Ford Foundation: Next Generation Fund
The Next Generation Fund (Next Gen Fund) is a response to a growing call from frontline organizers and leaders to learn from restorative and transformative practices in order to support a rising generation of social justice leaders and nurture sustainable approaches to organizing and community building. The Fund is anchored by the Ford Foundation and developed in partnership with the Movement Strategy Center’s Innovation Center.
The Next Gen Fund is a one-year grantmaking and learning initiative at the intersection of youth, social change, resilience and healing. First, the Fund is rooted in the belief that transformative organizing practices are integral to supporting young leaders, advancing social change, and developing sustainable organizations. The Fund understands transformative organizing to hold five core elements:
- It is grounded in youth or multi-generational base-building strategies, connecting power across a broad set of people within communities
- Through leadership development, it applies and builds skills
- Personal transformation, healing, and growth is what allows for its resilience
- It embodies systems change campaigns, trying to shift the broader conditions toward community liberation and self-determination
- It centers movement building as core to connecting a broader set of communities and issues
Secondly, the Fund centers the leadership and experience of young people organizing with communities most impacted by systemic inequality with an emphasis on communities of color, immigrants, women, and LGBT people. Young people challenge the very systems that inflict deep and often generational trauma on them and their communities. The Fund aims to learn from and support approaches where organizing itself is a restorative, resilient, and transformative practice.
The Next Gen Fund will provide a one year grant to youth-led or youth-centered organizations and individuals engaging in restorative practice and transformative organizing as part of their work. It seeks to learn about a range of resilience practices, including but not limited to:
- Traditional practices indigenous to the people and communities in which young people live and organize
- Social justice-framed social and mental health services
- Contemplative and holistic practices incorporated from a variety of lineages
- Restorative justice models
- New and experimental forms of healing and restoration
The Foundation will develop a learning agenda for the Fund (that will be supported by additional funds beyond what will be provided for grants) that will include the possibility of creating a cohort and/or learning community of practitioners and funders to advance knowledge, understanding, impact, and support for transformative organizing bolstered by restorative practices. For example, depending on appetite and need, as well as resources, the Foundation will consider support for grantee identified convenings to support the connection and development of the field of restorative practice, healing, and resilience to advance transformative organizing and change for and by youth and their communities.
Amount: A total of at least $1,000,000 will be awarded. The initial letter of inquiry (LOI) process will serve to more deeply understand the landscape of individuals and entities advancing transformative organizing and resilience practices. Based on the LOI the Foundation will create an invite-only request for proposals process to help determine final grant awards.
Eligibility: Individual practitioners, organizations, networks, and coalitions that integrate restorative practice and transformative organizing approaches. The Foundation understands there is a diversity of approaches and the Next Gen Fund will prioritize efforts that incorporate youth and multigenerational base-building, leadership development, systems change campaigns, and a movement building approach. Individuals, like entities applying to the fund, must have a demonstrated track record in racial, gender, or LGBTQI justice with a proven record of working with young people of color advancing social change efforts through organizing.
The Next Gen Fund Fund seeks a grantee pool that reflects the diversity of practices (e.g., traditional healing and spiritual practices, new and experimental practices, mental and social health supports that bring a social justice perspective) and methods of implementation (e.g., individual, organizational, networks).
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