In the coming year, the Building Community portfolio will be working differently — keeping some elements of our approach and refining others.
Building Community will not have an open funding call during Meyer’s fiscal year (April 2019-March 2020) and instead will provide the more focused funding opportunities described below. This change is intended to test some emerging themes, clarify our focus and be more strategic in supporting Meyer’s overarching goals.
What we are keeping
Our vision remains clear: The Building Community portfolio is working toward a just, complex, multicultural society where everyone can thrive.
We know that when we prioritize racial equity, we are more successful in creating change that benefits everyone. We know that issues and identities don’t exist in isolation; they overlap and intersect in many ways, so we have to embrace the multifaceted nature of our work. We know that impacted communities have expertise that needs to be understood and ideas that need to be resourced. We know that real social change cannot be created at the surface level; we have to address underlying and systemic causes to get to an equitable society.
When it comes to working with organizations, we know we will continue funding those that:
- actively demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion;
- center and remain accountable to the communities they serve; and
- connect their work to broader systems-change efforts.
These are our cornerstones; they will guide us in the coming year and beyond.
Funding in 2019
With this understanding, we will offer $2.5 million of core support this year by invitation to key organizations that demonstrate strong, ongoing alignment with Building Community’s three anchor criteria. Portfolio staff are contacting eligible organizations directly and will extend all invitations by April 15.
What we are refining
Our team will be spending more time connecting with the field this year, identifying gaps and opportunities, and organizing and participating in conversations about a handful of topics related to our vision and goals. Part of this exploration will involve learning about how to shift power and where we can create common analysis in service of transformational change for equitable outcomes. Along these lines, we anticipate doing an examination of work related to topics like immigration, democracy and wealth creation.
We will also look inward and explore some questions related to how we work. How can we continue to engage more and more meaningfully with the field? (After all, we expect our partnering organizations to do this!) How can we streamline and reduce unintended barriers for communities and organizations that have been historically and are presently under resourced?
Funding in 2019
This spring we will launch a targeted request for proposals related to a question that has come up in different forms for the past three years: How can we support groups that primarily focus on providing direct services and also want to build stronger connections to systemic change? Total funding for the RFP will be approximately $1 million, and grantees will be asked and supported to participate in a learning cohort. We anticipate releasing full details about the opportunity in May.
At this point, we can’t say for sure what our funding focus or approach will look like after this next year, but we are committed to reporting back to the field. We will share information about activities and engagement opportunities as plans take shape throughout the year. (You can sign up for our newsletter here to be sure you get the word.) In the meantime, send us a note at questions [at] mmt.org with questions. We will compile them and respond to the field.