Major funders establish $5.7m participatory grantmaking fund for Detroit nonprofits


Alliance magazine


Six major funders have joined together to establish a $5.7 million fund for nonprofits in Detroit that are led by people of colour. The fund will operate as a participatory grantmaking model, and plans to provide unrestricted funding to its grantees.

The Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and Skillman Foundation are all supporting the new fund, which will operate as a participatory grantmaking fund. Community leaders and representatives of the foundations will collectively agree on how best to disperse grant funds.

‘We’re all at the table together,’ said Daija Butler to Detroit News. Butler is the assistant director of planning for the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency who oversees the DRFF. ‘We’re sharing decision power. Residents are at the core of all the decisions we make.’

The fund plans to provide $50,000 unrestricted grants for up to three years to organisations. And it aims to increase its assets and provide $10 million to organizations over the next five years.

‘For too long, folks in academia and the foundation world have used a systemic racism approach to these little people that can contribute,’ said Yusef Shakur, President of Community Movement Builders Detroit. ‘If you don’t have three letters behind your name, you aren’t considered an expert.’

‘That’s the good thing about this fund, it’s thinking outside the box,’ he added. ‘It’s providing inspiration for how to do that, for how to get resources to the ground.’

Tagged in: Funding practice

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