Building Grassroots Leadership and Voices in Philanthropy

Since I became Director of Grassroots Grantmakers almost 3 years ago, it has been my pleasure to meet amazing people and witness inspiring work.  I’m writing to ask you to support us with a donation or by joining us.

As a newcomer to the field of philanthropy, I have come to understand how Grassroots Grantmakers’ work elevating grassroots leadership in communities and philanthropy can play a vital role in strengthening democracy, building communities and improving grantmaking. In my meetings this year with over 50 funders in Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, I have heard repeatedly the desire to democratize philanthropy and connect meaningfully with local residents.

At Grassroots Grantmakers, we seek to support our members in the practice of reimagining relationships with grantees in the neighborhoods and issues areas in which they invest. We do this by connecting you with peers who are also learning and growing their grassroots grantmaking programs.  A key aspect of our work is to address the meaning of equity, dismantling structural racism and practicing inclusion in grantmaking as part of the learning context.

In 2017 we:

  • Launched a regional strategy, through which we seek to meaningfully connect with grassroots grantmaking leaders and their networks in targeted local areas. Our On the Ground learning event now provides a basis for ongoing communities of practice, as can our learning programs.
  • Launched a learning program to build community through tailored programs that allow for peer learning and the practice of processes that build grassroots leadership in grantmaking.
  • Created or joined three new collaborations that will raise the profile of grassroots grantmaking and increase the amount of funds flowing to the grassroots and the deep roots.
  • Welcomed participants to our signature event, On the Ground. From September 13 – 16, a committed group of funders and their resident partners from Flint, Baltimore, Detroit, Omaha, New Jersey, Ohio, Atlanta and other locations came together with Pittsburgh funders and their resident partners for a deep learning event that offered peer learning, renewal, and the opportunities to reimagine the work of funding in communities.
  • Offered tailored learning programs in Denver and Atlanta, working with local funders and resident leaders to support meaningful resident engagement in philanthropy. In Atlanta, the participants have decided to work together into the future to improve their practice of grassroots grantmaking.
  • Launched our new Online Membership Database CRM platformto increase our efficiency in technical systems and relationship management. This membership mailing is our first activity using NEON, and we look forward to better informing and serving you.

A membership in Grassroots Grantmakers demonstrates your support for increasing grassroots leadership in philanthropy and community, and provides you with unique resources:

  • Access to a community of like-minded professionals and community practitioners who are eager to share their practice and ideas about centering resident perspectives and meaningfully involving resident partners in grantmaking.
  • Technical Assistance and Collaboration – As a member, you will have priority access to staff for consultation and assistance with greatly reduced costs as we expand our local learning programs nationally.
  • Promotion of your successes on our website, blogs, podcasts, and social media avenues.
  • Signature Events – Priority notification of Grassroots Grantmakers sponsored events and opportunities to participate in special initiatives that we learn about through our national partners and connections.
  • Discounted registration for many Grassroots Grantmakers events.
  • Our website –  https://www.grassrootsgrantmakers.org/, which contains a wealth of resources from funders who have been doing grassroots grantmaking and sharing what they’ve learned.

I am excited about what we can accomplish together. As we continue to learn from the inspiring examples around us, and as we face ever more challenging conditions, we know your work and our work together can make a positive difference.  We hope you will join Grassroots Grantmakers to help strengthen grassroots voices in philanthropy today.

With gratitude for your commitment to powerful local philanthropy with everyday people at the center, we wish you every success in your work.

In Hope and Solidarity,

Lisa Durán

Executive Director


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