May Dear BEA for Impact Allies:

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1 May 2015 Dear BEA for Impact Allies: It s been a few months since our last official update on Building Equity and Alignment for Impact, (BEA for Impact). Things have been moving rapidly ahead, and we are excited to fill you in on the latest developments, including early outcomes of our full group convening in November 2014 and highlights from our new strategic plan. A BEA for Impact objective since launching in July 2013 has been to continue growing and developing our multi-sector initiative of grassroots, national greens and funder representatives, and to continue offering opportunities for these diverse participants to build together toward the long-term goals of BEA: Breaking down historic barriers among national greens, grassroots and funding sectors, building authentic relationships toward greater alignment and solidarity; Supporting the culture within philanthropy toward a base-building, bottom-up, collaborative approach, and away from a top-down, funder-driven approach; Expanding the pool of resources available to the environment and overlapping progressive issues; Shifting that growing pool of available resources to more equitably service the grassroots organizing sector. With BEA for Impact just approaching our two-year anniversary, we have already seen how significantly relationship-building contributes to our overall goals, and we re working full steam ahead to implement all the ideas, objectives and workplans that we agreed to at our last big convening. We ve expanded our cadre of members to include mid-sized greens and socioeconomic justice groups, acknowledging the reinforcing relationships of multiple groups and issues in overlapping movements. And, as in the beginning, we remain committed to continuing with a process through which every participant represents a broader network, coalition or organizational body ensuring the widest reach possible across our movement. And, notably, BEA for Impact has been able to continue its commitment to supporting all grassroots participants with travel and work stipends, acknowledging the financial inequity of the grassroots organizing sector as compared to other participants. The Work What makes this initiative groundbreaking and important is its framework, which provides our best opportunity for success: It is based on a realistic understanding of recent history that demonstrates the necessity of grassroots organizations and campaigns to achieve real impact and win as a movement on climate change and environmental defense; It is based on a recognition of the strategic importance, power and leadership of the grassroots progressive movement and agreement with the Jemez Principles; It brings together a core of visionary leaders from the grassroots organizing sector,

2 national greens and funders, with resources and infrastructure to carry out the work. As immediate outcomes of the BEA strategic plan, several projects and priorities are rapidly moving forward. These include a targeted Research plan, a Forum Review committee to facilitate alignment across the movement, a BEA in Practice task force, and an Allied Funders task force, to name a few: Research Support: Research projects will be identified by the work groups and led by a research director who is a participant of BEA for Impact, and selected by the Weaver Group. Research will be conducted either in-house or contracted to an appropriate party, depending on the scope and skills needed. Immediate priorities in 2015 are to research a potential BEA for Impact Fund, develop the Blueprint for Impact and define and track resources that move to the grassroots organizing sector. More information on BEA s research plan, including additional priorities, is available upon request. Forum Review: This task force will facilitate more partnerships and alignment opportunities like those that led to the People s Climate March, (described in further detail below). Briefly, this task force will consider proposals co-developed by groups of all sectors across the movement, and will then help assemble cross-sector teams to facilitate convenings at which alignment around timely issues will be sought. Stories from these convenings would then start to fill a library of case studies, building beyond the story of the PCM, and building the case that large-scale impact can only be made when all sectors bring their expertise to a table inclusive of grassroots, prioritizing transparency and equity. Proposals have already come in from outside groups for BEA s Forum Review committee to consider. BEA for Impact in Practice: The aim of this ad hoc taskforce is to assist in the alignment process between and among sector representatives leading up to and during BEA convenings. Task force members do this by sharing effective ways to handle conflict and engage in principled debate and dialogue. They will also create safe spaces during convenings to hold sensitive and sometimes difficult conversations. Although there is no limit to the topics that could be proposed, creation of this task force directly responds to a request at our last meeting for a BEA space in which to explicitly address the divisive and destructive role systemic racism continues to play in the power structures of our movement, and to talk about ways BEA participants can name these issues constructively in order to work more deeply and effectively across sectors as we progress. Allied Funders Task Force: A preliminary Allied Funders group met in late January 2015 to clarify the role of philanthropy in the BEA for Impact process, and to work on fostering an emerging culture within philanthropy that supports alternatives to the usual top-down approach to solving problems. This group will work with BEA for Impact to facilitate innovation in philanthropy to engage and support more diverse, original strategies for environmental, social and economic sustainability. Please ask us about 2

3 joining these ongoing strategic discussions about how philanthropy can be part of the solution. Other priorities for 2015 include collecting and sharing stories of successful cross-sectoral collaborations that demonstrate political, environmental and economic impacts, strengthening and amplifying narratives and core messages, preparing champions to organize within funder spaces, identifying clear financial goals and philanthropic donor targets, and developing clear plans for building with each. Responsibility for ensuring the priorities, tasks, and ultimately the goals of the initiative are carried out lies in the hands of the key workgroups the BEA participants formed at their first meeting together in July 2013: Weaver Working Group (holds a steering committee function), Communications Working Group and Outreach Working Group. These three foundational groups will preside over the task forces and research work, ensuring BEA s strategic priorities remain on task and develop in a symbiotic manner. More information on the specific tasks of the Communications, Outreach and Weaver working groups is also available upon request. Early Impacts The BEA concept is already working; both internally, within organizations approaches to campaigns and collaborations, but also in larger, more public ways. One early example of how BEA values and practices can play out is the People s Climate March and the Road to Paris. In a now much-publicized partnership, the Climate Justice Alliance, local NYC and NJ groups, 350.org, Sierra Club, Avaaz and NYC Labor Unions forged an unprecedented collaboration leading up to the People s March on September 21 st. The agreements of this collaboration began with a series of dialogues facilitated by BEA members, based on their relationships forged through our initiative, and grounded in the BEA Vision and commitment to the Jemez principles. May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org, later said she believed BEA was the only dedicated space in the movement to have these kinds of cross-sectoral strategy conversations. The success of the People s Climate March (PCM) has since inspired several groups to continue working together toward the COP 21 in Paris. BEA s Forum Review process, described above, is being set up to facilitate more partnerships and alignment processes such as those that came about during the PCM work. None of this is to say BEA for Impact takes intends to take credit for all successful collaborations! However, in its first two years, BEA has already been an invaluable catalyst and holder of space for partnership-building amongst grassroots, greens and funders the first serious effort of its kind to meaningfully address the structural disparities that exist between large green groups and community-based organizations. And through these new, multi-sector meetings and conversations, we fully expect to start expanding and moving resources directly to the grassroots organizing sector a primary goal of the initiative. It s a relatively nascent effort, but we have already achieved greater connectivity and synchronicity among these flanks of the movement than ever before. BEA for Impact has a proof of concept; it is working. What it needs now is next-level investment to bring it to scale, to finally achieve the full strategic power of alignment and equity within the environmental and broader 3

4 progressive movement overall. Recent News November 2014 marked BEA for Impact s second full group convening with 55 participants, including new voices from all three sectors plus mid-sized greens, socio-economic justice and civil rights groups. Part of the agenda included a preliminary review of on-the-ground case studies since the initiative s launch, including the PCM, proving the positive impact of authentic cross-sector relationship-building and partnership in the field. The full group convening also resulted in the development of BEA s multi-year strategic plan, details of which are described above. Also in 2014, green group participants Greenpeace, NRDC and Sierra Club all generously came forward with both in-kind and financial support for BEA for Impact. This is not only symbolically significant, but builds on critical support from a variety of foundations over the past two years to ensure grassroots participants continue to lead the initiative s work, development and convenings. BEA for Impact is currently supported by Clif Bar Family Foundation, the Johnson Family Foundation, The Overbrook Foundation, Solidago Foundation, Marisla Foundation, Scherman Foundation, Cloud Mountain Foundation and Patagonia, Inc. BEA is actively seeking other support as well not to create another large organization but to maintain operations that will help us act as a leveraging tool for the movement, to catalyze the much larger shift of resources to the grassroots a long-term goal of Building Equity and Alignment for Impact. Early 2015 BEA Meetings and Events Environmental Grantmakers Association Federal Policy Briefing: Through allied funders at The Overbrook Foundation, BEA for Impact participants and movement allies presented two panel discussions at the EGA Federal Policy Briefing. Although these sessions were not strictly about BEA, they both addressed BEA for Impact issues, such as local-to-global organizing as a winning strategy for environmental success and social justice, and the impact of federal policy initiatives on environmental justice communities. Both sessions were packed and highly rated by EGA members! Green Group presentation: BEA for Impact representatives presented before the Green Group, an invitation motivated by BEA members Sierra Club, Greenpeace, NRDC and 350.org, as well as Friends of the Earth, a BEA for Impact ally. This presentation was primarily informational for national greens who had not yet been briefed on BEA, and was also an opportunity for current green members of BEA to explain to their peers why supporting the grassroots organizing sector is a winning strategy for all why BEA is worth their time, and why they are leading their organizations to collaborate based on the Jemez Principles. Board Members of Color annual retreat: BEA for Impact representatives presented before the Board Members of Color, in a shared meeting with Green 2.0. This invitation came at an opportune time for BEA, since one of the requests coming out of the Bishop s Lodge meeting was to explicitly address race, equity and inclusion throughout BEA s retreats, 4

5 writings and programming. The full group acknowledged that within and among sectors, there are varying levels of understanding, experience and engagement around race -- something a co-presentation with Green 2.0, and possibly a future collaboration will help maximize efforts, avoid overlapping with other related initiatives, and increase the effectiveness of BEA s work. EDGE Funders Alliance annual conference: BEA for Impact participants attended the EDGE Funders annual meeting, hosting two sessions, one of which was a two-hour engagement lab for funders and activists to share stories and brainstorm how to build power collaboratively among sectors. As with the EGA sessions, EDGE s sessions were very well attended, and explored how BEA supports and relates to multiple sectors and issues across the movement. Continued meetings: As in past years, BEA for Impact s workgroups will continue to have consistent group calls and meetings, culminating in an annual full group retreat, tentatively planned for the late fall of Building Equity and Alignment for Impact is the first serious effort, possibly ever, to truly take on the funding disparity that exists between national green groups and the grassroots organizing sector. If we are successful, these resources can help us all achieve more victories, raise the level of all our work, and build the linkages that can make our movement a true force on the national and global level. But it can only succeed if it is a collective effort, a movement effort. This means we absolutely need the continued enthusiasm, participation and leadership of us all, together grassroots, green group and funder members. We have the opportunity, the commitment, the infrastructure and the resources to achieve our goals. And with your participation we can make it happen. This update just scratches the surface. If you are interested in BEA for Impact s background, want to know more about the historical context of this work, or are interested in supporting this work, please contact any of the following: Angela Adrar, Weaver group co-chair: Jose Bravo, Weaver group co-chair: Ife Kilimanjaro, Internal Support Team: Ananda Lee Tan, Internal Support Team: Samantha Harvey, Internal Support Team: Sarah Hansen, Internal Support Team: Building Equity and Alignment Initiative Representatives; November 2014: Angela Adrar, Rural Coalition (Weaver workgroup co-chair) Lindsey Allen, Rainforest Action Network (Communications workgroup co-chair) Angela Anderson, Union of Concerned Scientists Kalila Barnett, Alternatives for Community & Environment Colette Pichon Battle, Gulfcoast Center for Law and Policy May Boeve, 350.org Eleanor Bravo, Food & Water Watch José Bravo, Just Transition Alliance (Weaver workgroup co-chair) 5

6 Sadaf Cameron, Kindle Project Nelson Carasquillo, La Via Campesina Diana Copeland, East Michigan Environmental Action Council (Comms workgroup co-chair) Cecil Corbin-Mark, WEACT Lois DeBacker, Kresge Foundation Margie Fine, grassroots fundraising trainer Bill Gallegos, Communities for a Better Environment (Outreach workgroup co-chair) Lisa Garcia, Earthjustice Jihan Gearon, Black Mesa Water Coalition Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper and E3C Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network Sarah Hansen, The Overbrook Foundation (Internal Support Team) Samantha Harvey, The Overbrook Foundation (Internal Support Team) Sarah Hodgdon, Sierra Club Taj James, Movement Strategy Center Jill Johnston, Southwest Workers Union Daniel Katz, The Overbrook Foundation Ife Kilimanjaro, formerly EMEAC (Internal Support Team) Melissa Lin Perrella, NRDC (Outreach workgroup co-chair) Burt Lauderdale, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Katey Lauer, Alliance for Appalachia Antonio Lopez, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Diana Lopez, Southwest Workers Union Princess Lucaj, Gwich'in Steering Committee Ahmina Maxey, Zero Waste Detroit Cecilia Martinez, Center for Earth, Energy & Democracy (mapping and research lead) Michelle Andrea Martinez, formerly with Consortium of Hispanic Agencies Cynthia Mellon, Ironbound Community Corp Jayme Montgomery-Baker, WI League of Young Voters Education Fund Richard Moore, Environmental Justice & Health Alliance Svein Newman, Northern Plains Resource Council/WORC Y. Armando Nieto, Community Food and Justice Coalition Maya Nye, People Concerned about Chemical Safety Jeff Ordower, Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment / Rising Tide Barbara Osborn, Wow the Crowd (Consultant with Communications workgroup) Juan Parras, Texas Environmental Advocacy Services Jacqui Patterson, NAACP Environment and Climate Justice Program Mark Randazzo, EDGE Funders (Weaver group member) Judy Robinson, Coming Clean Alliance Joaquín Sanchez, Los Jardines Institute/Youth 4 Climate Justice Nicky Sheats, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance Nikki Silvestri, formerly People s Grocery and Green For All Hannah Strange, Greenpeace (Weaver group member) Ananda Lee Tan, GAIA (Internal Support Team) 6

7 Jumana Vasi, CS Mott Foundation Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Elizabeth Yeampierre, UPROSE / NYC EJ Alliance Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network Rachael Young, Mertz Gilmore Foundation 7

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