The mission of the Memorial Fund is to achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty. We are committed to working in closer proximity to the people most affected by racism and poverty, most of whom live in communities with high rates of poverty and concentration of people of color. We seek this proximity to be in stronger relationship with these communities so that we can become more adept at centering the wisdom of the people most negatively impacted by racism and poverty, including grassroots-led organizations and groups. We acknowledge the power dynamics that are likely to interfere with our ability as a funder to build relationships with the communities we are supporting.

Therefore, we think the best strategy is to engage Local Advisors to represent the interests of their community. The Local Advisors will be individuals with strong ties to their community, who are trusted by their fellow community members and who have a deep understanding of the work that is happening locally to address racial, economic and educational inequities within their community.

We hope that the Local Advisor program will:

  • Create a greater understanding of how the Memorial Fund's grantmaking work fits within the broader context of what the people most affected by racism and poverty would like the Memorial Fund and other philanthropic leaders to invest in.
  • Develop a relationship-based structure for the continuous exchange of ideas between the Memorial Fund and the grassroots communities.
  • Amplify the voice of people most affected in order to influence other funders.

The Local Advisor program might include work such as:

  • Inviting a small group of grantees to serve as an advisory group for the Program.
  • Hosting capacity building and peer exchange meetings for local, grassroots organizers and advocates to share their experiences and learning.
  • Facilitating meetings between “Local Advisors” and the Memorial Fund’s staff to build relationships, engage in mutual learning, and exchange of ideas.

Please stay tuned for more as we roll out this new and exciting program!