Asset Funders Network (AFN)



Chicago, IL

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $2,786,750
Expenses: $2,727,235
Assets: $2,626,908


Grantmaking Network



President & CEO:

Joseph A. Antolin

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Asset Funders Network (AFN) is an alliance of grantmaking associations that fund left-of-center causes. Its roster of members includes corporate funders such as Target Foundation and Walmart, banking groups such as Charles Schwab and Bank of America Foundation, and left-of-center grantmakers such as the Foundation for Louisiana. 1

AFN aims to align its members policy, use of language, and funding priorities around “racial and economic justice.” To this end, it publishes research briefs, hosts webinars, and disseminates primers and tools aimed at facilitating conversations about race and equity. 2

Overview and Membership

Asset Funders Network is centered around its Realizing Economic Justice Platform, which aims to “dismantle systemic barriers” around race and gender. 3 AFN argues that ideas such as individual choices are sufficient close the “racial wealth gap” gap are “damaging myths.” It lists such choices as “attending college, raising children in a two-parent household, working full time, spending less,” and states that these are compounded by “injustices in our tax system.” 4

AFN hosts a biennial conference. As of February 2023, the 2024 session, which marks AFN’s 20-year anniversary, is set to take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is themed “Centering Economic Equity: The Power of Intentionality.” 5

Its members include banking-related entities Charles Schwab and Bank of America Foundation; corporate grantmakers such as eBay Foundation, T. Rowe Price, Walmart, and Target Foundation; and left-of-center nonprofit funders such as the California Wellness Foundation, Foundation for Louisiana (FFL), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, AARP, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Truist Foundation, Y & H Soda Foundation, and various branches of United Way. 6

Realizing Economic Justice Initiatives

On the Road to Racial and Economic Justice

Asset Funders Network’s “On the Road to Racial and Economic Justice” is a primer intended for corporate use and contains a webinar and a slideshow. The program includes polls aimed at corporations and nonprofits, with points of self-reflection such as “We are practiced in intentionally & explicitly implementing anti-racist policies and approaches into our philanthropic strategy,” and “We are not yet organizationally aligned or using the concept of antiracism approaches in philanthropic strategy.” 7

AFN also publishes a series of “Realizing Economic Justice Reflection Cards.” These are a series of 52 quotes and questions designed to spark meditation and discussion about racial justice in funding practices, such as “What will it take to understand and dismantle the ways in which anti-Blackness has impacted our grantmaking, organizational practices, and relationship with the community?” 8

Shared Language

Asset Funders Network published Shared Language, a glossary of terms intended for organizational use when navigating issues surrounding race relations and grantmaking. While many of the terms like “microaggression” and “anti-racist” have already entered the modern lexicon, the document contains lesser-known ideas like “brave space,” a purposefully engineered environment of (civil) controversy. The document also provides novel, counterintuitive definitions: for example, the definition for “color-blind or race-neutral grantmaking” states that this approach “either misidentifies symptoms of inequity as causes of inequity or ignores the role that race plays in causing, reinforcing, and perpetuating inequities, by not identifying systemic racism as the root cause of inequity and poor outcomes among people of color.” 9

Equity Amplifier

Asset Funders Network’s Equity Amplifier is a directory of nonprofits providing a monthly “spotlight” to draw attention to smaller, local organizations working on racial and economic justice. This project includes virtual interviews with the highlighted group’s organizational leaders, such as REMIX IDEAS and Advancing Black Entrepreneurship (ABE), which exclusively funds Black-led and owned businesses and was spotlighted in June of 2022. The program is hosted by Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation equity officer David Lewis. 10

Learning in Action

Asset Funders Network’s “Learning in Action” project highlights groups that have shifted their focus to more acutely reflect the racial justice facets of philanthropy. One such group is Washington state’s Sheng Yen Lu Foundation; its focus was initially on improved education and health outcomes for immigrants to Washington’s Puget Sound area. Its report stated that in 2017 Sheng Yen Lu “expanded our justice framework…to include social, economic, racial, and immigrant justice.” It also stated that although its actual funding for such projects was still “limited,” it was working to realize ideas for new funding in this area, and to develop a “shared language” between its board and staff members. 11

Equity Insights

AFN’s website hosts a series of research briefs and webinars called “Equity Insights.” One such brief complied by J.P. Morgan on business ownership analyzed according to race, age, and gender found that young, female entrepreneurs were more likely to be found in companies that grew “organically” but less common in companies with external financing, and their companies averaged 34 percent less starting revenue than those founded by men. 12

It also published a brief called Tackling Debt: Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap in the South outlining “The Southern Partnership to Reduce Debt” project. This initiative is in conjunction with the Aspen Institute, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Urban Institute, National Consumer Law Center, National League of Cities, and Prosperity Now. 13


Joseph A. Antolin is president and CEO of Asset Funders Network. He is the former founding principal of Antolin & Associates Consulting and is a former board chair of the Illinois Public Health Institute, where he remains the treasurer. He is also a former board member of the Three Sisters Kitchen and the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the former director of Early Childhood and Community Development at Catholic Charities in Chicago, Illinois. He also worked as a mentor for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Fellowship on racial and national equity. 14


  1.  “Our Members.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  2. “Shared Language.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  3. “What is Asset Building?” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  4.  “The Wealth Gap.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  5. “Accelerating Ideas into Action.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  6. “Our Members.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  7.  “On the Road to Racial and Economic Justice.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  8. “REJ Reflection Cards.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  9. “Shared Language.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  10. AFN. “AFN Presents Equity Amplifier – REMIX and ABE” Youtube. June 13, 2022. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  11.  Sheng Yen Lu Foundation. “Learning in Action.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  12. Farrell, Diana, Wheat, Christopher, Mac, Chi and the JPMorgan Chase & Co Institute. “Gender, Age, and Small Business Financial Outcomes.” AFN. March 17, 2019. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  13. “Tackling Debt: Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap in the South.” AFN. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  14. “Joseph A. Antolin.” Linkedin. Accessed February 5, 2024.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2019

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $2,786,750 $2,727,235 $2,626,908 $230,057 N $2,541,750 $245,000 $0 $598,397
    2020 Dec Form 990 $3,844,529 $1,927,021 $2,540,695 $203,359 N $3,734,529 $110,000 $0 $216,300
    2019 Dec Form 990 $2,096,785 $1,676,957 $493,301 $73,473 N $1,976,518 $120,267 $0 $173,715 PDF

    Asset Funders Network (AFN)

    2045 W GRAND AVENUE SUITE B 50387
    Chicago, IL 60612-1576