- Assets: $26,493 (2009)
- Grants Received: $74,986 (2009)
- Grants Awarded: $0 (2009)
Established in 1997 by Tracy Gary, Laura Loescher, and Mila Visser't Hooft, Changemakers is committed to increasing the amount of philanthropic funding given to organizations that promote leftist visions of social change and social justice. As writer Barry Loberfeld explains, in the lexicon of the political left, "social justice" is "the theory that implies and justifies the practice of socialism . . . domination by the State . . . the absence of a free market . . . repudiation of property rights . . . the opposite of capitalism . . . a 'classless' society created by the elimination of all differences in wealth and 'power.'"
Tracy Gary has been a donor activist and philanthropist for several decades. In 1978 she founded Community Consulting Services, through which she supports and trains donors, family foundations, financial service organizations, and nonprofits. She has also founded 17 nonprofit organizations, including Resourceful Women, the Women's Foundation of San Francisco, the International Donor Dialogue Network, and the Women Donors Network.
Laura Loescher, in addition to her duties with Changemakers, is an advisor to such organizations as Transforming Violence, Bread for the Journey, Added Value, and Spirit in Action.
Mila Visser't Hooft is a Menlo Park-based nonprofit professional who is a potter by trade. Apart from her role with Changemakers, she also serves as Fundraising and Outreach Manager for the Global Fund for Women, which makes grants to "support women's efforts to attain equality, peace and environmental autonomy under a range of often difficult social and economic conditions."
In the fall of 1997, Changemakers became a project of the Tides Center. Two years later, it was incorporated as a public foundation. Today it consists of five full-time workers and three part-time employees.
Changemakers defines itself as "a national public foundation that models and supports community-based social change philanthropy . . . to address root causes of social and environmental problems." In Changemakers' view, such grantmaking will help foster "a just society that is truly democratic and participatory; where everyone is given opportunities to live, work, play, create, interact and think with dignity, in a culture of respect and love; a society that is economically and ecologically sustainable, where people have global purpose, true interconnectedness, and appreciation for their diversity." Deeming the United States a nation plagued by racism, discrimination, and injustice, Changemakers considers the efforts of self-defined "social justice" organizations to be crucial to changing the country’s character. Viewing capitalist economies as breeding grounds for all manner of societal vices, Changemakers trumpets its crusade to help increase the "miniscule levels of funding [that currently] go to support people of color, women, LGBT people and others who have carried the brunt of social injustice in the United States."
In its stated quest “to address root causes of social and environmental problems,” Changemakers impugns "the effect of conservative economic and political trends on the non-profit sector; severe government cutbacks adversely affecting non-profits; [and] the growing gap between the rich and poor." Giving voice to its redistributive ideals, Changemakers’ self-identified mission is “to assure a more equitable and accountable distribution of resources for creating positive social change.”
With its outreach and advocacy arm, Changemakers strives to heighten public awareness of the need for greater levels of community-based philanthropy to "marginalized" segments of society. It does this by publishing articles in the print media, distributing educational material, and organizing donor conferences. Some of Changemakers' recently published articles bear such titles as, "Beyond the Culture of Greed and War: Hope in Philanthropy"; "Donor Education: A Strategy for Progressive Change"; and "The Case for Foundation Investments in Alternative Workplace Federations."
In recent years, Changemakers has earmarked grants for approximately 50 community-based groups and philanthropic organizations that work to address what they view as the root causes of social, economic, and environmental problems. Among these organizations are the Agape Foundation; Grantmakers Without Borders; Grassroots International; the Media Funders Group; the Ms. Foundation for Women; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the New World Foundation; Proteus Fund; RESIST; the Shefa Fund; the Threshold Foundation; and the Tides Foundation.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Changemakers, click here.
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)