Press Release

Liberty Hill Foundation Announces Historic Investment in Grassroots Organizing & Power-Building

Withdrawing 14% of Endowment During Pandemic

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For Immediate Release
Courtney Kassel, Chief Communications Officer,
Date: Monday, August 2, 2021

(Los Angeles)—Liberty Hill Foundation, the leading social justice foundation in Los Angeles, announced today a historic investment in the local grassroots and community organizing ecosystem and its leaders of color in L.A. County.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors enthusiastically approved an unprecedented endowment withdrawal of 14% to expand the scope and impact of the Foundation’s Fund for Change and Liberty Vote! grantmaking programs, which provide general operating support grants for community and electoral organizing in L.A. County. This investment will enable Liberty Hill to distribute more than $3.34 million in two-year general operating grants to 65 grassroots organizing groups this year—more than tripling the previous Fund for Change disbursement—and expanding the Foundation’s total overall grantmaking portfolio to more than $19 million this year so far. These grants will support ongoing efforts to advance crucial campaigns, provide direct relief for frontline communities, and support the longevity of partner organizations during the pandemic and beyond.

This is the largest investment in organizing in the Foundation’s history.

“Liberty Hill is taking a bold step by committing 14% of our endowment to community organizing, greatly exceeding the national standard of 5%,” said Liberty Hill Board Co-Chair Amelia Williamson. “We did not make this decision lightly. In the midst of a global pandemic that has upended both lives and livelihoods, we know that our greatest asset is the people power we built by investing in the critical work of movement leaders on the ground. We appreciate the generous support of the entire Liberty Hill community of donor activists and foundation partners as we commit these additional funds to fuel grassroots activism and ensure the people closest to the pain are closest to the power.”

Founded in 1976, Liberty Hill is a public foundation whose mission is to leverage the power of community organizers, donor activists and other allies to advance social justice. Liberty Hill works to raise funds to support community organizations—led by people in low-income communities of color—that build power through grassroots community organizing, coalition building, partnerships, and advocacy.

This year’s cohort of grant recipients also represents an incredibly diverse group—including Black, Native-led, and transgender-led organizations spanning a wide area of Los Angeles County—including areas like Pomona, the Antelope Valley, Long Beach and other regions—with a focus on racial justice, youth and transformative justice, economic and housing justice, environmental and climate justice, and LGBTQ and gender justice.

Along with funding a strong group of longstanding community organizations, this expanded strategy also underscores Liberty Hill’s commitment to supporting emerging organizations at various levels of development. With a unique focus on “Rising Activist'' organizations that have formed within the last 10 years, with annual budgets of less than $500,000 and fewer than three full-time staff members—these partners represent underrepresented communities and geographies with limited existing nonprofit infrastructure. Investments in these groups are particularly critical as low-income people of color continue to be displaced from central areas of the County to neighborhoods where fewer institutions exist to advocate for historically oppressed communities.

While Liberty Hill is prioritizing Rising Activist groups, the Foundation remains committed to funding activism at all stages, including through their Liberty Vote! Grantmaking program designed to fuel electoral organizing through 501c4 organizations.

“Unprecedented times call for bold choices. In this time of great struggle in Los Angeles and beyond, Liberty Hill’s leaders have intentionally decided to make a historic investment in community organizing,” said Liberty Hill President/CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith. “We know it works. Frontline community activists are leading the fight toward a just recovery and we are proud to remain fully committed to our mission of building people power and fighting for a future where Justice for All is realized. We encourage our allies in philanthropy to join us in moving money to low-income communities of color in these crucial times with as few restrictions as possible.”

About Liberty Hill Foundation

Liberty Hill Foundation is a laboratory for social change philanthropy. We leverage the power of community organizers, donor activists, and allies to advance social justice through strategic investment in grants, leadership training, and campaigns. We envision a society in which all people have a powerful voice, including those currently shut out of our democracy, people cut off from opportunities because of their skin color, gender or sexual orientation, where they live, or where they were born. We will not rest until society provides justice and equality for all.

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Fund for Change