September 7, 2023
‘Building the Fire Fund’ Moves to Solidaire Network for Continued Expansion
Led by an Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council, the fund is building the infrastructure needed to address funding gaps and support Indigenous communities within the larger reproductive justice movement.
NEW YORK (September 7, 2023) – Today, the Ms. Foundation for Women, Solidaire Network, and the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council of Building the Fire Fund announced that the fund, initially launched and housed at the Ms. Foundation, has moved to its new home at the Solidaire Network. The Fund was started to address a significant gap within the reproductive justice movement and convene a network of Indigenous women leaders and birthing people to provide a national voice in this movement. Since its inception, the group has raised/invested over $2 million in support of Indigenous reproductive justice, mobilizing across Native Nations and Native communities and calling attention to the abhorrent discrepancy in philanthropic funding for Indigenous women and girls.
In 2021, the Fund’s advisory council released an in-depth assessment of the funding landscape, Tired of Dancing to Their Song: An Assessment of the Indigenous Women’s Reproductive Justice Funding Landscape, which sought to understand how funding discrepancies are a direct byproduct of colonization and institutional systems, identify vital funding needs for Native women, and shift the philanthropic paradigm to one that prioritizes Native communities. With this knowledge in hand, the Fund will continue its critical work at Solidaire Network where it will continue to grow until it forms its own organization.
“Ms. Foundation’s role as convener, catalyst and first funder of critical movement building has always been a part of our legacy, and we’re proud to have supported Building the Fire Fund’s incubation period and look forward to the Fund’s continued growth,” said Teresa Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women. “We are deeply grateful for what the Advisory Council has accomplished over the past three years and for all those who have supported this work to build greater equity in the reproductive justice movement.”
Building the Fire Fund was first convened by the Ms. Foundation and seed funder The Collaborative for Gender + Reproductive Equity in response to the foundation’s groundbreaking report, Pocket Change: How Women and Girls of Color Do More with Less, which revealed that of the total $66.9 billion given by foundations, philanthropic giving to women and girls of color accounts for just 0.5%, or $5.48 per year, for each woman or girl of color in the United States, with less than 0.01% as benefitting Indigenous women and girls.
“Solidaire is honored to have been chosen as a new home for this fund by the Indigenous Advisory Council. We stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities throughout Turtle Island. We have been taught by movement leaders how critical and transformative the intersections of reproductive justice, gender justice and Indigenous sovereignty are for this political moment and for our collective future. We warmly welcome the council and staff of Building the Fire Fund to Solidaire ,” said Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director, Solidaire Network.
“I have been honored to work with the Advisory Council of Building the Fire Fund who are some truly extraordinary Indigenous leaders. The Advisory Council is excited for the next phase of growth with Solidaire. Moving to Solidaire allows us more flexibility to move resources to the field and ongoing building and expansion in a good way. The Advisory Council is led by indigenous values and understands the sacred role of birthing people in our communities,” said Coya White Hat-Artichoker from Building the Fire Fund Program Officer, longtime advocate in Reproductive Justice and lead convener of the Fund.
This next chapter represents growth and expansion for the Fund and its transition to Solidaire Network will enable the Fund to continue to build the infrastructure to create the first ever, historic national Indigenous Reproductive Justice platform. More information can be found here.
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About Ms. Foundation for Women
For 50 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has shaped women’s philanthropy in the United States, providing a blueprint for the establishment of hundreds of local and regional women’s funds, influencing mainstream culture through nationwide projects such as Take Our Daughters to Work Day, and making grants totaling over $90 million to more than 1,600 grassroots organizations across the country. Through research, advocacy, and grantmaking, the Ms. Foundation is the national model for sustainable, trust-based philanthropic support of women of color-led movements. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.
About Solidaire Network
Born out of a need to fight against corporate greed and economic, climate, gender and racial injustice, Solidaire Network is a community of resource organizers who mobilize quickly to get critical funding to and enact solidarity with the frontlines of social justice movements. We hold a collective vision to transcend the limitations of traditional philanthropy and liberate wealth to accompany and fortify social movements.
About Building the Fire Fund
Building the Fire Fund is an Indigenous women-led fund that seeks to support organizing and provide ongoing infrastructure in order to build Reproductive Justice in Indian Country. Its work upholds and uplifts the leadership of Indigenous women and birthing people within the larger Reproductive Justice movement. Its purpose and work are led by an Advisory Council of Indigenous women from across Turtle Island representing many nations, organizations, and holding various pieces of work across the spectrum of Reproductive Justice. The hope and vision of the fund is to contribute to the next level of organizing and provide on-going infrastructure to build and recognize Reproductive Justice for Native communities and Native Nations and uphold and uplift the leadership of Indigenous women and birthing people within the larger Reproductive Justice movement.
Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis