Grassroots Beginnings – Building New Power at the Local Level
Conceived and developed in 2002 as a donor and foundation collaborative, the New Majority Fund seeks to build a progressive new majority for America—a majority motivated and organized by values of social equity and justice, once again tipping the balance of the electorate to progressive outcomes. The New Majority Fund operates in eight key states (Arkansas, California, Colorado Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Virginia). The Fund supports community-based organizational infrastructure and a diverse constituency base while encouraging and sustaining state-based alliances to achieve both local and state victories.
What We Face–Addressing Today’s Urgent Threats
Since 2007, NWF has spent $15 million at the state level to advance our vision of a fair, just, and inclusive America. Today, many of the hard-won gains of the past 60 years are at great risk. The New Majority Fund has helped create threshold state capacity and a stronger cross-sectoral national force to contest:
- Voter suppression
- Regional inequality
- Union busting
- Educational inequality:
- Environmental abuse & deregulation
Our opponents are racing ahead, channeling millions of dollars into long-term efforts all over the country to suppress voter participation, dismantle basic environmental protections for workers, weaken organized labor, and eliminate desperately needed social services. They have learned from progressives about the importance of local, organizational, and leadership voices while progressive philanthropy has sadly lagged in supporting the local force out of which successful movements have historically been built.
Restoring Our Democracy–A 20/20 Vision
We are at a critical turning point, and must redouble our efforts to ensure that every American can meaningfully participate in our democracy.
NWF is now launching the 20/20 Vision Initiative, which is a targeted strategy that continues to invest in strong networks of leaders and organizations capable of fending off assaults on full democratic participation and wide scale economic security. We are encouraging old and new philanthropic partners to join NWF’s grantmaking—aiming toward an integrated community development framework that focuses simultaneously on individual opportunity, movement-building, and community renewal. People see and feel the impacts of local politics while local institutions allow them to become engaged and active. Getting back to the basics of inclusive democratic participation is more important now than ever before. Coupled with our deep experience and bold vision, NWF is well positioned to use our long experience in democracy building for identifying the right leaders and the right organizations to urgently and sustainably realize this vision.
Making a Measurable Difference by 2020
We believe that by 2020, we can make significant strides in five areas of strategic work:
- Redistricting—We are directing our resources to shift state house power to a degree that makes it possible for progressive policy to be advanced.
- Training new leaders—By 2020, we aim to increase the pool of new and young leaders by 20% by creating leadership pipelines for community activism, political office, and for work in policy and government service.
- The new common sense—By 2020, our work will aim to capture 20% of public opinion so that we can influence the broader political climate and reshape social and economic expectations at the municipal, county, and state levels.
- Building a new economy—By 2020, we aim to change 20% of the economy toward support for responsible businesses that are locally rooted and human scale, and support economic development that promotes labor and collective bargaining, the growth of green economy jobs, and the regulation of Wall Street and corporate excesses.
- Adding Resources—By 2020, through the use of NWF’s efficiency, credibility, and resources, we aim to bring 20% more financial capacity to secure and extend the organizing power of local people fighting for their own and our shared common-wealth.