serve
The first Fund 4 the Frontlines basebuilding grants were announced in May of 2020. Grant decisions were made democratically by a group of community members. We’re proud to support the basebuilding work of these organizations.
Since 1985, PCUN has worked to give Latinx communities tools to influence policy in ways that will improve their lives for the better through community building, political action and grassroots political advocacy, and union organizing.
PAALF helps Black community imagine the alternatives they deserve and builds their civic participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives. They envision a world where people of African descent enjoy the rights, resources, and recognition to be a thriving, resilient, and connected community.
UTOPIA is a queer and trans people of color-led, grassroots organization born out of the struggles, challenges, strength, and resilience of the Queer and Trans Pacific Islander community in South King County. UTOPIA provides sacred spaces to strengthen the minds and bodies of queer and trans Pacific Islanders (QTPI) through community organizing, community care, civic engagement, and cultural stewardship.
Village of Hope organizes with Black families and communities to reclaim history as a strategy for moving families and communities towards wholeness and health and creating communities where everyone is thriving.
WA-BLOC seeks to transform culture and space at Rainier Beach High School (RBHS) and in South Seattle by building intergenerational place-based leaders of change to disrupt educationally embedded systemic racism for the purpose of dismantling the school to prison pipeline.
WAISN is a grassroots coalition made up of nearly 100 immigrant and refugee rights organizations and individuals in Washington. WAISN’s mission is to protect and empower communities by providing support, capacity and resources to build power and a united voice in Washington, establishing tools to resist anti-immigrant and anti-refugee activities, and galvanizing communities for mobilization and collective action.
How much money will go to grantees and how much will go to SJF?
$2.5 million is allocated for ten basebuilding grants of $250,000 total, to be distributed at $50,000 per year for five years. As of May 2020, six grants of this size have been made — click here to read more about the grantees.
$2 million is allocated for Social Justice Fund NW’s capacity building. This money is already going toward things like: deepening our work to eradicate anti-Blackness; transitioning to a new donor database; upgrading our accounting systems; increasing our educational workshops and events; expanding communications capacity; and more.
What happens with the money if you raise more than the $4.5 million goal?
Any funds beyond the $4.5 million goal will go towards grantmaking, specifically adding additional basebuilding grants or augmenting existing ones.