Groundswell Pledges $100 Million to Women, TGNC People of Color

Groundswell Fund is a leading funder of electoral work led by women of color, and the largest funder of the U.S. reproductive justice movement. Its 2020-25 Blueprint promises to move $100 million to grassroots organizing and electoral efforts led by women of color, transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people of color.

According to the Blueprint, “Groundswell strengthens U.S. movements for reproductive and social justice by resourcing intersectional grassroots organizing and centering the leadership of women of color – particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and Transgender.” It does so through grants providing general and long-term support, capacity-building for grantee partners to help in organizing and engagement, and fund-raising assistance.

“At this critical time for our country and the planet, we need the leadership of women of color and TGNC people of color more than ever,” said Vanessa Daniel, founder and executive director of the San Francisco-based Groundswell Fund and Groundswell Action Fund. Daniel notes that decisive action is needed on many fronts including racial justice, climate change, COVID, and an economic crisis that is disproportionately affecting communities of color. “Movements are ready to meet this moment, and philanthropy must have their back in new and bold ways” says Daniel.

Funding such movements is nothing new for Groundswell, as over the last 15 years it has invested $65 million in women of color and TGNC people of color-led grassroots organizing efforts. The new blueprint promises a total of $100 million: $80 million via the Groundswell 501c3, and $20 million from the 501c4 Groundswell Action Fund.

Groundswell receives funds from 500 individual donors and 40 private foundations. Women of color and transgender people of color with grassroots organizing backgrounds allocate these funds, with a view to transforming giving and society. Groundswell supports over 150 intersectional organizing efforts in 47 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. Most of the recipient organizations are led by women of color and transgender people of color, and among Groundswell’s grantees are The Catalyst Fund, The Rapid Response Fund, The Birth Justice Fund, The Liberation Fund, and The Black Trans Fund.

Daniel notes the important role that Black women are playing politically. “Women of color, and particularly Black women, are the highest turnout, most progressive voters in the country,” she says. “From the streets to the ballot box, women of color and TGNC people of color showed up with bold demands and visionary leadership that helped avoid another four years of the Trump administration.” Black women leaders such as Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown were central in electing the Biden/Harris ticket. Daniel remarks that despite the strong turnout for progressive candidates among women of color, “they are almost completely shut out of the multi-billion-dollar field of electoral funding.” She further argues, “Resourcing women of color-led organizing in the electoral arena is not an addendum to winning – it is a requirement. That’s why year-round integrated civic engagement has been Groundswell Action Fund’s blueprint for success.”

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Groundswell will continue its long-standing efforts in supporting women of color and women of color led organizations, particularly those led by Black, Indigenous and Transgender women. Moreover, it plans to increase giving in the South, Midwest, and Southwest, and will pay “greater attention to the sustainability of leaders and organizations, including more resources for organizational development, healing justice, climate justice, legal support and data management.” The 2020-25 Blueprint further aims to increase collaborations among grantees across sectors and regions, and “among donors and funders who want a stronger political home to deepen their political education and learning.”

Groundswell Staff

Groundswell Fund has been funding grassroots social justice movements for 15 years. Following the 2016 election, Groundswell Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) sibling organization, launched, providing donors the opportunity to support the strongest and most promising WOC-led and TGNC-led 501(c)(4) organizations across the United States.


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Author: Tim Lehnert

Tim Lehnert is a writer and editor who lives in Cranston, Rhode Island. His articles and essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Providence Journal, Rhode Island Monthly, the Boston Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. He is the author of the book Rhode Island 101, and has published short fiction for kids and adults in a number of literary journals and magazines. He received an M.A. in Political Science from McGill University, and an M.A. in English from California State University, Northridge.

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