Though Hell or High Water: The #FundSouth Movement is Strong
Foundations have had an “on again, off again” love affair with the South. Funding there tends to be short-term and typically in response to a natural disaster, a national crisis or an election, but some significant infrastructure has been laid to coordinate and expand opportunities for sustained foundation giving.
That’s why last week, I and approximately 200 grantmakers and advocates from across the nation traversed horrific storms and endured prolonged travel delays to get to Charleston, South Carolina, for the Grantmakers for Southern Progress (GSP) 2017 Regional Convening. GSP is a philanthropic solutions hub that builds, aligns, and leverages resources and learning for strategic structural change efforts in the South. The three-day convening provided space to have discussions about capacity-building, building power for progressive change, racial justice, economic opportunity, and advancing equity in public education. It was also an opportunity to tour South Carolina’s Low Country and explore the history, culture and the sustainable future of the region and examine community development in North Charleston.
My flight from New York was diverted to Charlotte, where I luckily rented a car to drive the rest of the way. Even as dozens of other conference-goers were impacted by storms—one individual had to hire a rideshare to drive her all the way from Atlanta—nothing could deter us from getting there. Why the determination?
For me, it was personal.
I grew up in the South. I started my grantmaking career in North Carolina. For more than a decade, I’ve been advocating for increased philanthropic investment in the South. In 2013, I took my advocacy to social media, starting the hashtag #FundSouth as a direct response to conversations about the underinvestment of philanthropic dollars in Southern social Though Hell or High Water: The #FundSouth Movement is Strong | Schott Foundation for Public Education: