MMMC Conference Article

Will the Revolution be Funded?

Funding Exchange, along with Resource Generation, Third Wave Foundation, and Tides Foundation, organized the 10th annual Making Money Make Change (MMMC) Conference, a space for young people with wealth to learn about wealth redistribution and social justice.

Participants learned and discussed topics from challenging racism and developing social justice giving plans, to how to recognize class privilege and leverage it for social change.Much offline discussion, however, was stirred by the thought-piece, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, a collection of essays critiquing the structure of the nonprofit sector, edited by FEX grantee, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence.A critical issue raised was if, in current conditions, organizations are becoming accountable to the holders of wealth rather than to grassroots communities.

Prior to the conference, FEX staff have been asking: Are our programs still “cutting edge” or have we become comfortable with processes? How effectively are we meeting the diverse needs of today’s progressive movement? Through the conversations at MMMC I left with more questions than answers. I’m aware that these same conversations must have taken place years ago when the founders of FEX and a small group of visionary donors broke with the philanthropic traditions of the day to create community funding boards and embedded activist-advised grantmaking in the essence of the Funding Exchange.

At the conclusion of MMMC, one participant stated, “If the revolution is going to be funded, the Funding Exchange will find a way.” By asking critical questions and pushing ourselves to best reflect our constituents and live our politics, we can improve upon a strong progressive foundation established.Though the names of the persons that laid the groundwork for the Funding Exchange years ago are not all known to me, I am grateful and mindful of their vision and courage as we look to work ahead.

– Trinh Duong, Director of Grantmaking