Increasing Impact & Shifting Power: Community-led grantmaking with pooled funds

Increasing Impact & Shifting Power: Community-led grantmaking with pooled funds

Image: Participants with Acta Non Verba, an organization supported by the Bese Saka regranting pool. Photo courtesy Acta Non Verba.

This moment calls on all of us to act differently. The practice of community-led grantmaking centers those closest to the problems, challenges philanthropic power structures, and ensures that grantmaking is collaborative. SFF staff curated this list of funds where you can collaborate with other donors to have a greater and more coordinated impact while giving Black, Indigenous, and people of color the decision-making power to implement the most impactful solutions affecting their communities.  Providing grantmaking dollars to these funds is an effective equity-based grantmaking practice that gives communities the power to drive resources where they are most needed.  

Funds at SFF
FAITHS (Foundation Alliance with Interfaith to Heal Society)

Interfaith and Race Relations 

FAITHS is a multi-faith network of more than 600 congregations, faith-based agencies, and community organizations that address racial and economic equity issues in the five Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo). The program provides grants to strengthen interfaith and race relations, increase civic and cultural participation, develop leaders, and provide community services to low-income communities of color. Grantmaking decisions are made by a committee of members of the FAITHS network. 

Donor Center Specifics:
Grantee Name: The San Francisco Foundation
Short Purpose: To support the FAITHS Pooled Fund for Re-Granting 


Koshland Neighborhood Fellowship Program

Leadership in Bay Area Communities of Color 

For 40 years, the Koshland Neighborhood Fellowship Program has recognized Bay Area grassroots leaders by making a five-year $300K investment in them and their communities. Every year, SFF selects a new neighborhood and local cohort of up to 12 frontline leaders committed to improving lives in their neighborhoods. To date, the program has cultivated more than 500 fellows in nearly 30 neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area. In addition to leadership development training, each fellow regrants $5k to a nonprofit in their neighborhood, and collectively the cohort creates a new project or regrants $300k to an ongoing program or organization to create more opportunities for the residents of that neighborhood. 

Donor Center Specifics:
Grantee Name: The San Francisco Foundation
Short Purpose: To support the Koshland Neighborhood Fellowship Pooled Fund for Re-granting  


ReWork the Bay

Bay Area Workers 

ReWork the Bay is an initiative hosted by SFF that centers the voices, power, and needs of Bay Area working people to redesign a more just, inclusive and sustainable economy.  The initiative brings together leaders in economic justice, education, training, business, and philanthropy to take bold, urgent action to create a prosperous Bay Area for all, especially working people.  After nearly two decades operating as a funder-led collaborative, a working group of community leaders, funders, and ReWork staff are crafting a new governance and decision-making structure for ReWork the Bay that will empower frontline community organization and public system leaders to make grant decisions for ReWork’s $1.5m pooled fund, currently supported through contributions from 11 local, state and national foundations. 

Donor Center Specifics: 
Grantee Name: The San Francisco Foundation
Short Purpose: To support the ReWork Pooled Fund for Re-Granting


Outside Funds Where SFF Contributes
Bese Saka

Black-led Organizations 

The Bese Saka Initiative, led by the Oakland-based Brotherhood of Elders, and financially supported by the San Francisco Foundation, is a community-created and -guided program for 18 Black-led organizations doing power-building work. Bese Saka, a symbol for the cola nut, has multiple meanings in West African culture. It represents affluence, trade, and commerce, while also symbolizing plenty and togetherness, and was chosen by the group as the initiative name. 

The group convenes quarterly to focus on healing, building the strength of their organizations and community, and reimagining the kind of love and power needed in these times.  Each organization received $75,000 a year for two years to focus on capacity building, organizing, policy, and advocacy work. In addition to convening, the group of Black leaders re-granted $500K to date to 12 Black-led organizations in Oakland. 

Donor Center Specifics:
Grantee Name: Brotherhood of Elders Network
Short Purpose: To support Bese Saka regranting pool 


CA Black Freedom Fund

Organizing and Advocacy in Black Communities, Statewide 

The California Black Freedom Fund is a five-year, $100 million initiative to ensure that Black power-building and movement-based organizations have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism. 

 The first state-based fund of its kind, the California Black Freedom Fund prioritizes investments in the courageous and visionary grassroots advocates and community leaders who are transforming our cities, our state — and our world. In its first round of grantmaking, the California Black Freedom Fund invested over $6 million to support three established Black networks with proven, long-term working relationships with more than 50 Black-led organizations across the state 

Donor Center Specifics
Grantee Name: Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Short Purpose: For the California Black Freedom Fund 


Fund for an Inclusive California

Power-building and Housing Justice, Statewide 

The Fund for an Inclusive California works to resource the leading edge of grassroots-driven housing solutions. The fund builds the power of communities of color by investing in local, community leadership and organizing to ensure their voices are heard in the housing policy process. The fund has significantly increased resources for community-led work, and brings together local grassroots organizations in the housing justice ecosystem (called community advisors) to determine strategic priorities, needed investments, and to set the overarching strategy on how the resources are distributed. Over the last five years, Fund for an Inclusive California has provided $10.2 million in grants to over 50 community organizations.  

Donor Center Specifics
Grantee Name: Common Counsel Foundation
Short Purpose: To support the Fund for an Inclusive CA 


PIVOT (Powerful Innovations for Voter Organizing and Transformation)

Power-building and civic engagement, Statewide 

Recognizing the need for year-round organizing by community power building organizations, The PIVOT pooled fund was created with the aim to reverse widening wealth inequality and fight for racial justice. The pooled fund aims to raise $25-30 million, which will be spent out over the next three years (2023 – 2026) on key California power building innovations and infrastructure. Specifically, the fund will focus on infrastructure for organizing, narrative and strategic communications, and independent revenue generation. The PIVOT steering committee, which is made up of organizers and funders, sets the priorities and parameters for the grant dollars. 

Donor Center Specifics
Grantee Name: PIVOT
Short Purpose: To support PIVOT’s  Powerbuilding Fund 


Youth Power Fund

Youth Organizing 

Launched in 2019, the Youth Power Fund is a network of foundations and individual donors committed to creating more equitable, just, and effective social, economic, and political systems, starting with the San Francisco Bay Area and expanding to adjacent regions. Collectively, members center youth organizing groups in advancing justice and equity for their communities. They intentionally cultivate and develop young leaders, particularly young BIPOC leaders, bringing them to the decision-making table to co-create activities, strategy and shared learning agenda.  Since its founding in 2019, YPF has granted $750K to youth organizing nonprofits throughout the Bay Area.   

Donor Center Specifics
Grantee Name:  Amalgamated Charitable Foundation
Short Purpose: To support the Youth Power Fund of the Northern California Youth Organizing Funders Collaborative