Photo caption: During a Leadership Development + Learning Collaborative cohort convening, a Meyer grantee scribes their thoughts to the prompt "What motivates you to do this work?"

>> View a list of 2020 AFO grant awards sorted by portfolio

The Building Community portfolio supports organizations and collaboratives that demonstrate:

  • an understanding of structural oppressions, coupled with investments made to formally integrate equity throughout the organization's internal operations;
  • meaningful contributions of clients and communities in guiding the organization's work, along with mechanisms for remaining accountable to those communities;
  • connection between the organization’s work and efforts to address root causes and systemic conditions that hold disparities in place; and
  • implementation of strategies designed specifically to address the priorities of people of color, Indigenous communities and Tribes, immigrants or refugees.

Goal: Civic engagement, policy and leadership

A more inclusive, participatory democracy is essential for transforming structures that are based on exclusion and benefit the few rather than the many. Changing policies, processes and resource flows can increase the power of priority populations and encourage connection and belonging. To counteract entrenched individualism in our political, economic and social systems, relationships and power dynamics also need to be recast to encourage individual agency and the pursuit of common goals.

Intended outcomes

  • Equity centered policy: Equity centered policy: Public policies that address concerns of priority populations are developed and/or monitored.
    Support for leaders: Leaders from priority populations are supported in their roles to advocate for community concerns.
    Accountability: Policymakers are increasingly accountable to priority populations.

Examples of what we might fund

  • Programs that plan, develop, implement and advocate for policies that seek to eliminate disparities and advance equity
  • Pilot projects seeking to change institutional systems that create or perpetuate disadvantages for some communities over others
  • Approaches that utilize community organizing, civic participation and/or collective action as catalysts for systemic change
    Initiatives that seek to amplify the voices of under-represented communities in policy and political arenas
  • Healthy and sustainable collaborations based on trust and transformative rather than transactional relationships.
  • Use of restorative justice practices, destigmatizing the experiences of others and fostering cultural awareness and other approaches that build empathy.

These are only examples to illustrate the types of projects we might fund. We invite other ideas that would further our goals and intended outcomes.

Goal: Connection and belonging

Meaningful connections within and between communities build the sense of belonging that is essential for a just society. Creating and sustaining such connections requires acknowledging that we are all susceptible to dominant culture narratives that exclude and marginalize. To create community, we must articulate and embody an affirmative, long-term vision and name and hold central the world in which we want to live, rather than focusing solely on the one we do not want.

Intended outcomes

  • Dialogue and education: Public dialogue and education help to authentically address historic and current causes of disparities.
  • Shared narratives: Opportunities for priority populations to express their own stories increases understanding of shared narratives.

Examples of what we might fund

  • Initiatives that bring communities together by bridging divides and promoting healing and understanding.
  • Organizations that highlight the strengths and contributions of diverse communities, elevate underrepresented voices, and change the narrative through various forms of collective and self expression.
  • Creation of shared narratives that promote a sense of collective responsibilities.

These are only examples to illustrate the types of projects we might fund. We invite other ideas that would further our goals and intended outcomes.