Philanthropy must step up so love can win

April 21, 2020

Dear Community,

Over the past few weeks, our foundation reached out to more than 150 Oakland-based organizers, culture makers, and journalists of color to listen and to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

What we heard back was devastating. Our community partners spoke to the disproportionate COVID-related deaths of Black folks. They told stories of inadequate access to health care for the chronically ill, mass job loss, crowded jails, and the sharp increase in hate crimes directed at Asian Americans. Organizers spoke to the challenge of building power and community over screens, and culture makers and healers expressed fear that their institutions wouldn’t survive.

Yet, they also shared stories of resilience and power. In the face of deep uncertainty, Oakland’s racial justice movement ecosystem is hard at work and remains committed in the pursuit of justice. Organizations are coming together to build solidarity across campaigns, provide around-the-clock support for community residents, and hold leaders to task.

As funders, we too must step up. Akonadi Foundation has a 20-year history of providing rapid resources to movement groups in times of political unrest, economic fragility, and community crisis. That is why we are allocating $1 million from the foundation’s endowment in rapid response funding to racial justice movement building groups, culture makers, healers and journalists who are on the frontlines of responding to communities impacted by COVID-19.

These are challenging times for us all, but especially for our already hardest-hit communities. This pandemic has exacerbated the deep and structural inequalities that already existed in Black and brown communities. This unprecedented moment demands that progressive philanthropy rapidly move unrestricted resources–right now–to communities most impacted.

We must not shrink back. We must respond with urgency, fortitude, and an unwavering commitment to taking care of each other. We must do what we can so love can win.

In Solidarity,

Lateefah Simon

The $1 million So Love Can Win fund provides flexible, general support grants in rapid response funding to people of color-led organizations and initiatives in Oakland that are on the frontlines of responding to communities impacted by COVID-19. Learn more about the fund and apply.