What to Expect at UNITY Summit 2021

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What to Expect at UNITY Summit 2021

By: Luis Ramirez on October 7, 2021

Funders for LGBTQ Issues is a proud partner of CHANGE Philanthropy’s 2021 Unity Summit!

Every two years CHANGE Philanthropy brings together an array of funders who are committed to improving the impact of the philanthropic sector in our society. Join us starting October 25 for a fully virtual conference experience featuring live and pre-recorded content. The conference schedule includes live plenary sessions, arts and culture experiences, networking and community spaces, and interactive discussions about critical issues.

Register by October 22 to become a part of this year’s Unity Summit!

The Unity Summit is a special opportunity to connect with important partners in our movement to enhance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities, promote equity, and advance racial, economic, and gender justice. In anticipation of the UNITY Summit, Funders for LGBTQ Issues has prepared a list of conference events that our staff is planning or participating in.

 Abolition Solidarity: Deeping Philanthropy’s Partnerships with Movements
Tuesday, October 26 – Morning Session

Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ President, Saida Agostini-Bostic will moderate this plenary where panelists will address the evolutions and intersections of justice reform efforts and provide a model for how funders can work in solidarity with movement leaders.

George Floyd’s murder was a tragic and pivotal moment in the abolition movement. Following more than a decade of momentum, the heinous crime highlighted the ways structural racism in America still actively oppressed people of color – particularly Black people. A big question for philanthropy is how will the sector respond to this moment. Can we move from being reactive to being authentic partners with movement leaders seeking to center community health and safety? 

Parallel Pandemics: Addressing COVID-19 and Systemic Racism Through Grantmaking and Internal Transformation
Wednesday, October 27 – Afternoon Session

This plenty will examine philanthropy’s COVID-19 and racial reckoning response. It will challenge philanthropy to be partners and less extractive practices and processes. This dynamic panel will explore data equity, grantmaking practice adjustments, and barriers for addressing systemic racism while living through crisis. 

How has philanthropy responded to COVID-19 and our current racial reckoning – and what does our response say about the philanthropic sector? How can philanthropy get better at proactively responding to multiple crises? Join us for a dynamic panel that will dig into the latest research on the philanthropic response to these parallel pandemics, explore data equity, evaluate shifting grantmaking practices, and discuss the barriers for addressing systemic racism while living through a crisis. 

Equitable Data Design, Analysis & Impact
available as a pre-recorded session

As philanthropy continues to work to meet calls for intersectional racial equity and accountability from both within and outside the sector, data and reporting are essential tools. Data reflects and creates reality in the philanthropic sector. By integrating an equity lens in current practice, it is possible to truly transform the sector. This session will stage a conversation with researchers and advocates to reflect on the past, present, and future of the uses of data to drive change in philanthropy.

After sharing context and background on the origins of mainstream sector data infrastructure, participants will highlight current projects offering new models that prioritize intersectionality and equity in data collection, analysis, and reporting. The session will conclude with reflections on the most pressing challenges standing in the way of more equitable data design and analysis and offer opportunities for future work and action.

Moving Money to Grassroots with Inclusive,
Intersectional, Equitable Practices

available as a pre-recorded session

In this powerful fire session, panelists share how their institutions are moving money to grassroots organizations with inclusive, intersectional and equitable practices. You’ll learn about the money moving machinery needed to get resources to grassroots organizations – from technical needs and building relationships with local funders to internal practices that allow for deep engagement with movement organizations over the longer term. Speakers also talk about how philanthropy can mess up relationships and coalition spaces through its work, and they offer tips to evaluate and hopefully remedy these missteps. Finally, speakers describe how foundations can utilize all of their assets to align with the values that grassroots organizations and social movements, including divestment from extractive industries. With examples from Borealis Philanthropy, Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Out in the South Fund, Justice Funders, Neighborhood Funders Group’s Amplify Fund and Native Americans in Philanthropy, you don’t want to miss this session! #movemoney

The Southern Power Fund: Resourcing Southern Movements to Win
available as a pre-recorded session

Join us to learn about the work of the Southern Power Fund, which has moved over 10 million dollars to Southern movement work since March 2020. We offer a framework for moving money and resources in a way that that meets the needs and supports the vision of Southern movement organizations during this political moment and beyond. Built upon decades of work and wisdom from Southern movement organizations both old and new, SPF is moving money in a way that contrasts traditional philanthropic practices so that we are able to support some of the most critical work happening throughout the region. Listen in on our discussion to hear concrete examples of how we can move money in a way that reduces barriers to access for groups on the ground throughout the South who continue to build the world we all deserve.

CHANGE Partner Booth 

Come connect with us during the conference at the Funders for LGBTQ Issues booth!

Unity Change Button

This sampling of sessions is just a taste of all the thoughtful, intersectional content available at the Unity Summit. The deadline to register is October 22. All of us at Funders for LGBTQ Issues hope to see you there!

Image note: Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash

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