Innovative
Grantmaking

We are resourcing organizations and efforts building the organizing, economic, political, and narrative power of Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color primarily in Virginia.

Our grantmaking focuses on building the power of Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color to transform the systems that have impacted their lives, across issues areas. We know power is multi-faceted which is why we support organizing, narrative, economic, and political power building. This represents a shift from an issue-focused lens to an intersectional and people-centered approach. Contact Us to learn more.

Organizing Power

Supporting grassroots community organizations and social justice movements led by People of Color who have been systems-impacted is the pathway to building advocacy and organizing power.

Economic Power

Building the wealth of Black and Indigenous people through land ownership and stewardship, and working for acknowledgment, apology, atonement, and repair of the generational harm of structural racism.

Political Power

Building political power to make democratic institutions more responsive to and more representative and inclusive of Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color.

NARRATIVE POWER​

Supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color authored narratives that challenge anti-Black, Native erasure, and racist narratives that have been used to advance structural racism.

Who, How, and where we Fund

Black, Indigenous, and
Communities of Color

The Foundation prioritizes funding to power building organizations that are led by and/or accountable to Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color. We proactively identify organizations building power through Staff research and input from grantee partners and community members, removing the burden on these organizations to find us and engage in time-intensive application processes.

Multi-year,
General Operating Support

We strive for the majority of funding to be multi-year, general operating support. We also provide limited program and capacity building support.

Commonwealth
of Virginia

We are committed to funding not just in Virginia’s major population centers, but across the Commonwealth, especially in rural areas, as well as regional efforts inclusive of Virginia.

LEGACY GRANTMAKING

In addition to our strategic grantmaking, the Foundation supports two legacy programs:

Weissberg Program in

Human Rights & Social Justice at Beloit College

The Weissberg Program in Human Rights & Social Justice empowers Beloit College students to take informed action to address complex global problems.  As founder of the Weissberg Foundation, intrepid traveler, and life-long learner, Marvin Weissberg’s interests and commitments ranged beyond municipal, even national borders.

A founding board member of the National Democratic Institute, he traveled the world as an election observer, building personal bonds with international activists and political leaders. These experiences shaped the development in 1998 of the Weissberg Program in Human Rights and Social Justice at Beloit College. To read more about the program, you can explore Beloit’s website.

Weissberg Commissions at

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Marvin Weissberg, and his partner of 17 years, Judith Morris, were lifelong supporters of the Washington, DC theatre community. Wolly Mammoth Theater was a beneficiary of Marvin and Judith’s philanthropy and from 2016-2019, participated in the Foundation’s Fund for Diversity in Theater.

Following Marvin’s passing, the Foundation supported Woolly in launching its first dedicated commissioning program.  Through the Weissberg Commissions, Woolly plans to honor Marvin by supporting art influenced by the Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia (DMV) region and/or with a focus on exploring racial justice.  The Weissberg Commissions will give generative artists the opportunity to innovate and take artistic risks in the creation of new theatrical works.

ARCHIVED GRANT Funds

The Foundation’s current grantmaking strategy has been informed by many of the learnings from past, archived funds including those below.

JustVA Fund

Total Funds
$1,725,000

Number of Organizations Supported:
10

The JustVA Fund supported efforts at the intersection of criminal and racial justice in Virginia. Virginia’s history of colonization and slavery have resulted in a longstanding legacy of racism that surfaces in the criminalization of Virginia residents who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Through this fund, the Foundation sought to support organizations working to make changes across the criminal legal system to advance critical shifts, ones that actively dismantle structural racism within the Commonwealth to create a more equitable and just world for Virginians.

The Fund supported Black, Indigenous, and People of Color led and centered organizations working in Virginia across various and intersecting issues in the criminal legal system actively making critical changes toward equity and justice. These organizations take a strong and active approach to anti-racism; uplift truthful narrative and amplify voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; center and celebrate the value and dignity of lived experience; intentionally and strategically build the power of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities; and take a holistic approach to their work around the criminal legal system that is intersectional, responsive to historical and present-day traumas, and allows for collective imagination in this work.

DMV Power: Disrupt, Move, Voice Power Fund

Total Funds
$1,484,000

Number of Organizations Supported:
10

The DMV Power Fund supported organizations dedicated to building power – through advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement – by and for People of Color in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia as a strategy to dismantle structural racism in pursuit of a more equitable region. Learnings from DMV Power largely informed the Foundation’s current grantmaking strategy which focuses on building organizing, economic, political, and narrative power in Virginia.

In January 2020, the Weissberg Foundation awarded four-year grants to ten organizations. Though each grantee partner took a different approach to how they disrupt, move, and voice power, each works to build leadership capacity and visibility of People of Color; brings a deep knowledge of their communities and an expansive understanding of issue areas; advances a societal infrastructure that works to shift hearts and minds, while also pushing systems and institutions to be more racially equitable; strategically uses advocacy, organizing, and/or civic engagement to advance systems-level reform; and makes meaningful success in achieving goals, including making transformational progress in advancing racial equity and building power in Communities of Color.

Equitable Justice

Total Funds
$685,000

Number of Organizations Supported:
7

The current US criminal justice system is built on a foundation of false narratives – it weaves together stories that tell the American public that People of Color can and should be criminalized; that system-impacted individuals cannot and do not stray from a pipeline; and that incarcerated bodies do not deserve the same value and care as those outside the walls of prisons and jails. Additionally, the criminal justice system does not accommodate the unique needs and circumstances of women, girls, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals, while disproportionally harming People of Color. Learnings from Equitable Justice largely informed the Foundation’s JustVA Fund.

Through Equitable Justice, the Weissberg Foundation sought to advance organizations and efforts approaching justice reform with an intersectional lens and centering system-impacted women girls, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals of color. The fund supported small, community-based organizations in Maryland, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, DC that were building the leadership and advocacy capacity of system-impacted women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals of color to advance equity and change the narrative about who they are, what our criminal justice system is, and what it can be.

Fund for Diversity in Theatre

Total Funds
$1,055,000

Number of Organizations Supported:
6

The Foundation believes in the power of theater (and art more broadly) to enhance our humanity, stir us to action, and connect us to each other while simultaneously entertaining us. However, along with many who care about theater and social justice, we were concerned about equity, diversity, and inclusion in theater—on the stage, behind the stage, and in the audience—and what this portends for the future vibrancy of theaters and the communities in which they exist.

Through our 2016-2019 Fund for Diversity in Theater, we sought to accomplish the following.

Tamara Copeland
Tamara Copeland

(she/her)
Chair, Independent Trustee

In 2019, Tamara retired as president of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers where she envisioned and implemented “Putting Racism on the Table”. Currently, she co-facilitates The Onion Dialogues, a racial justice training. In 2018, her memoir, Daughters of the Dream: Eight Girls from Richmond who grew up in the Civil Rights Era was published. Her latest book is REVEALED: A Once a Week Reading on Racism, Prejudice and Bias. She loves walking and traveling, having visited all fifty states and countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.