Just Economy Solidarity Fund Thriving together

In November 2018, 35 activists, organizers, fundraisers, donors, and other supporters of movements for racial, gender and economic justice gathered at the Watershed Center in Millerton, NY at the 3rd annual Old Money New System community of practice retreat. The retreat focused on building community by co-creating ritual and deepening our spiritual practices; embodying a vision in progress for radical change in decolonizing and decentralizing philanthropic practice; coordinating tactics for disrupting the status quo in our work; and mobilizing towards a radically equitable and liberatory way of resourcing social movements. We grappled with big questions: What would a just transition in our economy look like? How can we move toward an economy that affirms the dignity and assets of all people, one that is free from exploitation and extraction?

We engaged in an experiment that we are calling a Just Economy Exchange where we exchanged material and non-material resources to share infrastructure, capacity, space and other resources. What emerged (in part) is a Just Economy Solidarity Fund (JESF).

We know that building a new economic system is no small matter. It is everyone’s work, and it will require countless steps, large and small, in the direction of justice. One step is fully and joyfully supporting work, ideas, and solutions that emerge from folks most impacted by the current system. This is a step you can take today by contributing to the JESF. This fund is currently supporting nine projects (see below) that are a combination of nonprofit organizations, social impact projects, start-up small businesses, healers and facilitators that are collaborating as a community of practice to shift power to communities most impacted by oppression, as well as to collectively leverage and share resources.

Your contribution to the JESF in 2018 to early 2019 will be shared among all of the projects detailed below. Leaders of these projects were among those gathered at the Watershed Center, where they were able to share their visions and name—with courage and self-determination—the resources needed to carry their work forward.

With one gift to the Just Economy Solidarity Fund, you can not only offer financial support to these nine projects, but you can also affirm and help build momentum toward a bold vision for a just economic future. Our movements deserve it.

Funds will be distributed equally among all nine projects outlined below. Fifty percent of an initial pool of funds raised at the OMNS retreat goes to the Schaghticoke First Nations Tribe. The reminder is equally distributed among the other eight projects.


Creating an ecosystem to foster collaboration, increase social impact, and amplify the voices of Black-led organizations in Greater Baltimore.

In 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray, a coalition of grassroots activists and concerned citizens came together to form Baltimore United for Change. In the days following the Uprising we launched a skills bank to create an “on ramp” for concern community members that wanted to serve. Over 260 individuals and organizations answered the call.

Community organizations often work in silos, these silos lead to fragmentation, fragmentation leads to duplication, and duplication leads to wasted resources – time, talent and treasure. The first phase of our project (CLLCTIV ASSETS) will create an online asset map/directory of organizations in Greater Baltimore listed by neighborhood and area of concentration. Our mission is to end the fragmentation and duplication of programs, to learn from and about each other, and to be a resource for the Greater Baltimore community that seeks to find, fund and partner with Black social change organizations.

Schaghticoke First Nations Tribe

We are seeking to reclaim a piece of our ancestral land and develop a Decolonization and Trauma Program for Native Communities.

Schaghticoke First Nations (SFN) is based in the Hudson Valley of NY, where we share a history dating back to 1676. The word Schaghticoke means the mingling of waters and signifies the merging of tribes post colonization. For thousands of years much of the Northeast was inhabited by Algonquin Nations, yet nearly all of our land was stolen -- sold off by our white, so-called “Overseers.” Today all we have left is an uninhabitable mountainside. Thus the majority of SFN’s 370 Tribal Members have been economically displaced -- diasporic -- and it takes quite a lot of resources for us to get together to organize for the reclamation of our home and heritage.

We are in the early stages of working together to purchase back a piece of our ancestral land to build a Schaghticoke Conservation and Cultural Center. Our Center will serve to address the intergenerational trauma of Native people struggling with the dance between indigenous and modern society. It will be a central location from which we can organize around the issues that plague our community: economic, racial, and Native oppression, cultural colonization, rampant addiction, PTSD and the desecration of our land. Our Center will be a place for our tribes people, other Native peoples and allies to learn about the natural world, indigenous knowledge and themselves.

Our program areas include: Youth Leadership, Mahican Language Reclamation, Alternatives to Addiction, Inter-Tribal Collaboration, and climate actions against pipelines and a fracked gas refinery. Language, art, stories, music, food and dance invigorate all that we do and each summer SFN hosts a Unity Gathering. We work in partnership with the United Confederation of Taino People, the Ramapough Lenape Tribal Nation, the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe as well as many other tribes and nations. SFN also plays a leadership role in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and are new affiliates of the International Indian Treaty Council.

We are also designing a Decolonization & Trauma Program for Native Communities in partnership with Relational Uprising. Most all Native people in the US have significant trauma histories stemming from generations of poverty, racism, cultural and ecological displacement. Additionally, half of SFN also identifies as Black and struggles with the pain of multiple dislocations. Using relational somatics and storytelling, we will support Native peoples to heal together as we fortify ourselves to lead our common struggle for survival in this time of the Seventh Fire.

Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT)

The Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) is built on the organizing principle that the people most directly impacted should have the greatest stake in visioning, leading, and guiding. We believe that fundraising is political, and one of our most powerful tools for organizing against all forms of oppression, and towards justice, and liberation of all people. It plays a central role in helping us think critically about how different forms of oppression based on race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, nationality, age, wealth, and power intersect and sustain each other and give rise to the inequalities our communities still face today.

GIFT convenes and builds power with people, organizations, and movements mobilizing resources for thriving communities, new economies and just systems. Centering the leadership of people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and migrants, we learn, practice and scale models of resourcing for transformative movements. We are working to activate a world in which people have the skills, agency, and power to self-determine the spiritual, cultural and material conditions of their lives. A world in which equitable access to money, land and opportunity is seeded in and flows from racial, economic, and gender justice.

While oppression is structural and systemic, the power of giving belongs to all of us, regardless of our identities and location. In order to build sustainable strategies for social change and a broad base of support, GIFT supports changemakers in building greater participation from individual stakeholders, for both financial and political reasons. GIFT programming currently reaches thousands of activists and organizers annually.

We seek to enhance our scale of impact by:

  • Growing our influence as a network of Thought Leaders in social justice movement spaces and progressive philanthropic spaces;
  • Training and Building the Capacity of People, organizations, and networks/coalitions to resource and sustain movements for justice;
  • Convening and Connecting People, organizations, and movements to learn, practice and scale resource mobilization locally, regionally and nationally; and
  • Ensuring that GIFT is a Well-functioning and Thriving Organization with powerful leadership and solid infrastructure.

Lobi The Consulting Cooperative of ZEAL

What is Lobi ? Lobi is our member-owned consulting cooperative that supports Black creatives. We provide programming and services for Black creatives who lead with visual and literary art mediums.

Our Offerings

Artist Representation & Platform Support for Cultural Institutions and Programming

  • Artrepreneurship: Facilitating artist’s economic supports (i.e e-commerce) for your audience to invest in your work
  • Branding and Marketing: Creating an aesthetic for your body of work to targeted audiences that will promote it
  • Campaigns & Activations: Designing creative, participatory, & entertaining experiences that are results driven
  • Resource Development: Identifying cooperative ways to gain the resources to sustain your work and demonstrate impact
  • Social Network & Media Support: Utilizing social networks to build community and promote messaging for your platform

We collaborate through skill sharing and consulting with Black creatives as well as organizations, companies, art & literary collectives, institutions, other programs, and platforms that highlight and center Black culture. Lobi is in homage to The Lobi tribe who are in regions now known as Burkina Faso, Cote d’ Ivoire, and Ghana. The Lobi people are known for their skill sets in agriculture, sculpting, mask-making, and as exquisite xylophonists. Lobi is what makes our work in cooperative publishing for Black creatives possible.

What makes us different?

At Lobi, we are Black creatives who are values aligned and principled in building movements towards owning the means of our own cultural production. When Black creatives are grounded in the legacy of the Black aesthetic that facilitates their leadership development their body of work stands as a purposeful, functional, and committed act of liberation. The Black Aesthetic is art, literature, poetry, music, and theater that creates an expression of and impression on Black culture. We provide economic alternatives that support the surviving artist to thrive. We create a network spaces for learning, support infrastructure, and opportunity for Black cultural platforms to flourish. We see ourselves as cultural co-creators, alchemists, and architects that are continuing the legacy of the Black Arts Movement, by providing the support systems necessary for our cultural work to evolve beyond flashpoint moments.

Desired Impact

  • Creating economic sustainability through applied learning of art merchandising and commerce beyond the gig economy
  • Cultivating self-care and healing ritual and practices grounded in the Black aesthetic in community with other creatives
  • A recognized pipeline of Black art and literature that is promoted within and outside of cultural institutions

Current Clients

  • The Weavers Fellowship (Launch in January 2019) in New Orleans
  • Darker Gods exhibition for Our Basel during Art Basel Week (December 5th-9th 2018) in Miami

ZEAL is a cooperative consulting agency and publishing platform for and by Black creatives throughout the diaspora. We use curated publications to celebrate our culture, assert our voices, archive our legacy, and showcase our creative competencies. Our ultimate goal is to use visual, literary, and oral storytelling to promote connection and healing. We will operate in partnership with Black Classic Press based in Baltimore, MD who supports our printing and distribution along with Allied Media Projects in Detroit, MI as our fiscal sponsor.

Standing in Our Power (SiOP)

Standing in Our Power (SiOP) envisions a world where trans and cisgender women of color, and gender non-conforming people of color, co-create a new story of holistic transformation, sustainability, and wellness. Through our transformative leadership development and capacity building model, our intergenerational network of social justice movement leaders and social entrepreneurs radically redefines the status quo to ignite personal, structural, and cultural liberation.

We are living in a moment where women of color, particularly Black women, are leading the way - from founding two of the boldest movements of our time, #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, to directing cutting-edge non-profit organizations and excelling in entrepreneurship. Women of color are running for office in force, flexing political muscle at the ballot box, embodying equitable practices and trailblazing an intersectional analysis.

Yet, our leadership and success has a shadow side. Women of Color are often overworked, in crisis and burning out. We receive the lowest pay and live in asset poverty. Unresolved trauma and internalized oppression limit our confidence at times. We benefit from living and leading in healthier ways, and doing so in greater solidarity. Still, there is little support for our wellness, empowerment and sustainability. And, we get the least amount of philanthropic and capital investment funding.

SiOP addresses this by creating liberating spaces for deep personal and interpersonal healing and transformation. We build connective tissue between leaders to foster interdependence, and mobilize increased resources collaboratively. We catalyze radical imagination, transcending our conditioned tendencies and limiting beliefs, in order to co-create fearless, audacious and bold visions and take empowered action.

Our 2019-20 Business Incubator will foster innovation and self determination while helping to close the gender and racial wealth gaps. We will build an interdependent network of trans and cisgender women of color, and gender nonconforming people of color, social entrepreneurs who will develop small businesses and increase their access to mentors and operating capital.

Beautiful Ventures

Beautiful Ventures is a network-building and resource-raising platform to shift and uplift perceptions of people of African descent through inclusive storytelling in popular culture.

Our bold social impact goals are to:

  • normalize humanity-affirming, inclusive and diverse stories about Black people.
  • disrupt and retire anti-blackness in popular culture and public discourse.
  • create generational wealth for Black, women of color and indigenous story-driven creatives through sustainable entrepreneurship.

To achieve these goals, Beautiful Ventures will:

  • Build a values-aligned network of writers, storytellers, story-lovers, technologists, funders, and story-driven creatives who value Black humanity in storytelling.
  • Launch a creative business accelerator for story-driven companies that value and affirm Black humanity and indigenous visibility in their storytelling.
  • Create a community capital fund made up of non-traditional and traditional investors to invest in story-driven creative businesses.
  • Weave a network of values aligned, Black and indigenous led arts and culture social enterprises across the U.S. and beyond.

Relational Uprising

Relational Uprising is a training and coaching institute for frontline movement organizers that teaches concrete tools and practices for fostering a healthy, relational culture as part of their movement building strategy.

We believe that movements not only impact systemic institutional change, but also play a critical role in shifting culture and consciousness. The practices we teach are designed to help communities build collective capacity for supportive, inclusive, embodied, and resilient community. These include Resonance Practice (empathic listening and responding), Relational Storytelling (focused on vulnerability, values, support systems and resilience), Relational Somatics/Embodiment (mindful group contact, play, and ceremony), and Bridging Practice (radical inclusion, appreciative inquiry, relational dialogue and conflict transformation).

Relational Uprising’s curriculum is based on an integration of social capital research, social neuroscience, ecological principles, radical relational theory, community organizing, and somatic education. We present a nuanced approach to issues of identity, intersectionality, and power using an embodied, relational practice combining narrative and physical movement/embodiment that is not found in other training programs for activists.

Attendees of our trainings include participants from movements for climate justice, immigrant rights, racial justice, youth organizing, and more. We have recently trained teams from: Movimiento Cosecha (immigrant rights), Sunrise Movement (climate justice), Schaghticoke First Nations (indigenous peoples of central Hudson Valley), If Not Now (Jewish youth movement for justice in Palestine), #InMyWords (organizing survivors of sexual assault), TightShift (worker-owned co-operative and healing program for formerly incarcerated returning citizens), Black Lives Matter Global Network, Freedom Beyond and SURJ (organizing white people for racial justice), and many more. Participants continue to report that relational culture has become the cornerstone of their movement building practice, helping people connect and engage more empathically in the contentious work they do.

Home for Good

Home for Good is a national collective impact coalition, beginning in Philadelphia, that is grounded in local solutions. We are bringing together people involved in the systems as recipients and people who are involved in single-system change, to identify the big picture. We use strategy and community-building to transform trauma system-wide by shifting the system away from punishment with family healing at the center.

The child welfare system intersects with other systems. In all systems, people of color are mistreated. Trauma reenactment at the system-level perpetuates systemic abuse that impacts hundreds and thousands of people at once. The systems are expensive, unsustainable, and growing exponentially. Disproportionality is the common symptom of the dysfunctional recipe that all systems share. It is critical we stop feeding the illusion that if we change one slice at a time, we will end up with a different pie. We must face the truth: the whole recipe requires changing.

Home for Good’s work is grounded in 20 years of research and 6 years of strategy and culture-building. The foundation of the work is the 20-year study of lives of mothers who lost their children to foster care. Their stories are illustrated in my forthcoming book: Give Me Back My Child: How the USA System Kidnaps Children. For more info on the book.

Contact Rita Sinorita Fierro for more information: [P] Tel. (215) 893-0579, [E] DrRita@ritafierro.com

Equity Matters

Equity Matters is a network & culture of equity practice and equity practitioners, primarily focused on promoting Equity- In-All Policy™. Policies which require both self and systems change and which enhance health and wealth (well-being) by helping leaders and the every-day people they interact with, more effectively navigate complex environments, using comprehensive system thinking approaches that can help use networks more effectively for impact. Founded to promote the well-being of people and systems, through the elimination of barriers to the production of good health and equitable wealth societally, Equity Matters supports the development of leveraged and power centered analysis and intervention approaches (“quantum practices”) around the social determinants of health and wealth. It has fiscal sponsored “radical experiments” that were safe to fail, and therefore safe to succeed.

Equity Matters has been a central part of establishing and growing multiple learning communities and leadership praxis centered on innovation surrounding the convergence of multiple sectors, how they currently interact, and how small intentional points of leverage and perspective change can shift the readiness of people, organizations, institutions and ultimately cultures and systems to shift toward more equitable outcomes.

Sometimes Equity Matters work looks like the creation and development of leadership institutes for large corporate clients, executive producing reports read into congressional record by senators and congressman, or in lifting collection of stories into narratives aimed at shifting culture, but always, includes grass roots trainings. By helping leaders make sense of and better operate in complex adaptive systems using network theory approaches that resonate in community organizing and think tank strategy alike, it has been a friend and trusted advisor to ecosystem soil in which grass-roots leaders develop and flourish, business leaders and conscious investors strategize, and where policy makers weigh decisions. These learning communities it has helped co-create create unique opportunities for network development and curation of new interactions and cultures of practice.

Equity Matters believes in the creation of equity through the creative practice of principles and strategies that draw on: virtues, counter racism, alternative financial and political architecture, conscious capital apparatus development, complexity and network science inspired innovation and application of both high tech and ancient low tech ways of being (axiology) where various axiologies are valued. One such differentiated practices is a project of a conscious capital partner org: Black Box: Creating & Developing An Apparatus for Equitable Deal Pipeline for which it is holding innovative incubation space.

JESF is fiscally sponsored by Equity Matters.

If you prefer to give via check, please make payable to Equity Matters, noting that it is for the JESF, and mail to Equity Matters, Inc. 3613 Sequoia Avenue Baltimore, MD 21215.


Created By
Taij Kumarie Moteelall


Created with images by kazuend - "Bamboo leaf canopy"

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