There are a growing number of foundations that are committed to addressing the stark inequities prevalent in the South and still others who also view the region as a strategic location to build power to influence Southern state and national politics. These foundations face at least two major challenges: the need to generate new resources for social justice work in the region, especially from donors based in the region; and the need to increase the strategic coordination among the progressive philanthropic actors who are currently investing in the region.
To address these challenges, GSP launched "As the South Goes". OpenSource Leadership Strategies, Inc. carried out a survey of close to 200 social justice organizations in the region and interviews or focus groups with 75 funders. The resulting analysis is summarized in this report.
Major conclusions from our research are these:
- There is a great need to increase social justice work in the South to improve social, economic and political outcomes for impoverished and marginalized communities, regionally and nationally.
- The barriers that limit funders' support of social justice work in the South can be overcome.
- The opportunities for strategic partnerships between and among Southern and national funders on social justice work are abundant, but require deeper listening and relationship building, as well as moving beyond comfort zones regarding strategy and capacity building.