Maximizing the Moment: Engaging Funders in Regional Community Organizing

Posted on May 6, 2021

Community organizing works.

United by organizing as a central changemaking strategy to build power and advance racial justice, a group of funders – Organizing DMV – came together to consider how best to engage other funders around the effectiveness of community organizing. In early 2020, the group was continuing conversations around how to spread this critical message; it was decided that a report might be a compelling way to bring others into the conversation. As soon as we embarked on this work, it was clear that 2020 had other plans – for funders, for organizers, for communities locally and across the nation.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit our region hard – we saw a deadly virus disproportionally impacting our Black, Latinx, and people of color communities. And yet – in the face of new health, economic, and other challenges – organizers were there. They continued to support their communities in ways that were safe and innovative, learning and adapting to needs as we plunged deeper into the crisis. Amidst the pandemic, the starkness of these disparities catalyzed continued conversations around racial equity. Coupled with racial justice uprisings across the nation in response to deadly state violence, organizers dug their heels in to engage communities, coordinate networks of support, and push forward a powerful message of the need for Black liberation and an overhaul of oppressive systems of white supremacy.

This “moment” has been massive for organizers across the DMV, and this report seeks to shed light on the confluence of a history of regional power building and current events that have primed metropolitan Washington, DC for change. It underscores the importance of organizing, its evolution, and its impacts. It spotlights strategies, campaigns, and issue areas where momentum is building. It pushes funders to really understand this moment as a time to invest in organizing.

As the report concludes, “we support organizing because we know of no other way to upend the long-held power imbalance so that people who have been systematically disenfranchised can begin envisioning and building a better future. We know of no other model that can transform society we have into one that is just and where everyone has what they need to not merely survive, but to thrive.”

Join us in maximizing the moment.

Organizing DMV is a regional learning community centered on deepening funder engagement, knowledge, and support of DMV-based community organizing groups, efforts, and initiatives. We provide touch-points for local, regional, and national funders to better understand and familiarize themselves with the Greater Washington organizing infrastructure and happenings through events, discussions, publications, and more, in partnership with the organizing community. We seek to build and sustain relationships between the funding community, as well as between funders and organizers, to grow the funding capacity of the sector. We invite those interested to join us for deeper conversations around the power and purpose of community organizing.

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