The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

Social Justice Funders Opportunity Briefs

Our Social Justice Funder Opportunity Briefs explore complex social justice challenges and investigate specific funding opportunities that address those challenges. We focus on funding areas that are particularly well suited for philanthropy, backed up by research and sustainable practices.

Ceding Power to Seed Community Recovery: Democratic Funding to Address Mental Health and Substance Abuse Crises

This opportunity brief explores two cases of hyper-local democratic resource allocation that enabled historically marginalized members of defined communities to make decisions about how money gets spent. First, we describe a participatory budgeting process in St. Louis overseen by the local government. Next, we describe a participatory grant making process accomplished by a community foundation in New York City. December 2023.

This brief is part of Sillerman's Participatory Grantmaking project.

Next Generation Commemoration: Philanthropy's Past, Present, and Future Roles

No amount of philanthropy could fully redress the harm done by the lack of public and philanthropic response to African Americans’ longstanding and prophetic objections to Confederate veneration. But as we explore throughout this brief, grantmaker support for contemporary removals and reimaginings of commemorative landscapes can help put several communities on a road to civic repair. December 2021. 

To view an interactive presentation based on our Next Generation Commemoration brief, check out the video below. Closed Captions are available.

The brief is part of Sillerman’s Civil Rights and Civil Repair project.

The State of Youth Philanthropy: 2020-2021

In this brief we discuss the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 on youth philanthropy programs across the United States. We consider how young people and their adult supporters adapted to and stayed engaged with virtual youth philanthropy programming as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to abrupt changes in the way that young people and program leaders work, learn, engage, and live. This brief was completed in collaboration with Foundation for MetroWest.  September 2021. 

The brief is part of Sillerman’s Youth Philanthropy project.

Community-Centric Youth Philanthropy: A Case Study of Greater Worcester Community Foundation's Youth for Community Improvement Program

This case study aims to demonstrate how youth philanthropy can be an avenue to democratize philanthropy while it simultaneously benefits young people. We invite readers to explore Youth for Community Improvement, a youth grantmaking program at Greater Worcester Community Foundation, from the vantage points of young people who participate in the program and their adult supporters. October 2020.

The brief is part of Sillerman’s Youth Philanthropy project.

Inhabiting Change: Roles for Philanthropy in Reducing and Redressing Housing Segregation

Racial segregation in housing is a root cause of inequalities in health, safety, education, employment, wealth and income that have long concerned US grantmakers. This brief and presentation provide the historical and policy context to inform funding for nonprofit organizations working to redress and reduce housing segregation. We outline several ways for funders to support work in this overlooked field. Updated October 2022.

The brief and presentation are part of Sillerman’s Civil Rights and Civil Repair project.

Educational Justice and Sustainability for Rural Schools

This brief responds to new funder interest in rural communities and educational opportunity. The brief describes the rural education landscape, highlights longstanding challenges and describes the central role of schools in rural community life. We offer several recommendations for grantmakers. February 2020.

The brief is part of Sillerman’s Civil Rights and Civil Repair project.

Cover of Arts and Culture Philanthropy brief

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity in Arts and Culture Philanthropy

This brief discusses how grantmakers can redress long-standing inequalities in arts and culture philanthropy by directing more dollars to historically marginalized communities and by adopting strategies that upend traditional funding structures that have excluded artists of color and under-resourced communities. July 2018.

The brief is part of Sillerman’s Civil Rights and Civil Repair project.

Cover of Youth-Led Grantmaking brief

From Beneficiary to Active Agent: How Youth-Led Grantmaking Benefits Young People, Their Communities, and the Philanthropic Sector

This brief focuses on democratic and inclusive youth-led grantmaking in the United States. April 2018.

The brief is part of Sillerman’s Youth Philanthropy project.

Cover of Post-Secondary Education for People in Prison brief

Post-Secondary Education for People in Prison

The first brief in our series is Post-Secondary Education for People in Prison. November 2016.

This brief is part of Sillerman’s Civil Rights and Civil Repair project.