- Assets: $3,367,971 (2014)
- Grants Received: $10,000 (2014)
- Grants Awarded: $354,000 (2014)
The Fund For Nonviolence (FFN) “cultivates and supports efforts to bring about social change that moves humanity towards a more just and compassionate coexistence.” This organization was established in 1997 by Betsy Fairbanks, who remains its president and CEO. In addition to her work with FFO, Fairbanks was associated for 21 years with the Resource Center for Nonviolence/Eschaton Foundation. In 2000 she initiated the Tides Foundation‘s Death Penalty Mobilization Fund, an activist/funder collaborative committed to “abolish[ing] the death penalty at the state and/or federal levels.” From 2001-06, Fairbanks was a board officer with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, a nonprofit group that advocates for the repeal of capital punishment. Further, she has been active with Funders for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Citing the “transformative power of nonviolence” as the most effective catalyst for “progressive social change” that begets “justice and peace” for all people, FFN explains that much of the violence plaguing humanity is simply “built into [the] social structures” of some nations. Most notably, the Fund regards the United States as a country whose inherent racism, aggression, and materialism breeds high levels of violence.
With a grantmaking program that emphasizes the need to promote “social justice” for the “marginalized communities” that allegedly are downtrodden across the U.S., FFN directs its philanthropy toward organizations that embrace pacifist, anti-capitalist, multiculturalist, and anti-American agendas. As the Fund tells it, such groups typically “pursue structural changes to root causes of race, class, and gender injustice”; “value the active involvement of members of the communities most impacted by the violence and social injustice being addressed”; “understand and articulate the impact of their work on women and promote the leadership of women within the organization”; work through networks, coalitions and alliances; and reflect “the spirit of nonviolence in their organizational relations, structure, and process.”
Among the many recipients of FFN grants are such organizations as the American Friends Service Committee, the California Prison Moratorium Project, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the Center for International Policy, Critical Resistance, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Grantmakers Without Borders, Grassroots International, Human Rights Watch, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the League of Young Voters Education Fund, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, MADRE, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans For Peace, Win Without War, and Women’s Voices Women’s Vote (now known as the Voter Participation Center).
FFN’s Justice With Dignity (JWD) program contends that the American criminal-justice ststem is rife with racism and discrimination against nonwhites, who account for a disproportionate share of the nation’s arrestees and prison inmates. To address this issue, the Fund supports organizations that strive not only to reduce American society’s “dependence on incarceration,” but also to “expose and challenge” the “human rights abuses” to which prisoners and ex-convicts alike are allegedly subjected on a daily basis. Grants in this program area go to groups that seek to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated nationwide, outlaw capital punishment, and promote “safe and healthy communities” by “engaging those [who are] harmed by crime and/or most affected by the criminal-justice system.”
Complementing the efforts of the JWD initiative is FFN’s Lifting Voices of Resistance (LVR) program, which supports efforts to “redirect our national focus and resources away from the politics of war” and towards “the development of institutions and economies that promote healthy communities, justice, and peace.” In pursuit of this end, LVR seeks to defund the U.S. military, greatly scale back its size and mission, and put a stop to its interventions around the world.
By the same token, LVR backs organizations that “challenge the legitimacy of U.S. military policies”; “demand [U.S.] adherence to international treaty obligations”; “reject preemptive [military] strikes in any country”; demand that the U.S. stop violating “human rights norms on torture” in its dealings with suspected terrorists; and support “anti-militarism leadership and activism” by war veterans, members of the military and their families, and “communities of color” and lower-income people who are “targeted for military recruitment.”
Among the members of FFN’s governing board are individuals who have previously worked for such entities as the ACLU, the American Friends Service Committee, the Arcus Foundation, and the Atlantic Philanthropies.