Posted on September 5, 2017 | Hanh Le, Weissberg Foundation
New Frames to Help Us See More Clearly and Do More Effectively
Today we launch our new website! This is much more than a website redesign. It’s the official roll-out of our new strategic framework; an announcement of our newest grant initiative, the Reframing <Washington> Empowerment Fund; and the primary communications channel we will use to shine a light and turn the volume up on individuals, organizations, and issues we believe need to be seen and heard to advance social justice.
We invite you to visit the site – not just today, but on a regular basis. In many ways, our website has transitioned from a rudimentary wireframe to an intentionally constructed window frame. When visiting, you’ll learn what we’re about and what we’re doing, and increasingly you’ll see what our grantees and other partners are doing, and how we might collaborate to achieve shared objectives.
Read on for highlights of our new strategic framework and Reframing <Washington> Empowerment Fund. Then learn more by digging into our website, and share your suggestions for how we might use it to most effectively frame the issues we’re working to foster.
A New Strategic Framework: Greater Clarity with an Equity Lens
In June, the Weissberg Foundation board of directors adopted a new strategic framework that will guide our work through 2021 and potentially beyond. While maintaining our longstanding commitment to social justice, this new framework guides us to be more – more explicit about striving for racial equity, more intentional in leveraging all our assets, more committed to living the values we hold paramount, and more focused on the long-term investments needed to truly effect broader systems change for equity.
Our vision? A just world that recognizes inequities and builds access, opportunity, and power so that all can thrive. To achieve that vision, we will lift up organizations and efforts that give voice and opportunity to historically marginalized populations—particularly communities of color, those closest to incarceration, immigrants, and refugees. And we will do this through funding, amplification, capacity building, and collaboration.
Success in our eyes will be change agents from historically marginalized populations empowered to advance equitable and improved outcomes; organizations we support having strengthened capacity to operate sustainably and achieve their goals; and the foundation operating more equitably, effectively, and efficiently.
Specifically, we will focus on four program areas: Reframing <Washington> and Diversity in Theater in the DC area, the Weissberg Program in Human Rights at Beloit College in Wisconsin, and Criminal Justice Reform nationally. If you’re familiar with our former focus areas, you might think that missing are media and messaging and economic empowerment of women and girls. In actuality, we will seek to weave the thoughtful use of media, messaging, and storytelling through all of our program areas and strategies. And though women and girls is no longer a priority population, we hope to seek out where this population intersects with communities of color, those closest to incarceration, immigrants, and refugees.
Explore the full framework in the About section of our website and let us know what you think.
Reframing <Washington>: Empowerment Fund RFP
The Reframing <Washington> program area seeks to explore and support efforts to change how the greater Washington region sees and therefore transforms itself, particularly in terms of the flow and distribution of power, opportunity, and potential. This reframing can lead to system-level change toward racial equity and positive, community-driven outcomes for all the region’s residents.
The 2017-2018 Empowerment Fund is the inaugural grantmaking initiative of Reframing <Washington>. The fund will support small, community-based organizations in the DC region engaged in advocacy, organizing, and/or civic engagement to advance racial equity. Though our longer term vision is to support these organizations with larger, multi-year grants, we will award smaller, one-year grants in this first year as part of a broad scan of the advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement landscape in the region.
Eligible and interested organizations should submit letters of intent by September 22, 2017, so please spread the word. The complete request for proposals can be found here.
Framing Our Appreciation: No Selfies Here
The Weissberg Foundation board and staff have certainly been busy over the past year! That said, this work only builds upon our efforts over the last thirty years, work strengthened by contributions from numerous grantees, philanthropic peers, and other colleagues.
Thanks to former and longtime trustees and staff of the Foundation for laying a solid groundwork for our next chapter.
Thanks to current and former grantees both for the work you do to advance social justice and for giving us feedback on how we can do better. Special thanks to those we will no longer fund – your understanding of our need to shift gears and the implications of that have been so generous, and we hope we have managed the tapering of our support to you in respectful and helpful ways.
Thanks to the many colleagues at peer foundations and philanthropy support organizations that have shared your knowledge, your insights, and even your templates. Most importantly thank you for your shared commitment to social justice.
For all that we’ve done together and all that we are yet to do, we extend our deepest appreciation. Now let’s get back to work!
Hanh Le is the executive director of the Weissberg Foundation, where she oversees strategy development, stakeholder engagement, grantmaking, and operations. Prior to joining the foundation, she was the chief program officer at Exponent Philanthropy, where she led educational programming, content development, and internal learning efforts. Hanh has directed training, grant, and technical assistance programs for KaBOOM!, Community Technology Centers’ Network, and the Peace Corps.