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*According to this report from NCRP and GSP.

Journey from Montgomery to Birmingham and learn how to fund economic justice organizing in Alabama.

Neighborhood Funders Group’s Funders for a Just Economy (FJE) brought 27 funders from across the U.S. to Alabama in November 2017. They met with local funders and grassroots organizations to learn about movement building strategies being implemented for economic Justice.

The learning tour started in Montgomery, and ended at Birmingham City Hall. In between Funders learned about economic justice issues in Uniontown – a rural part of the state – and walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Explore the videos in this site to experience the tour, and learn about the economic justice organizing happening in Alabama, and throughout the south.

We are reclaiming our history through the arts and it’s resonating with people. We're changing how young people of color see themselves.
What we need moving forward in this technological era is students who know how to think critically.
Agencies like that don’t feed small non-profits. We are a small non-profit budget-wise but we are a large non-profit in the help we provide.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you don’t have the adequate police force or ambulance service here, so you have to drive 30 minutes to Selma and hope to get a room.
We need to bring more resources to the South to build organizations and help families that are being affected by this new administration.
As of 2011, our city seal reads ‘The Cradle of the Confederacy’. They did that 7 years ago. This is very much still the cradle of the confederacy.
The lie is that Alabama is the way it is, just because. When in fact, there have been intentional public decisions made to undermine the power of people of color.
This bridge symbolizes great pain but also great promise.
30 miles from Selma we still have environmental injustice. 30 miles from Selma we still have rich white people controlling us. How do we educate our people?
We’ve gotten support at the grassroots level, but in order for this emerging industry to grow, we need your support.
We have to tip towards a democracy that is transparent, accountable and inclusive.
We are erecting community-centered organizing with a labor focus. We recently got city of Atlanta workers up to $15 dollars an hour.

As the South Grows on Fertile Soil

Despite growing challenges to civil rights, inclusion and economic justice across the country, and especially in the South, the philanthropic sector has not recognized the potential in local organizations and the legacy civil rights infrastructure of the Alabama Black Belt, the Mississippi Delta and places like them across the South.

Across the Deep South – where building democratic accountability and collective power for disenfranchised communities was once a globally recognized specialty – there are exciting opportunities for philanthropic investment. If Southern and national funders as well as individual donors come together and identify specific places and causes that align with their values, Southern leaders in the Deep South can and will change their communities for the better.

Learn more about the As the South Grows series at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) website, and download As the South Grows, a publication produced by the Grantmakers for Southern Progress (GSP) and NCRP below.

Download Publication

New Southern Strategies: Employment, Workers’ Rights and the Prospects for Regional Resurgence

Focusing on Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, this report assesses a range of economic indicators affecting quality of life in the South, examines some of the corporate strategies that are driving these changes, and presents some of the efforts underway in the region to improve economic opportunity through labor organizing and strengthening workers’ rights.

Read more in the New Southern Strategies: Employment, Workers’ Rights and the Prospects for Regional Resurgence publication by Nik Theodore, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Download Publication

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 — Monday 11/6

  • Civil Rights Memorial Tour of Montgomery
  • Understanding Systemic Racism and Labor’s History in Alabama
  • Dinner Conversation: Impactful Philanthropy in Alabama

Day 2 — Tuesday 11/7

  • Workforce and Economic Development in the Black Belt
  • Tour of Selma
  • Farm Workers, Household Workers, Health and Safety, and Immigration Policy
  • Dinner Conversation: Cooperative Development and Economic Self-Determination

Day 3 — Wednesday 11/8

  • Economic Policies in the New South: Power Building through Litigation, Leadership Development, and Social Justice Infrastructure
  • Closing Discussion & Lessons Learned    


Download Publication

Tour Participants

  • Adriana Rocha, Neighborhood Funders Group
  • Alejandra Ibanez, Woods Fund Chicago
  • Aleyamma Mathew, Ms. Foundation
  • Angelica Ramirez, Neighborhood Funders Group
  • Anna Quinn, NoVo Foundation
  • Cassandra Welchin, Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative
  • Christopher Smith, The Colorado Health Foundation
  • Ciara Coleman, W. K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Dennis Quirin, Neighborhood Funders Group
  • Ebony White, W. K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Ed Whitfield, Fund for Democratic Communities
  • Henry Der, Four Freedoms Fund
  • Jessica Dalton, Ford Foundation
  • Laine Romero-Alston, Ford Foundation
  • Leila Tamari, National Creative Placemaking Fund at ArtPlace America
  • Lemuel White, Moxy Group
  • Manisha Vaze, Neighborhood Funders Group
  • Marc Bayard, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Marjona Jones, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock
  • Masum Momaya, EDGE Funders Alliance
  • Rebecca Golden, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation
  • Regina McGraw, Wieboldt Foundation
  • Roselande Louis, Ms. Foundation
  • Rudi Navarra, The Solutions Project
  • Ryan Schlegel, National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy
  • Shakita Jones, Event Coordinator
  • Shanley Mitchell, Moxy Group
  • Shona Chakravartty, Hill Snowdon Foundation
  • T. Marie, Event Coordinator
  • Tamara Vasan, Ms. Foundation
  • Tamieka Mosley, Southern Partners Fund
  • Tracie Coffman, W. K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Tyler Nickerson, The Solutions Project
  • Valeria Treves, The LIFT Fund


Funders for a Just Economy

Funders for a Just Economy (formerly known as the Working Group on Labor and Community Partnerships – WGLCP) is a national network of funders committed to advancing the philanthropic conversation about economic and social justice, and the centrality of unions in those efforts. FJE is part of Neighborhood Funders Group.

FJE promotes funding strategies that expand access to higher quality employment, with higher wages, better working conditions, comprehensive benefits, organizing opportunities, community asset building and financial stability for working families. At each of the Funders for a Just Economy’s (FJE) program activities, field leaders and grant makers have the important opportunity to align their grant-making strategies with one another and to be in better coordination with the field. These activities allow for broader foundation-community partnerships on policy issues and campaigns that seek to protect the rights and improve the economic well-being of low-income and working class people.

Are you interested in joining a future tour or getting involved with Funders For a Just Economy?

Get in touch with Manisha Vaze at manisha@nfg.org.

Get Involved