Funders for Justice (FFJ) is an online networking platform for left-of-center donors that focuses on race- and sex-based identity politics and reforming police conduct toward minority suspects and civilians.1 It developed in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and served as an organizer for donations.2
FFJ formed as a project of the Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG), a membership association of left-wing grantmaking institutions.3 Its website regularly features analysis and reports from left-of-center organizations with similar goals.4
Neighborhood Funders Group, in collaboration with the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and the Ford Foundation, launched Funders for Justice in late 2014 to support the issues raised by demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri. The protests (which later devolved into violent riots) broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an 18-year-old African American.5 The incident and succeeding demonstrations led the Black Lives Matter movement to popular notice. The Ford Foundation called the uprisings “an Ella Baker moment,” in reference to a 1960s civil rights activist, and it described FFJ as “a virtual information hub to help philanthropists and donors support efforts in Ferguson” and similar organizing efforts throughout the country.6
NFG’s Lorraine Ramirez became the FFJ program manager. She had ten years’ experience in community organizing and had previously worked in the U.S. Programs division of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), one of left-wing billionaire George Soros’s principal philanthropies.7
Platform for Liberal Donors
FFJ acts as a facilitator between left-wing donors and community organizers for issues regarding police accountability.8 It maintains a list of left-wing funders, affinity groups, and collaboratives as resources for activists seeking financial support.9 Some of the more well-known left-wing funders it promotes include the Akonadi Foundation, Arca Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and W.K. Kellog Foundation.
In addition to funding long-term activist projects, many of these organizations also provide “rapid-response” dollars for street demonstrators. This money covers “protest essentials” such as food, t-shirts with a unifying message, legal funding, “and bail money when demonstrators are jailed.”10
Platform for Liberal Reports and Analysis
FFJ’s website features articles and reports from ideologically aligned organizations and platforms. Many of these organizations promote left-wing, race- and sex-based identity politics and argue that U.S. police are racially biased and abusive.11 Many of these articles oppose current levels of police funding, arguing instead that cities should redirect much of these funds toward infrastructure and welfare programs.12
Many openly call for, and teach extremist “direct action” as protest tactics.13 For example, in November 2015, FFJ featured a guest post from ColorLines, touting the shutting down of a thoroughfare by hundreds of protesters in Minneapolis after a police shooting.14
On March 28, 2018, FFJ retweeted a protest video from the Chicago “No Cop Academy” protests by Assata’s Daughters, a group named after FBI-identified domestic terrorist Assata Shakur.15
The platform recently began a year-long FFJ Advisers program. Through this program, the organization chooses nine liberal activist leaders to advise through panels and workshops. The current 2017-18 list of advisers consists of:
Jenny Arwade, Communities United
Charlene Carruthers, Black Youth Project 100
Stephanie Guilloud, Project South
Kris Hayashi, Transgender Law Center
Mary Hooks, Southerners on New Ground
Anthony Newby, Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
Simran Noor, Center for Social Inclusion
Zach Norris, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.16
- Funders for Justice. Neighborhood Funders Group. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://www.nfg.org/fundersforjustice.
- “Resourcing the Movement for Black Lives.” Funders for Justice. February 19, 2017. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/resourcing-movement-black-lives/.
- Contact. Funders for Justice. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/contact/.
- Analysis and Reports. Funders for Justice. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/analysis-case-studies-reports/.
- Ramirez, Angelica. “Backing Protests: Funders for Justice Answer Activist Movements’ Call.” Neighborhood Funders Group. July 19, 2016. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://www.nfg.org/ffj_backing_protests.
- Ward, Eric K. “A Pivotal Moment for Racial Justice.” Ford Foundation. April 06, 2018. Accessed May 11, 2018. https://www.fordfoundation.org/ideas/equals-change-blog/posts/a-pivotal-moment-for-racial-justice/.
- Lorraine Ramirez. National Funders Group National Convening. Accessed May 11, 2018. https://nfg2016.sched.com/speaker/lorraineramirez1.
- Opportunities for Funders. Funders for Justice. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/opportunities-for-funders/.
- Funders, Affinity Groups, and Funder Collaboratives. Funders for Justice. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/funders-affinity-groups-and-funder-collaboratives/.
- Ramirez, Angelica. “Backing Protests: Funders for Justice Answer Activist Movements’ Call.” Neighborhood Funders Group. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://www.nfg.org/ffj_backing_protests.
- Analysis and Reports. Funders for Justice. Accessed May 13, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/analysis-case-studies-reports/.
- “Report: Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety & Security in Our Communities.” Funders for Justice. Accessed May 13, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/report-freedom-to-thrive-reimagining-safety-security-in-our-communities/.
- “From Protest to Power – Behind the scenes of disruptive social movements.” Funders for Justice. Accessed May 13, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/protest-to-power/.
- “Minneapolis Protestors Occupy Police Precinct, Shut Down Highway After Police Kill Jamar Clark.” Funders for Justice. February 19, 2017. Accessed May 11, 2018. http://fundersforjustice.org/minneapolis-protestors-occupy-police-precinct-shut-down-highway-after-police-kill-jamar-clark/.
- Assata’s Daughters. “We Done but Still Hype on #NoCopAcademy Thank You for All the Love & Support! We Love You, We We Love You! Pic.twitter.com/uV0agR55lt.” Twitter. March 28, 2018. Accessed May 11, 2018. https://twitter.com/AssataDaughters/status/979114354682597381.
- Funders for Justice Announces Inaugural Advisory Committee of Field Leaders. Grantmakers For Girls of Color. Accessed May 11, 2018. https://www.grantmakersforgirlsofcolor.org/resources-item/funders-justice-announces-inaugural-advisory-committee-field-leaders/.