May 25, 2021

Marguerite Casey Foundation Announces 5% Increase in Funding to Cause Dedicated to Ending Police Violence

“Answering the Uprising: Closing the Say/Do Gap in Philanthropy” Seeks to Bring Together Philanthropies to Heed the Calling of the 2020 Uprisings led by the Movement for Black Lives

(Seattle, WA): Today, The Marguerite Casey Foundation (MCF) announced the launch of Answering the Uprising: Closing the Say/Do Gap in Philanthropy, an initiative that calls on philanthropic foundations to make a new level of commitment to the cause of ending police violence and mass incarceration. MCF kicks it off by increasing its own giving by 5% – $1.6M – to fund programs and organizations that directly address racial injustice in policing and the justice system. MCF is joined in this effort by a growing list of foundations who have also signed on to a powerful commitment aimed at correcting philanthropy’s lack of adequate response to the 2020 uprisings.

The announcement comes as the nation and the world reckon with the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police and the racial justice uprisings that followed — the largest popular mobilization in U.S. history.

“When it comes to ending police violence, philanthropy has largely failed to follow powerful statements with powerful commitments,” said Dr. Carmen Rojas, CEO and President of Marguerite Casey Foundation. “This Say/Do gap in philanthropy has undermined the movement for Black Lives, rather than truly supporting it. Philanthropy can and should do more. Last summer, more than 20 million people protested on the streets, with tens of millions more taking action beyond that. Police violence and mass incarceration not only take lives — they destroy communities,” she continued. “The change that millions of people have rightfully demanded simply hasn’t been supported by the full force of philanthropy.”

In addition to committing additional resources to this cause, Marguerite Casey Foundation – which gives approximately $32M annually to support leaders who shift the balance of power in their communities – is asking other philanthropic organizations to double down on their investments in current and futures initiatives capable of effectively bringing an end to state-sanctioned racial violence.

“True partnership means philanthropy must pivot its strategy to align with movements,” said Amoretta Morris, President of Borealis Philanthropy, which maintains a collaborative fund dedicated to transforming policing. “In order to upend oppressive systems, we must put our trust in the leadership of the people most impacted by those systems, and invest in them.

“We granted 20% of our entire portfolio to Black-led organizations, and made additional contributions to support Black liberation totalling $15 million in general operating support,” said Nichole June Maher, President and CEO of Group Health Foundation. “It is no surprise that when organizations are given flexible dollars to spend on the priorities they set for themselves, many view the most pressing health issue they face as the challenge to end persistent and ever-present police violence, exploitation and harassment.”

The statement, which outlines five different ways for foundations to participate in the initiative, and aims to help increase the number of participating foundations in the weeks ahead, can be found at:

This latest initiative is fully supported by Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Board of Directors, which recently named seven new changemakers to the Board, including Stacey Abrams and Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change.

Participating foundations to date include: The San Francisco Foundation, Borealis Philanthropy, Roy + Patricia Disney Family Foundation, Group Health Foundation, Woods Fund Chicago and New York Foundation.

About Marguerite Casey Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation supports leaders, scholars and initiatives focused on shifting the balance of power in society — building power for communities that continue to be excluded from shaping how society works and from sharing in its rewards and freedoms. Our board members, leadership and staff are committed to building a just economy and fully realized democracy, and to providing unfettered support to the bold strategies and leadership that are required to bring about major change in our lifetime.
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