All posts in Social Justice
As we prepare to close up shop at the Kapor Foundation and celebrate our debut in our new skin as the Kapor Center for Social Impact, we wanted to conduct a thorough analysis of what we’ve learned from the terrific community of organizations we’ve worked with since our program areas launched in 2007.
Attached please find our Green Access and VoICE retrospective papers. Many thanks to Judi Powell of Seven Hills Philanthropy for her meticulous work in shaping our learnings, which were gathered from final reports, internal analysis, and interviews with community leaders. We are distributing the reports through our professional affinity associations: Funders Committee for Civic Participation, Bay Area Justice Funders Network, and Neighborhood Funders Group. We hope that you, as funder peers and community colleagues, will find them to be instructive and even inspiring!
Download the Green Access Program Retrospective here.
One of my favorite events in philanthropy concluded this past weekend – the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) Annual Conference. Several colleagues from the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, ABFE Fellows (I’m class of 2011), and allies from across the country converged in the city of Chicago to assess our call to action to improve conditions affecting black communities in America. This year’s theme focused on coupling innovation with investment as a means to delivering greater impact through individual and collective efforts.
Chicago served as a fitting city to hold such a convening as its black community has been plagued by high unemployment rates (top five in the country), low high school graduation rates and highest dropout rates (55% and 42% respectively), and strings of highly publicized acts of violence among black men, women, young adults, and children. I think we can agree that blacks in Chicago are living with and experiencing trauma ad nauseum. (more…)
This week the Kapor Center welcomed the President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Benjamin Todd Jealous, to our Oakland diggs. Jealous is no stranger to the Bay Area. He is a Monterey native and the former President of the Rosenberg Foundation, based in San Francisco.
Jealous was cool enough to take a quick break from his relentless pursuit of equity for all – not just black folks – and spoil us with an intimate conversation touching on the org’s 104 years of existence, expansion of social and racial justice issues – including marriage equality, and use of tech to accelerate its campaign and membership base.
Jealous credits Kapor Foundation founders, Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein, with helping him and his team think forwardly about tech and its potential to ignite membership engagement and accelerate national organizing efforts. For example, the NAACP utilized two of the most prolific social networking mediums – Twitter and Facebook – to galvanize communities across the country for its Save Troy Davis – Too Much Doubt campaign. That year #TooMuchDoubt was the second most trended hashtag in the twitterverse. (more…)
Just in case you missed this announcement on our home page, we’re excited to share news of our next iteration!
On a related note, we’ll continue sharing news here on the mkf.org site until our changeover officially happens on May 15th.
For the past year, we’ve been keeping you abreast of an ongoing strategic shift here at the Kapor Foundation. We’re very excited to announce that we’ve arrived. As of May 15, 2013, the Kapor Foundation will have a new public face, the Kapor Center for Social Impact. Through a shared vision, set of values, and program activities, we’ll work more closely with Kapor Capital, our sibling venture capital microfirm focused on seed-stage tech startups.
The Kapor Center’s working mission is to “relentlessly pursue creative strategies that will leverage tech for positive social impact in underrepresented communities, primarily focusing on closing academic, political, health, and economic gaps.” This mission represents our deep belief in the power of information technology as a tool to accelerate social good, and fully aligns with the Kapors’ longtime involvement in the tech industry, stemming back to their days at Lotus Development Corporation in the early 1980s.
Last week, I joined my colleague at the Foundation, Justin Davis, as well as my colleague from Kapor Capital, Brian Dixon, and traveled down to Austin, TX, to take part, for the first time, in the week and a half affair that is South by Southwest (SXSW). Specifically, I was there for SXSW’s Interactive Festival, with its focus on all things technology-related.
Like much of my travel for the Foundation, it was a privilege to attend. Particularly so this time because it was a new and unfamiliar setting, one in line though with the Foundation’s pivot. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve attended a conference where social justice wasn’t in some way central to the gathering, and, quite a few years, probably not since the World Social Forum, since attending a conference as large as this one.
There’s much I’m still processing from the trip and many folks to follow-up with. In the meantime, though, here are some early reflections: (more…)
This article, Diversity in Tech and the Myth of Meritocracy, recently posted on Ebony.com is special for several reasons: the author, Tracey Ross, is an Oakland native, a UC Berkeley graduate, and an alumna of a Kapor-supported scholarship program. This article shows only a small bit of her awesomeness.
It also revisits the ongoing discourse about the false equivalency in the tech industry between tech’s reaching people in every demographic group and tech being a demographically “diverse” and representative sector. Anyone who looks closely at the makeup of tech firms, VC firms, or startups accelerators can see that this fabled representation just ain’t so. Mitch Kapor said as much in 2011 on CNN’s Black in America; Freada Kapor said it again last year, and Tracey is reasserting it again here.
SPOILER ALERT (kinda): In the coming months, we’re going to be actively focusing on diversifying the tech sector through funding, advising, convening, and advocacy. You’re going to be hearing a lot more about this from us.
Meanwhile, congrats to Tracey!
Just wanted to loop back around with everyone; we’ve received a few eager inquiries about our2013 grantmaking priorities. As we’ve mentioned before, we’re in store for some major changes as we shift our focus to tech-driven strategies and tools that further social justice/social impact. Once ready, we’ll announce the changes here on our website and Twitter account, so please check back with us in mid-February for updates.
I love that the Presidential Inauguration falls on the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. Rather than pontificating on the vision and promise that these two leaders represent, I’m simply going to challenge myself to use this day as a jumping off point for the next year of social justice work, as related to Dr. King’s legacy, and the next four years of social impact efforts in the age of President Obama. What can we individually and collectively accomplish in the next year/four years? Let’s go! Best wishes for a powerful, peaceful, and (broadly defined) prosperous 2013.
Photo from theSoulPitt.com
Last month our grant recipient, People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) along with the Urban Habitat and the DataCenter released a compelling new report, Next Stop: Justice/Próxima Parada: Justicia which analyzes San Francisco’s public transit system, offering a vision for transit policy that puts race and the environment at the center. The report includes 10 case studies of transit lines throughout Southeast San Francisco and survey data from over 700 transit riders which show:
- Low-income communities and communities of color cannot afford Muni’s rising fares.
- San Francisco spends $9.5 million per year to implement its “Proof of Payment” fare enforcement program and recovers only $1 million in lost fares.
- Public transit can move the local economy.
- Reducing transit fares can help San Francisco reach its climate objectives by increasing ridership.
- Bus riders in the core communities of color in SF are impacted by long waits and overcrowded buses.