In philanthropy, ‘grassroots’ is often equated with ‘community’ and with ‘small-scale’. Grassroots solutions do come from the community, but they are not often small. And because grassroots solutions come from the people most impacted by the problem they seek to solve, they can be more effective and holistic in the problems they address.
As communities around California, the nation, and the world are facing increasing impacts and threats from the climate crisis, funders have a unique opportunity to invest in movements building locally, nationally, and internationally. The climate crisis demands that “business as usual” stop and transform, and that includes philanthropy.
In this two-part dialogue series, we will unpack the many different forms of grassroots action in confronting the climate crisis, and hear directly from frontline voices on the inroads for -and the hurdles facing -grassroots movements. We will also address the question, “What role does philanthropy play in supporting action towards justice, collective health, and sustainability?”
The CLIMA Fund and guest speakers from grassroots movements will connect the dots across the ecological and social crises, and how grassroots solutions are growing to meet the challenge. This two-part series will help you break down what that means for you and your grant portfolio. Participants will walk away from the series with a deeper understanding of how climate justice movements are advancing change, and how they can practically take action in support. Institutional funders, individual donors, and philanthropic advisors are encouraged to join.
Session 2 will unpack the nitty-gritty of funding grassroots movements and why the climate crisis requires action beyond borders. It will highlight key lessons of how funders1) are sharing or shifting power to their grantee partners, 2) challenges to/mistakes in accompanying social movements and how they have overcome them, and 3) opportunities for working with grassroots movements at this moment. We will also share resources for having conversations with colleagues and peers in philanthropy about climate justice and movement building.
Angie Chen, Senior Program Officer and Community Engagement Director, Libra Foundation
Angie (she/her) brings deep experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to her work at The Libra Foundation, with particular strengths in nurturing community and building coalitions. In her role, she leads Environmental and Climate Justice grantmaking and community engagement. As founding Executive Director of the Blue Sky Funders Forum, Angie created and oversaw all aspects of a national funder collaborative focused on expanding equitable access to opportunities to learn, play, and grow outdoors. Prior to Blue Sky, Angie served as an advisor to the Pisces Foundation during its formation and as Program Officer at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, where she supported capacity-building efforts during its spend down. Angie has also designed and managed strategic initiatives at the Pacific Forest & Watershed Lands Stewardship Council and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. And she previously consulted and worked at nonprofit and government organizations that provide safety net services.
Laura García, President and CEO, Greengrants Fund
Laura (she/her)is a Mexican feminist who has advocated for human rights, social justice, and civil society throughout her career. Before joining Global Greengrants, Laura served for seven years as the Executive Director of Fondo Semillas, a Mexican nonprofit organization that finances grassroots organizations to achieve gender equality. Laura has vast experience in grassroots philanthropy, human rights, and movements for social justice, and she has co-created networks to promote community philanthropy in the Global South. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Peace and Security, from King’s College, London. She currently serves on the boards of Oxfam Mexico, Justicia Transicional MX, El Día Después, and the Global Fund for Community Foundations.
Lindley Mease, Director, Climate Leaders in Movement Action (CLIMA) Fund (moderator)
Lindley (she/they) is dedicated to building solidarity for grassroots movements advancing just and regenerative solutions to climate change. In addition to coordinating the CLIMA Fund, Lindley is the Co-Founder of Blue Heart, an organization that organizes millennial donors to give to frontline organizations in the U.S. In these roles, she is working to advance accountable philanthropy and to elevate the stories of grassroots organizations building real political power. Lindley also teaches at Stanford University’s Design School; is a community mediator; an avid watercolorist and salsa dancer; and is a member of LeftRoots, a national formation of social movement activists.
Doria Robinson, Executive Director, Urban Tilth
Doria (she/her) is a third-generation resident of Richmond, California, and the Executive Director of Urban Tilth. Raised in a strong church community where her grandfather was the minister, Doria spent weekends and summers on the church’s 350-acre ranch in Fairfield, California. It was on the ATOT ranch where she was taught the power of cooperative economics by her grandfather. At Urban Tilth, she led the charge to develop the organization’s three-acre urban farm in Richmond and relaunched the Farm-to-Table CSA social entrepreneurial venture, which now serves hyper-local and sustainably grown produce to 440 west county families each week. Most recently she co-founded Cooperation Richmond, a not-for-profit cooperative developer and one-stop-shop for the incubation, education, training, mentorship, and capital support for cooperative enterprises in Richmond that build community-controlled wealth by and for low-income communities and communities of color.