By Riki Wichins
20 June 2019
In many ways, social justice funding stands at a crossroads. The field has traditionally been animated by a strong impulse toward racial equity, using philanthropy as a means to challenge the infinite ways that that opportunity in America continues to be stratified by race and class.
At the same time, funders themselves are increasingly aware that race and class are “not enough,” that to really address complex and intractable issues of equity, there must be more. But what might that be?
One buzzy answer to this question is intersectionality—to recognize that those living in disinvested communities often must contend with several different kinds of oppression that interact, and that one or even two-dimensional models are not enough.
An intersectional approach can be particularly important when addressing individuals who make their lives at the borders of identity—who are not just black or Latinx, but also low-income, gay or trans, living with a disability, or living without proper immigration paperwork.
And then, of course, there’s also gender. Some social justice funders interpret addressing genderto mean increased equity for women and girls; others to mean funding issues affecting LGBTQ and other gender-nonconforming individuals.
By either measure, the field has far to go. Funding specifically devoted to women and girls totals only about 7 percent of total U.S. foundation grants (about $400 million); to LGBTQ issues, less than 2 percent (about $180 million).
And then there are gender norms. While virtually ignored in the U.S. when it comes to social justice funding, major international donors have thoroughly embraced it. Institutions like CARE, PEPFAR, UNAIDS, UNFPA, USAID, WHO and the World Bank have all implemented “gender transformative” initiatives that challenge rigid gender norms, and found them effective.
USAID no longer funds new programs that lack a strong analysis of gender norms and the inequities they cause; PEPFAR has made addressing masculine norms its No. 3 priority worldwide.
Read the full article on Inside Philanthropy.