Building Equity & Alignment Initiative - UPDATE

For our readers, as a quick refresher:

Building Equity and Alignment for Impact (the BEA initiative) is a grassroots-led entity launched in July 2013, converging around a shared future vision for a more inclusive, connective, winning environmental movement. As developed by a majority-grassroots group along with allies from “big, national green” and philanthropic sectors, the goals of the BEA are clear and simple:

  • To expand the pool of resources available to the environment and overlapping progressive issues;
  • To shift that growing pool of available resources to more equitably service the grassroots organizing sector;
  • To break down historic barriers between big green, grassroots and funding sectors, building authentic relationships toward greater alignment and solidarity;
  • To shift the prevailing culture within philanthropy away from a top-down, funder-driven approach, and toward a base-building, bottom-up, collaborative approach.

After its initial convening at Wingspread last July, the initiative formed four workgroups: (1) a Communications team; (2) a Mapping team; (3) an Outreach team; and (4) a Weaver team, tasked with keeping the other three on track toward shared goals of the initiative.

Now to the good stuff!

In February, representatives from all of the workgroups presented two sessions for funders highlighting grassroots base-building work – both at the Environmental Grantmakers Association State of the States briefing and at an EDGE Funders Alliance event hosted by the East Michigan Environmental Action Council. Both events were packed and furthered the conversation among funders and grassroots groups about how sectors within the movement can partner more effectively and equitably. These meetings also highlighted the next stages of the Initiative, from the short-term through the end of 2014.

And more good news: in one of his last acts as Executive Director of Greenpeace, Phil Radford has agreed to host a reception and meeting between big greens and members of the BEA team in DC in early April, and will talk about his own involvement in the BEA as part of his Greenpeace legacy. This is a critical meeting as it solidifies the incredible support role Greenpeace has played in the BEA’s development, and sets the stage for connecting more big, national group allies to the grassroots organizing sector.

Overbrook is extremely proud to be able to offer support as the BEA continues to expand, bringing in new voices and lifting existing ones, and we look forward to reporting on future progress!

 For more details on specific BEA workgroups, contact Samantha Harvey at Overbrook: sharvey@overbrook.org.