The Movement Building Program is the newest initiative of The Overbrook Foundation. While still in its early development and recognizing that its parameters remain a work in progress, its focus will be on understanding and supporting specific movements – rather than specific organizations or issues – to make them stronger, more resilient, and more impactful.
Below are the Foundation’s 2015 movement building grantees.
General Operating Support - $210,000 (first payment of a three-year grant)
The Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative (BEA), a fiscally-sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy, is a collaborative, grassroots-led initiative launched with the support of The Overbrook Foundation in 2013, converging around a shared future vision for a more inclusive, connective, winning environmental movement. The objectives to reach that future, as envisioned by BEA’s grassroots leaders, national environmental organizations and funder representatives are to: shift resources to more equitably service the grassroots organizing sector; dismantle historic barriers among mainstream environmental, grassroots and funding sectors, build authentic relationships toward greater alignment and solidarity; and support the philanthropic sector to prioritize a base-building, collaborative approach over a top-down, funder-driven culture.
The Extreme Energy Extraction Collaborative (E3C) is a grassroots, frontline community-led effort to create a fruitful collaborative space for diverse groups across the country that are fighting extreme energy extraction—including coal, gas, oil, tar sands, uranium, and industrial biomass. E3C was launched in 2012 by Catskill Mountainkeeper and several organizers from coal country; Mountainkeeper continues to play a key role in the Collaborative, serving as fiscal agent and providing critical strategic and administrative support as it works with partners to develop relationships and a shared framework across issues, making its local work stronger and its collective voice larger.
The central activity of the E3C is a series of bi-annual Summits, which bring together a diverse collection of stakeholders—including organizers, activists, and representatives of both frontline and “big green” groups—to 1) learn from each other, 2) develop shared language and analysis, 3) build individual and institutional relationships, and 4) develop concrete collaborative projects. Rather than attempting to form a formal coalition with a unified national strategy, E3C has focused on building the capacity for cross-sector collaboration in the environmental movement. This approach is rooted in the belief that changes in the daily practice of working organizers, rather than ambitious national agendas disconnected from the grassroots, are the keys to a more unified and effective movement.
General Operating Support - $30,000
The Center for Story-based Strategy (CSS) is a national movement-building organization dedicated to harnessing the power of narrative for social change. The organization offers social justice networks, alliances and organizations the analysis, training and strategic support to change the story on the issues that matter most. Since 2002, CSS has trained over 5,000 change-agents to be transformative storytellers. Through partnerships and direct-support services, CSS collaborated with over 300 organizations to win critical campaigns.
General Operating Support - $50,000
The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) is a national alliance of community-based organizations confronting the environmental, economic and social impacts of polluting, extractive industries. In 2013, CJA launched the Our Power Campaign (OPC) to unite these communities around a common vision – to transform the economy in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, restore equity, and put decision-making in the hands of communities. CJA uses core strategies of building new economic institutions, changing policy and economic development priorities of cities, states – and ultimately the federal government – moving money and capital to these efforts, and building a powerful, broad-based climate justice movement. The OPC promotes a “Just Transition” agenda to create jobs and livelihoods: Clean Community Energy, Local Agriculture, Zero Waste, Public Transportation, Efficient, Affordable, and Durable Housing, Ecosystem Restoration and Stewardship. CJA was a core partner in organizing the Peoples’ Climate March (PCM), the largest climate march in history and the largest-ever environmental justice mobilization. CJA organized nearly 20,000 people from communities of color, indigenous and low-income white communities to lead the march under the banner “Frontline of the Crisis, Forefront of Change.” CJA wants to build upon the success and energy of the PCM.
Campaign For Healthier Solutions - $25,000
Coming Clean is a campaigning collaborative that promotes human health, environmental protection, and economic fairness. Its mission is to reform the chemical and energy industries through policy and market transformations so they are no longer a source of harm. It works to drive and secure systemic changes that would allow a safe chemical and clean energy economy to flourish for generations to come.
In February 2015, Coming Clean launched the Campaign for Healthier Solutions (the “Campaign”), an exciting new environmental justice (EJ) market campaign to get toxic products off the shelves of discount retail stores (also known as “Dollar Stores”), and support economic and environmental justice in disenfranchised communities. The campaign combines smart strategies and best practices and includes partnerships that are vast and range from grassroots organizing campaigns to investor organizations. Using strategies with a strong foundation in precaution, justice and human rights, the Campaign seeks to move these retailers to better protect their customers and the communities in which they operate, and to grow their businesses, by implementing corporate policies that identify and phase out harmful chemicals in the products and goods they sell.
Just Transition Learning Collaborative - $25,000
EDGE Funders is a network of funders and donors committed to global social change philanthropy, who believe that equity and justice are critical to furthering sustainable international well-being. The EDGE Funders community has been inspired by and learned from movements around the world. These movements will inform EDGE Funders’ efforts to bring together thinking and practice, and to advance the notion of a transition to a more ecologically responsible and equitable economy and society.
Over the coming year EDGE Funders will work with its members and allies to build a co-learning and strategy collaborative to deepen understanding of “just transition” narratives and practice, encouraging funders to learn from, engage with and provide funding to community-based groups, movement-support organizations and policy advocacy institutes building systemic alternatives at local, national and international levels.
General Operating Support - $50,000
Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) is an alliance of U.S.-based grassroots organizing groups organizing to build an agenda for power for working and poor people and communities of color. GGJ focuses on bringing organizations into a long-term process of relationship building, political alignment and the development of transformational leadership. The membership of GGJ adopted a framework in 2011 that calls for a holistic approach to building grassroots global justice: No War, No Warming, Build an Economy for the People and the Planet. GGJ echoes the framework of Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophy of the Triple Evils of Poverty, Racism and Militarism and integrates the current day pressing issue of climate and environmental sustainability. GGJ weaves and bridges together U.S.-based Grass Roots Organizing groups and global social movements working for climate justice, an end to war, and a just transition to a new economy that is better for people and the planet.
General Operating Support - $20,000
The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy is a non-profit, public interest law firm and justice center based in Slidell, Louisiana. The mission of The Center is to build, serve and advocate for structural shifts that promote equity in law, society, and community. The Gulf Coast Center envisions social, economic and political systems throughout the Gulf Coast that promote equity and justice for all people. Through human rights-based legal services, community training, local leadership development and grassroots advocacy, The Center works to balance social structures in alliance with marginalized communities of the Gulf South, including the indigenous community, the Vietnamese fisher folk, and the Black communities displaced and affected by climate and ecological injustice. The Center’s programmatic work and community campaigns emerge from the coastal communities on the frontlines of climate change. Each year, The Center trains and supports over 100 leaders in the Gulf South states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. As a legal advocacy organization, The Center focuses on migrant and immigration rights. Since 2010, The Center has secured over $1 million in claims for communities and families affected by the BP oil spill and its effects.
In 2014, The Center launched the Gulf South Rising initiative with over 100 national allies and partners from across the region to coordinate over 25 commemorative actions and events to amplify 10 years of resistance and to increase frontline community organizing to ensure long-term solutions to climate-based disasters. The Center contributes a southern perspective on issues that have national impact and global influence.
General Operating Support - $30,000
UPROSE is an intergenerational, multi-racial, nationally-recognized community organization that promotes the sustainability and resiliency of the Sunset Park community in Brooklyn through community organizing, education, leadership development and cultural/artistic expression. UPROSE’s work encompasses a variety of environmental justice and public health initiatives, from the development of the waterfront and local brownfields, to transportation, open space and air quality needs, to educational and youth empowerment campaigns. UPROSE achieves its mission by working directly with the community it serves on a grassroots level; in particular, much of its work engages community youth. Each year UPROSE trains hundreds of youth between the ages of 12 and 21 in community-based planning, leadership and organizing around social and environmental justice. UPROSE uses art and digital media to encourage and sustain intergenerational community engagement. UPROSE has colorful kite building workshops to educate the community about clean air, art builds to learn about climate change, poetry to lend a voice, music to introduce across cultural appreciation, theatre and storytelling. Young people also use digital media to create educational and artistic info-graphs.
UPROSE has achieved multiple groundbreaking accomplishments in community-based planning and development. Last year its giant sunflowers were seen throughout the world as they led the largest climate march in history- UPROSE played a leadership role
in organizing the People's Climate March. The UPROSE 4th NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit was attended by 750 young people. UPROSE also launched the first block-by-block community plan to make Sunset Park climate adaptable and resilient, the Sunset Park Climate Justice Community Resiliency Center.
General Operating Support - $30,000
The Wildfire Project (Wildfire) trains, supports, and links grassroots groups in order to lay the foundation for a network that helps grow a broad and powerful movement for social, political, economic, and ecological justice. Using democratic, experiential methods, the Wildfire Project fuses political education, skills training, group development, and direct organizing support in a curriculum tailored to specific needs of groups in action. Wildfire develops leadership in and of front-line groups, maintains long-term contact with the communities with which it works, and creates frameworks for work between groups and across issue lines to form a strong base of organizers ready to stand up to crisis collectively and win the world we all deserve.