Organizing for Change

Many grantmakers have added organizing to the strategies they support to effect social or policy change, and some participate in funder collaboratives to leverage national and local support for community organizing in education, immigrant rights, environmental justice, and other areas. As an experienced grantmaker explained, “You can fund experts, or you can fund grassroots folks working to build their own objectives — or you can fund both, in partnership, because both play a role in getting change that communities really own.” Organizing coalitions, he argued, have also brought new opportunities for leverage: “By supporting a few strong groups around the country,” he said, “you can help build better policies that other groups can take up.” The overall lesson is that community organizing has more power than ever before; it’s no longer a marginalized effort. Community organizing groups have enough reach, experience, and credibility that foundations need to consider them critical players when thinking through how to achieve program goals in many areas. Funders, for their part, “are a lot more sophisticated about funding organizing,” a grantmaker added. “The country’s ready for community organizing, and foundations are ready to take it on.”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Funding Community Organizing.