The Fund for Nonviolence is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation based in California. Primarily a grantmaking organization, the Fund provides financial support to left-of-center organizations that promote decreasing prison populations, reducing the size of the United States military, and abolishing the death penalty.  
Since its founding in 1997, the Fund for Nonviolence has been primarily supported by Sheilah Dorcy, an heiress to part of railroad tycoon James J. Hill’s fortune.   The organization distributes over a million dollars annually through its grant programs. In recent years, the Fund for Nonviolence has contributed significant grants to left-of-center organizations including the 8th Amendment Project, Equal Justice USA, the Movement for Black Lives, and Black Voters Matter.  
The Fund for Nonviolence was established in 1997 in Santa Cruz, California as a beneficiary of the estate of Sheilah Dorcy, the great-granddaughter of railroad tycoon James J. Hill.  Dorcy’s mother, Maud Hill Schroll, established a trust for Dorcy, creating her fortune. 
Betsy Fairbanks, the founder and president of the Fund for Nonviolence, met Dorcy in 1980. At the time, Fairbanks worked at the Eschaton Foundation, also known as the Resource Center for Nonviolence.  For over a decade, Fairbanks coordinated donations from Dorcy to various social advocacy organizations, including the Eschaton Foundation, and eventually became the conservator of Dorcy’s estate in 1995. The Fund for Nonviolence replaced the Eschaton Foundation as the beneficiary of Dorcy’s estate in 1997.
In 2008, Dorcy’s then-counsel sought to have Fairbanks removed from her capacities as conservator and trustee of of Dorcy’s trust after allegations of misconduct. Fairbanks eventually resigned.  However, contributions to the Fund for Nonviolence have continued through Dorcy’s fiduciary into 2018.  In 2019, Dorcy’s fiduciary contributed at least $10,000 to the production of a movie celebrating objectors to the Vietnam War draft titled The Boys who Said No! 
The Fund for Nonviolence is primarily a grantmaking organization which promotes left-of-center social policy. 
The Justice with Dignity grant program disburses funding to left-of-center organizations that work on prison population reduction and the elimination of the death penalty.  Under this program, the Fund for Nonviolence closely coordinates with the 8th Amendment Project, an activist organization that calls for the courts to order the abolition of capital punishment.  This program also supports campaigns to implement policies to reduce the incarcerated population in California.  A report released by the Fund for Nonviolence in 2014 called for new policies to focus on “public safety strategies” to reduce crime, instead of incarceration. 
The Lifting Voices of Resistance grant program aims to reduce the size of the United States military and end foreign military intervention. While Dorcy is not identified by name, the Fund credits an unnamed single donor’s activism against the Vietnam War for inspiring the program’s development. The program blames United States military intervention for global destabilization. In 2016, the Fund expanded the grantmaking program to include support for resistance to “white supremacy and white nationalism.” 
The program discontinued grants disbursed under the Latin American Program in 2012 and under the Program to End Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in 2005.  In 2004, the Fund for Nonviolence distributed over $100,000 in 2004 under its Voter Engagement Program. 
Recent Grant Recipients
The Fund for Nonviolence distributes over $1 million every year to various organizations through its two major grant programs. 
Since 2018, the Justice with Dignity program has allocated $420,000 dollars to the 8th Amendment Project and $713,000 to Equal Justice USA, another organization that advocates against capital punishment. 
Under the Lifting Voices of Resistance Program, the Fund for Nonviolence gave $20,000 in 2018 to the Movement for Black Lives, a self-declared “anti-capitalist” organization activist organization sponsored by the Alliance for Global Justice.  In 2019, the program donated $20,000 to the 501(c)(3) arm of Black Voters Matter, a political engagement organization that opposes voter identification requirements.  In 2017, the Lifting Voices of Resistance Program made donations of $14,000 and $10,000 to the Eschaton Foundation/Resource Center for Nonviolence. 
Sheilah Dorcy and her estate have provided the majority of financial support for the Fund for Nonviolence since its founding. In 2007, Dorcy made a personal donation of $4.8 million.  In 2015, the Sheilah Dorcy Trust contributed $1,000,000.  However, contributions of $700,000 and $2.1 million in 2017 and 2018 attributed to “Nancy Cronin, Trustee” displayed the same address as Dorcy’s 2015 contribution.  Cronin, a licensed professional fiduciary in California, was identified as a conservator and trustee of Dorcy’s estate and trust in 2013.  
Betsy Fairbanks is the president and CEO of the Fund for Nonviolence. Fairbanks worked for the Eschaton Foundation, which operates as the Resource Center for Nonviolence, before founding the Fund for Nonviolence in 1997.  Fairbanks also helped create the Tides Foundation’s Death Penalty Mobilization Fund, a grantmaking organization that works to end capital punishment in the United States. 
Pat Clark is the program and operations director of the Fund for Nonviolence. She has also worked as the director of philanthropic and field relations of the 8th Amendment Project and has served on the board of directors at the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center.