The East Bay Community Foundation is helping build a community that is worthy of the people who call this amazing place home.
Building a just East Bay requires transforming our power structures to promote equity, including in philanthropy.
This year we are living through compounding and concurrent crises. In one deeply challenging moment, we have faced a health crisis and economic fallout, unemployment and housing insecurity, anti-Black racism and white supremacy, and attacks on our democracy. The burden of each of these crises is disproportionately landing on people of color and people surviving on low wages. This moment has revealed what many have known – that our racialized history continues to live on today and threatens the lives and livelihoods of so many in our country and in our community.
The full context of what we are responding to is immense. We know it is rooted in specific systems that we can identify, take apart, and transform. Working together, our community can play our part in bringing about a vision that builds upon ideas of racial equity and justice to create a community where our racial diversity is understood as an asset, and the people and cultures we represent are celebrated.
Watch the Virtual Town Hall – A Just East Bay: From Response to Transformation
We held a great town hall event on August 19 with members of EBCF’s staff and community partners to share learnings from the COVID-19 Response Fund and launch A Just East Bay Fund. You can watch the recording on our YouTube channel to hear from Shaketa Redden of Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Debra Ballinger of Monument Impact, and Kimberly Aceves-Iñiguez of the RYSE Center, as well as EBCF’s James Head, Amy Fitzgerald, and Alexandra Aquino-Fike.
If you would like to support the organizations and people working to make the East Bay a more just and equitable place, please consider donating to A Just East Bay Fund. This Fund will invest in community organizing efforts, power-building and social movements who are transforming our power structures to promote equity in the Bay Area.
Learn More about The COVID-19 Just East Bay Response Fund
What we hope to accomplish
This vision for A Just East Bay is ambitious. We must transform systems to bring about this vision and we must learn, grow, and strengthen our own understanding to make this happen. Through this effort we hope to:
- Support communities most harmed by systems of oppression to build power and advance justice. We do this by supporting the community’s own vision, listening and following their lead, and acknowledging they are the experts in what’s best for their families and futures.
- Transform ourselves and the systems we are part of. We need to gain a deeper understanding of the ways we each participate in systems that perpetuate harm, and take on the work as individuals and an institution to rework our practices. This includes how we do our grantmaking, make investments, and amplify new and inspiring voices.
- Use the position of power we hold to move others, and cede our power to people and communities that have been historically excluded.
For each of us, it may start with learning more or focusing our giving in new ways, but ultimately, we are building a strong base for bold transformative change that encompasses each of us and our work.
What we will do: Moving into the transformative
We are answering the call of this moment and asking others who want to stand with us – with the East Bay community – to come together in support of a powerful grassroots movement in the East Bay.
A Just East Bay is our vision for this effort, and it is only possible when we are in true partnership with the community, aligned to their priorities. This is why we are expanding our support for grassroots organizing and movement infrastructure – efforts led by and for the community – to build and expand the power of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and South Asian, Southwest Asian, and North African (SSWANA) people to exercise self-determination and agency in their communities and lives.
We are partnering with organizations whose vision for advancing racial justice addresses the complexity and interconnected nature of our lives, who are committed to growing the leadership of their members, and who are working to enact community-led systems change.
You can be a part of this transformation
To be changemakers in the community and within the field, we need to be willing to listen, learn, and adapt, and to cede power and control to the community to make decisions about investments and priorities. Our donors who partner with us know that this is about more than grantmaking, it is about placemaking. It’s about creating conditions for a community to grow and thrive.
We support leaders who come from the communities that have been cut out of investments, ownership, and the opportunity to build wealth, and we provide essential funding to their leadership and for lasting solutions. We are committed to following the leadership of the movement and doing our own work to realign old processes into new equitable practices.
In the spring of 2019, EBCF announced its new mission and vision for an inclusive, fair, and just East Bay, which was the culmination of years of work, listening and learning from our community partners, and piloting various targeted initiatives in collaboration with community leaders. For EBCF, A Just East Bay centers around four core strategies:
- Community organizing, power building, and movement building. In the fall of 2019, we announced the Foundation’s first ever round of movement funding grants as part of our systems change approach to empower those most adversely affected by societal injustices in the East Bay. We seek to increase funding for community organizing and movement infrastructure.
- Fostering new inclusive economic models. For example, increasing the breadth and impact of community-led initiatives like our Inclusive Economy Initiative and the REAL People’s Fund.
- Capacity building for racial equity. For example, increasing the scope, scale, and impact of our groundbreaking initiatives like ASCEND: BLO.
- Supporting cultural strategies for social and racial justice. This includes support for Belonging in Oakland: A Just City Cultural Fund, and our East Bay Fund for Artists.
We have so much to do. And we are invigorated by the opportunity to grow as an organization and in community with donors and partners like you. We hope you will join us and be a part of our transformation, and the vibrant, unified community that is possible: A Just East Bay.