NoVo Foundation Announces a $34 Million Investment in Radical Hope

Hope,” by Pol Sifter

June 13, 2018; Chronicle of Philanthropy and All Africa

Readers should note that next week, NPQ will host a Facebook Live event with Pamela Shifman of the NoVo Foundation as part of our “Peek Behind the Philanthropic Curtain” series. Pamela and NPQ senior editor Cyndi Suarez will discuss the Radical Hope Fund and the NoVo Foundation’s process and what they’ve learned. Join us live on Facebook at 2pm ET on Thursday, June 21st; we’ll be taking questions during the event, so sign up now!


This morning, the NoVo Foundation announced the grantees for its new “Radical Hope Fund.” Originally slated to spend $20 million, after a yearlong proposal and selection process, the foundation elected to give $34 million to groups organizing for transformative change all over the world. NoVo asked for proposals that reflected new partnerships, bold experimentation, and a deep commitment to social justice. None of the grants were small—they ranged from $500,000 to $4 million.

“We launched the Radical Hope Fund as a radical experiment—can a time of increasing repression and darkness also serve as a springboard for deep collaboration and transformative change?” said Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo’s co-presidents. “The answer has been overwhelming: feminist grassroots advocacy, activism, and organizing are thriving across the globe, new partnerships are growing, and justice leaders everywhere are planting the seeds for a radical new world based in equity, possibility, power, and dignity for all.”

The foundation’s press release says,

The result is a diverse array of grants to organizations driving systemic social change in communities around the world, from women Nobel Peace Prize laureates influencing the Korean peace process, to Gen Z and Millennial Latinx feminist organizers in Texas combining protest with performance, to an international network devoted to eliminating the root cause of violence against girls and women.

Like all of NoVo’s work, the fund is grounded in the belief that meaningful change happens from the community level up—informed by lived experience, powered by movement building and activism, and guided by the leadership of marginalized people as the best experts of their own lives and futures.

[…]

“We hear a lot about innovation in the social sector, but the truth is that marginalized communities are rarely granted the trust, support, and space they need to experiment and dream,” said Pamela Shifman, executive director of the NoVo Foundation. “The Radical Hope Fund grantees show us that radical innovation is already happening, feminist organizing is already leading our way, and the answer so many are looking for in these challenging times is already in front of us, if only we are willing to back it up with the trust and support it deserves.

The final grantees can be viewed here.—Ruth McCambridge