For-profit

Building Movement Project

Website:

www.buildingmovement.org

Location:

New York, NY

Type:

Progressive Consulting Firm

Formation:

1999

Executive Directors:

Frances Kunreuther and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

Building Movement Project is a left-of-center consulting firm producing research and offering training to social-justice organizations with a focus on racial equity. 1 Building Movement Project is fiscally sponsored by TSNE Mission Works, a left-leaning business consulting group focused on personnel management and advocacy for ethnic minorities. 2

Founding, History, and Activities

Building Movement Project was founded by 20 nonprofit workers in 1999 to build the capacity of other left-of-center organizations to drive social change. 3

To accomplish this goal, Building Movement Project offers consulting services to aligned organizations. These services include conducting research, 4 providing training and workshops for foundation employees, 5 and offering operational recommendations. 6

Building Movement Project focuses on three subject areas to impact the operations of tax-exempt organizations. The first is changing leadership within foundations to promote racial equity. 7 The second is altering internal processes within nonprofits to focus on racial equity. 8 The third is providing tax-exempt organizations with training, tools, and resources to improve their effectiveness. 9

Activities and Activism

Much of Building Movement Project’s research and consulting centers on left-wing race activism. For example, Building Movement Project has produced a series of reports on racial inequality and racial activism. In its report “#Black Workers Matter,” the Project condemned the principle of “color blindness” while urging readers to “recognize the unique impact of anti-Black racism.” 10 The opening of the report criticized America’s founding and free-market economic system: “From the founding of the United States, the black experience in this country has been defined by the fundamental contradiction posed by our system of racial capitalism.” 11

In its report “On the Frontlines: Nonprofits Led by People of Color Confront Covid-19 and Structural Racism,” the Project asserted that the United States is burdened with “structural racism,” describing the sometimes violent summer 2020 Black Lives Matters protests as “the uprisings of 2020 against anti-Black racism.” 12

In another report, Building Movement Project condemned what it considered as an excessive number of white leaders in Massachusetts nonprofits, blaming the low number of nonwhite leadership staff on racial bias despite the Bay State’s left-wing politics. 13

Attempting to reduce the number of white leaders of nonprofits is a consistent theme for Building Movement Project. To address the perceived bias of unequal representation, the Project pushes tax-exempt organizations to adopt left-of-center principles of intersectionality 14 and to build “pro-black” instead of race-blind organizations. 15

Outside of its reports, Building Moving Project also developed a race equity assessment called Building Blocks for Change that assesses the degree to which nonprofits adopt left-wing racial equity principles. The purpose of the assessment is to push organizations to “embed race equity into all facts of the organizations.” 16

People

Building Movement Project is co-directed by Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, a board member of Race Forward, a left-of-center organization advocating for racial and identity-based issues; Equity in the Center, a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm; National Council of Nonprofits, as network of 501(c)(3) member organizations; and NEO Philanthropy, a nonprofit that serves as a fiscal clearinghouse for left-of-center causes. 17 Thomas-Breitfeld previously worked as a director for training and education at Center for Community Change, a left-of-center nonprofit focuses on poverty, race, housing policy, and treatment of released prisoners. 18

References

  1.  “About.” Building Movement Project. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/about/
  2. “Building Movement Project.” Building Movement Project. Accessed Jun 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/.
  3.  “About.” Building Movement Project. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/about/.
  4. “About.” Building Movement Project. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/about/.
  5. “Speaking and Training.” Building Movement Project. Accessed Jun 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/engage/speaking-training/.
  6. “About.” Building Movement Project. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/about/.
  7. “Leadership.” Building Movement Project. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/our-work/leadership/.
  8. “Organizational Change.” Building Movement Project. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/our-work/social-change/.
  9. “Movement Building.” Building Movement Project. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/our-work/movement-building/.
  10. “#BlackWorkersMatter.” Building Movement Project. Accessed Jun2 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/reports/blackworkersmatter/.
  11. Thomas-Breitfeld, Sean, Linda Burnham, Steven Pitts, Marc Bayard, Algernon Austin. “#Black Workers Matter Report.” Building Movement Project. May 2015. Accessed June 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/black_workers_matter-report-2.pdf.
  12. “On the Frontlines: Nonprofits Led by People of Color Confront Covid-19 and Structural Racism.” 2020. Accessed Jun 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/On-the-Frontlines-COVID-Leaders-of-Color-Final-10.2.20.pdf.
  13. “The Burden of Bias in the Bay State: The Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap in Massachusetts. 2020. Accessed Jun 12, 2023. https://buildingmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Race-To-Lead-2019-Massachusetts-Final.pdf.
  14. “Race to Lead: An Initiative of Building Movement Project.” Accessed June 12, 2023. https://racetolead.org/.
  15. “Race to Lead: An Initiative of Building Movement Project.” Accessed June 12, 2023. https://racetolead.org/.
  16. Building Blocks for Change: A Race Equity Assessment By Building Movement Project.” Accessed June 12, 2023. https://www.buildingblocks4change.org/.
  17. Sean Thomas-Breitfeld: Experience.” LinkedIn. Accessed Jun 12, 2023. https://www.linkedin.com/in/seandtb/details/experience/.
  18. “Sean Thomas-Breitfeld: Experience.” LinkedIn. Accessed Jun 12, 2023. https://www.linkedin.com/in/seandtb/details/experience/.
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Building Movement Project


New York, NY