Our organizational mission to achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty compels us to support advocacy efforts that focus on root causes and center the voices and experiences of people and communities most impacted by racism and poverty.
We must be unapologetic and bold in our pursuit to dismantle white supremacy.
We support advocacy that is explicitly antiracist and justice-oriented so that an equity ecosystem can be created where equity in education can become a reality.
As a philanthropic organization, this means using our monetary resources and social capital to support an advocacy agenda that reaches the people, institutions and systems that need to change and have the power and influence to create change.
The Memorial Fund’s advocacy agenda echoes the three-prong strategy that guides our grantmaking.
Building Community Power
Working in conjunction with grantee partners, we intend to help to build community power by supporting the advocacy efforts developed by grassroots and grasstops groups that challenge the narrative, practices and structures that create, ensure and perpetuate social and systemic inequities. The goals of this advocacy focus are to:
- Focus explicitly on the intersection of racial and economic equity, and
- Help to build trust and solidarity among communities most affected by poverty and racism.
Disrupting Institutional Inequity
We will work toward disrupting institutional inequity by addressing issues at the systemic and institutionalized level that perpetuate racial and economic disparities. Advocacy in this area will focus on schools, districts, political institutions, and other institutions that are involved in examining and pursuing change to educational policies, economic policies, public safety policies, and policies that create, ensure or perpetuate racial, economic and social disparities.
The goals of this advocacy focus are to:
- Critique policies, procedures and practices that disadvantage Black people, Indigenous people, people of color (often referred to collectively as BIPOC) and people living in poverty,
- Identify and seek change of problematic policies and practices so that the racial and/or economic status quo is challenged,
- Confront and denounce unjust events fueled by racism, elitism, classism and/or white supremacy, and
- Hold leaders accountable to their commitments to communities of color and people living in poverty.
Transforming Key Systems
We support efforts that apply pressure to transform the political and economic structures of the key systems that have historically harmed and continue to harm people of color, especially Black people and Native/indigenous people, and people living in intergenerational poverty. In particular, advocacy work in this area will provide support and legitimacy to historically disenfranchised groups and community groups that have not held the power to critique or change the systems oppressing them, especially when their anti-oppression work is deemed “political” or “controversial.” The goals of this advocacy focus are to:
- Prioritize lifting up approaches that are creative and capable of providing new solutions and methods that provide avenues and resources for the social mobility, economic and educational success, and liberation of BIPOC and people living in poverty,
- Push for establishing mechanisms whereby communities most affected by racism and poverty can hold local, state and official leaders accountable for changing oppressive laws and policies at the municipal and state level,
- Champion the implementation of community-driven solutions that create new systems and practices that challenge narratives and/or create new cultural narratives, and
- Put power and social capital behind the strategies that build systems or institutions that increase the prosperity and economic sustainability of communities of color by building wealth and social and financial assets.
Current grantees are welcome to contact Janée Woods, the Director of Organizational Culture, with information about advocacy needs and current campaigns that require support or partnership.