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A Note of Gratitude, Holding Hope for What’s Ahead

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Dear Convergence Community,

We are coming to the end of another year, one that was filled with heartache, loss, frustration, exhaustion, and pain. And at the same time, I feel and hold hope from witnessing and experiencing the deep solidarity and collective strength of so many communities standing together to fight against genocide, oppression, and suffering.

The unwavering stance, determination and courage of frontline leaders and organizers to keep steadfast in the vision of a just and safe world gives me hope. I am deeply grateful for and inspired by the incredible Black, Indigenous, and Latinx leaders and organizations Convergence Partnership is supporting across the country who keep caring, keep loving, and keep pushing for the world we want for each other and our shared future.

Looking back at 2023, I am proud of the milestones we achieved alongside our funder partners and grantees:

  • Convergence Partnership shifted its funding strategies to focus on the intersections of racial justice and health equity three years ago. We are now celebrating nearly $3 million in grants to 12 frontline, people of color led and staffed organizations that are growing civic, economic, and narrative power. We marked this milestone in a series of blog posts, “Powerful Ripples of Change,” which spotlighted these organizations, their accomplishments, and the powerful work they have underway. I hope you will read more about them in these posts:

 

Narrative Power Unleashed: Communities Shifting and Claiming the Narrative

Growing Power and Resilience: Intersectional Organizing for Long-Term Wellbeing

Growing Civic Power for Systemic Change That Lasts Generations

 

  • The Funding Narrative Change report continues to serve as a resource as foundations are navigating their path in funding organizations that are pursuing narrative change and narrative power building. We are so happy to see this resource continue to provide insights and a framework for this critical element of social change. We are working on the follow up to this report, a series of case studies that provide deeper dives into types of narrative change work that organizations funded by Convergence Partnership are pursuing, with insights and recommendations for funders based on our experiences, and feedback from nonprofit partners.

 

  • At the CHANGE Philanthropy Unity Summit in October, we brought together community leaders and funders to talk about reparative philanthropy, and the real practices and shifts necessary to move the power locked in philanthropy to the communities that should be making decisions about these resources. Advancing Reparative Philanthropy: Decolonizing Practices to Share Power was facilitated by Sheena Brown from Decolonizing Wealth Project, with Chris Kabel from The Kresge Foundation, Craig Martinez from The California Endowment and Stephanie Simeon from Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc. in discussion. Chris Kabel, a long-time member of Convergence, shared an insightful and honest reflection of this work.

 

  • We launched our new website, ConvergencePartnership.org. The new site reflects the evolution of our work and partnership with frontline organizations and funders in places across the country that are working toward health equity by addressing systemic racism with community-driven solutions and growing people power.

 

  • Finally, we are in production with a new season of our podcast, spotlighting the stories and perspectives of our grantee partners. Those episodes will drop in the new year. You can find our previous season’s stories here.

 

At the beginning of the year, I shared a note about our commitment to staying the course, funding grassroots organizations, centering and prioritizing racial justice, and calling for philanthropy to stay focused. Now as this year comes to a close, we are even more determined to help realize a future where the resources and influence of philanthropy are fully aligned to the priorities of people at the frontlines of injustice.

As we enter 2024, with no doubt continued challenging and uncertain times, we all need to feel a sense of belonging, love, trust, and safety. These times require us to live into the power of kindness and compassion, not only towards others but towards ourselves. It means creating and maintaining boundaries and embracing the importance of rest. And maybe most importantly, to remind us that we are all in this together, not only working together but supporting each other to get through the darkness and into the light.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the Convergence Partnership’s work toward this vision. I hope this holiday season you are able to find tranquility and respite to come into the new year recharged to continue in the fight for equity, justice and peace.

Wishing you and yours safe and happy holidays, and look forward to connecting with you in the new year.

Amanda Navarro
Executive Director
Convergence Partnership