How to Make Giving for Racial Justice Count
With the recent surge of commitments and grant dollars towards supporting Racial Justice and Racial Equity, Hill-Snowdon's, Executive Director, Nat Chioke Williams, echoes his colleague, the late Allison Brown, Co-Director of the Communities for Just Schools Fund, on the misconceptions around these funds, the importance of focusing support towards Black-led organizing, and the critical impact that advocacy and policy change work have in creating a fair and just society for all Black people and everyone.
The Hill-Snowdon Foundation (HSF) was founded by Arthur B. Hill in 1959 and was managed by family members on a volunteer basis for 40 years as a typical "kitchen table" family foundation. By 1997, the Foundation’s assets had grown significantly, and the Board decided that they should be more strategic in their grantmaking. HSF partnered with the Tides Foundation beginning in 1998 and through this relationship developed a new focus to its grantmaking and began developing more systematic policies and procedures.
"Ten years ago, family members agreed that it was time to think bigger. What could we achieve, we asked, if we focused these resources on one or two issues?
What kind of difference could we make?"
-- Ashley Snowdon Blanchard (2009)
Arthur B. Hill, 90th Birthday
Back row, left to right: Edward W. Snowdon; Margot Snowdon; Dick Snowdon; Lee Hill Snowdon
Front row, left to right: Edward (Ted) W. Snowdon, Jr.; Arthur B. Hill
The focus for HSF's grantmaking is grounded in a philosophy of justice and fairness for some of the most vulnerable members of this society, low-income families - particularly low-income, youth of color and low-wage workers. Specifically, HSF chose to focus on Youth Organizing and Economic Justice Organizing. The Foundation’s new focus was also grounded in the idea of a re-invigorated democracy, particularly for those people who have been marginalized or whose voices had been held silent in the decision making process to determine policies and practices that directly affect them. The Fund for DC was created in 2006 with the goal of strengthening the infrastructure for community organizing in the District of Columbia. Thus, the Foundation has adopted a core strategy of supporting community organizing in order to develop the leadership, skills and collective power of low-income communities to influence the decisions that impact their lives.
Today, HSF continues to follow this philosophy and strategy and further build on it by remaining flexible and responsive to new opportunities and threats that affect low-income families and communities. In 2015 the Foundation has begun investing in building the infrastructure for Black institutional and political power through its Making Black Lives Matter Initiative. The Foundation also joined with our colleagues in 2017 to launch the Defending the Dream Fund to support grassroots organizing to resist the destructive policies of the Trump era and work towards a hopeful dream of a just, equitable and caring society. In 2019, the foundation released it's 2020 Plan, a multi-faceted two-year plan, and the Democracy’s Promise 20/21 Initiative – a new grantmaking initiative that will infuse additional grant dollars to a select group of current HSF grassroots partners for their civic engagement related work.
To learn more about the Hill-Snowdon Foundation story, read
Hill-Snowdon Foundation Family
Back row, left to right: Ted Snowdon; Dick Snowdon; Margot Snowdon
Front row, left to right: Ariana Snowdon; Ashley Snowdon; Andrew Snowdon; Elizabeth Snowdon
HILL-SNOWDON FOUNDATION TRUSTEES
HILL-SNOWDON FOUNDATION STAFF
1250 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036