As the pandemic continues to unfold, fissures in the systems that are at the core of how this country operates have been magnified. These systems are failing women of color and their communities.
Women of color and survivors of violence are facing amplified risks as a direct result of the pandemic. We know that there is a surge in domestic violence and child abuse, racialized violence, and state violence against migrants and people in prison and detention. Women make up two-thirds of the roughly 24 million workers in the 40 lowest-paying jobs in America, many of which are deemed essential in this crisis. We know that over 30 million people continue to access unemployment, and with states reopening across the U.S. there is still the threat of another wave of COVID-19 outbreaks. And we know that this crisis is making billionaires out of millionaires through the stimulus package and other supports that prop up large multinational corporations while small businesses and community groups continue to struggle.
We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to support women of color survivors through this crisis and into the future, as well as to mobilize new philanthropic resources to this end. While survivors, women of color, gender non conforming and trans people of color will suffer at a disproportionate rate from the lasting effects of the public health and economic crises, they will also be the ones to build power and lead with creativity, brilliance, and interdependence.
For far too long, philanthropy has under-resourced women-of-color-led organizations, especially Black- and trans-led organizations, with only 0.6% going to efforts led by women of color. As Vanessa Daniels, Executive Director of Groundswell Fund, wrote in a New York Times op-ed, “Our misdirected philanthropy is costing us beyond measure. A mountain of evidence shows progressive victories are surging up from groups led by women of color, particularly black women, that build power on the ground — not trickling down from large Beltway organizations headed by white men.”
Yet there are some encouraging signs. During this period of COVID-19, we have seen philanthropy respond in exemplary ways: initiating rapid response funding, simplifying grantmaking processes, eliminating reporting requirements, and offering more multi-year support. We are excited to see these efforts, and hope that funding institutions will continue these practices to create a “new normal” within philanthropy. It’s a critical time for funders to step up — both in how we fund and how much we fund — if we want to ensure that lasting change can emerge from this crisis.
That’s why the Collective Future Fund continues to uphold our existing funding commitments and partnerships, and why we’re ever more committed to being nimble in our grantmaking. We will continue funding as a response to the ongoing crises, while also moving towards multi-year grants to help stabilize organizations that are led by survivors of violence and women of color.
As we navigate these perilous times, we hope the philanthropic community can come together to reimagine what is possible. We hope we can join together as philanthropy, survivors, and social movements to heal, resource, and mobilize toward creative, transformative solutions that prioritize and value the women of color and survivors who are leading the way to a collective future.