SCG's 2023 Annual Conference invited our sector to envision a new economy rooted in mutuality and care. Our incredible lineup of movement and philanthropic leaders urged attendees to divest from exploitative and extractive practices and to move capital and power toward communities most impacted by oppressive systems. Together, we engaged in dialogues grounded in sharing prosperity, listening to our land, resourcing our communities, healing our culture, and repairing our relations.
To help our attendees apply the key lessons and recommendations from our conference, we partnered with our breakout session speakers to compile a list of actions funders can take to begin advancing economic justice in their work.
An Economy For All: The Urgency of Disability Inclusion for Economic Justice
In this breakout session, Nikki Brown-Booker (Borealis Philanthropy), Andraea LaVant (LaVant Consulting Inc), Sara L. Montrose (Weingart Foundation), and Rose Veniegas (California Community Foundation) explored how disability intersects with our economy and all the issues areas we work in, including immigration, housing and homelessness, employment, education, and more.
Foremost, they urged attendees to always pay disabled people for their time, especially when asking them to consult or provide advice. They also recommended that funders ask their existing grantees whether they are working on disability justice to discover if they may already be indirectly funding disability efforts or to signal to grantees that this work is essential. Lastly, they encouraged everyone to join the Disability & Philanthropy Forum and to sign the Disability Inclusion Pledge today.
Reparations: Moving from Report to Reality
In this conference session, Charles Sidney Fields (The James Irvine Foundation), Lisa Holder (Equal Justice Society), Marc Philpart (California Black Freedom Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation), and James Woodson (California Black Power Network) discussed the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans' final report to the Legislature, which proposes a reparations plan to repair the ongoing harms experienced by Black Californians as a result of the legacy of slavery.
For California to become a leader in the fight for reparations and justice, our panelists urged funders to endorse the California Reparations Task Force Report and the work of the California Reparations Task Force. Additionally, they encouraged funders to continue educating themselves and their partners on reparations work and to fund organizations supporting reparations.
Liberatory Philanthropy and Restorative Investing for a Reparative Economy
In this provocative conversation, Shawn Escoffery (Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation), Rodney Foxworth (Worthmore), Bulbul Gupta (Pacific Community Ventures), and Vivienne Lee (Common Future) explored the actionable ways philanthropy can repair the harms of racial capitalism and employ investing strategies that move towards a reparative economy.
Our panelists encouraged funders to learn what their foundations or institutions can do legally to dispel any legal misconceptions that might be holding them back from being bold. They also asked funders to push back and challenge ideas around capital preservation and other dominant ways of thinking in philanthropy and government. More than anything, they urged attendees to be brave, figure out what they would do, and just get to work!
Creating Equitable Access to Quality Jobs: Emerging Innovations and Partnerships
Ana Luz Gonzalez-Vasquez (UCLA Labor Center), Gaby Hernandez (ORALE: Organizing Rooted in Abolition Liberation and Empowerment), Yungsuhn Park (The James Irvine Foundation), Flor Rodriguez (CLEAN Carwash Worker Center), and Nosakhere Thomas (Inland Empire Black Worker Center) shared how they are integrating community organizing, advocacy, and power-building strategies to create equitable access to quality jobs and advance opportunities for low-income communities.
Our speakers advised funders to continue investing in creative partnerships and initiatives that follow the lead of community organizations working with impacted communities. They also encouraged funders to provide their partners with the unrestricted funds needed for these initiatives to flourish.
Remember The Future: An Embodied Experience Of Economic Liberation through the Arts
Art.coop artists and cultural organizers Clara Takarabe (Northwestern Music and Medicine) and Marina Lopez (Art.coop) guided our attendees in movement, conversation, and artmaking to understand how a liberated body can lead to a solidarity economy. Marina and Clara emphasized that we all need to rest to shift culture and build an economy that puts people and the planet over profit.
Marina and Clara prompted attendees to reflect on how their communities and workspaces create access and space to rest. They also advised attendees to ask their colleagues what rest means to them and to share what they learned from the session regarding the different kinds of rest. Additionally, they encouraged everyone working at foundations to inquire about moving money to individuals and groups so they can resource rest as an essential part of the work of the organizations/projects/individuals they fund. Lastly, they invited folks to join one of Art. Coop's funder cohorts and learn more about other opportunities by contacting Marina@art.coop.
The Real (and Unreal) Cost of Living in Southern California
In this breakout session, Sarah Bowles Carter (JPMorgan Chase & Co), Henry Gascon (United Ways of California), Eder Gaona-Macedo (The Fund for Santa Barbara), Jan Masaoka (California Association of Nonprofits), and Kimberly Starrs (Inland SoCal United Way) discussed the recently released study by United Ways of California "How Much it Costs to Struggle: The Real Cost Measure in California," which outlines the numerous economic hardships burdening working households.
Our speakers provided an overview of how their organizations are advancing equity and economic justice in their communities by investing in affordable housing initiatives, advocating for livable wages, and building public-private partnerships to create long-term prosperity. They encouraged other funders to focus on similar investments to address the current cost of living, including affordable housing, improving nonprofit worker wages, and funding equity-centered data collection. They also advised funders not to tackle complex problems individually but to instead focus on collaboration, especially regionally, with cross-sector partners.
The Art of Solidarity: How Three New Coalitions Are Creating a Culture of Mutual Support
Jacqueline Chun (The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation), Anne Ellegood (Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles), William Ing (The California Endowment), Liana Krupp (Krupp Family Foundation), Jon Rivera (Playwrights' Arena), Mike de la Rocha (Revolve Impact), and Kristin Sakoda (LA County Department of Arts and Culture) elevated three new coalitions led by artists and creatives that are shifting the paradigm from competition to collaboration by centering solidarity economics in their operations.
Our breakout speakers advised attendees to continue investing in arts and culture as critical components of collaboration and coalition building. They recommended investing in new groups of emerging collaboratives, such as organizations banding together to share infrastructure, engaging in joint fundraising, and operating in solidarity with one another. They emphasized that we can build collective equity and support workers' well-being by not perpetuating the culture of competition amongst nonprofits.
Centering Community Prosperity in a Reimagined Economy
In this breakout session, Natalie Foster (Economic Security Project), Autumn McDonald (New America), Joseph Tomás Mckellar (PICO California), Andre Oliver (The James Irvine Foundation), and Mike Russo (Catalyst California) outlined how philanthropy can shift our economic rules to allow for the equitable distribution of resources and help build sustainable and healthy communities.
Our breakout leaders recommended that attendees acknowledge the reality that we are all, at some point, complicit in our current economy. They stated that funders must first examine their roles as stakeholders and authors who can create the change they want to see in the world. While the topic is vast and overwhelming, they reminded attendees that reimagining our economy includes thinking about education, health, workforce, policy, and much more. They left funders with three critical questions: How can you connect with your current partners to learn about the solutions and changes they want to see, and how can you support that work beyond grantmaking? How can philanthropy be a better partner? What rules and norms can we remove to ensure communities are supported and resourced?