'Making The Case' Community of Practice

The 2018 Cohort is launched!  

A community of practice on making the case for advancing equity and grassroots organizing in environmental health grantmaking 
** Registration for the 2018 cohort is closed.  See the application invitation below for details of this new HEFN program.

Environmental health and justice work is addressing critical problems directly affecting people’s health and lives. In every area of focus for HEFN members – from toxics and fracking to drinking water, zoning, and disaster response – we’ve seen groups of impacted people acting as critical whistle-blowers, community scientists, powerful advocates, valued allies, and innovative problem-solvers.  This community of practice program will help strengthen members' compelling cases for increased investment to this vital work.

Who should apply to HEFN's Making the Case Community of Practice and how would they apply? 

We encourage registrations from any HEFN member or other funder interested in enviornmental health and justice. Our goal is for this cohort to include funders at every place along the spectrum, from exploring or interested to already engaged.

Space will be limited to 12 participants to allow for small group work with expert support on each participant’s “making the case” challenges and skill development. Funders may apply to join the 2018 cohort by completing a short, online application before the Jan. 12, 2018, deadline. 

What are the elements and timeframe for Making the Case 2018?

Throughout the six-month program (January – June 2018), participants will build relationships with funding peers and staff supports, with access to regular communications through a cohort email group.

The program also will offer participants the opportunity to:

  • Assess areas of strength and challenges in making the case that advancing equity and grassroots support is in alignment with foundations’ mission and critical to their strategic success.
  • Convene in-person for a two-day opening retreat (February 6-7) and a closing two-day retreat (May 30-31), both in Chicago.
  • Participate in cohort webinars (March 6, March 28, April 24), sharing successful / less successful examples of their work and gaining knowledge of peers’ experience and effective practices.
  • Share their experience in a webinar presentation (June 18) to the larger HEFN community and/or at other funder events.
  • Get supplementary coaching calls (separate fee) to strengthen their practice in making the case.

How much does it cost to participate in the program?

The registration fee for this program is $1200 per person. The fee covers HEFN’s direct costs of the two in-person retreats, including all meals. The registration fees have been significantly subsidized by grants from HEFN members, to enable fuller participation. Should cost still be a barrier, please email Kathy Sessions.

Why is HEFN offering this Community of Practice?

In HEFN’s strategic direction, we’ve committed ourselves to building power for environmental health and justice. Goals include at least doubling investments and building leadership in this field, including by expanding giving to groups doing grassroots organizing and to groups led by people of color, women, young people, and low-income people. These priorities are rooted in an evidence base and moral imperative about the communities and populations most impacted by environmental health hazards. They also reflect a critical strategic interest in strengthening voices of the rising American majority to defend environmental health and justice values.

Who are the trainers for Making the Case?

HEFN’s Making the Case Community of Practice will be led by the Bay Area Justice Funders Network’s Rachel Humphrey (Program Director) and Dana Kawaoka-Chen (Network Director). Co-authors of the BAJFN “Choir Book: A Framework for Social Justice Philanthropy,” Rachel and Dana serve as trainers and facilitators for values-aligned practice in philanthropy.


Here’s what HEFN members who’ve participated in the BAJFN Harmony Initiative (a model being adapted for Making the Case) have to say about those trainings:

"I attended Harmony when we were deep in strategy development, and the retreats and one-on-one coaching were instrumental in helping me lead that process in a collaborative and values-aligned manner. Looking back, many of the ideas and strategies we talked about in Harmony shape the way I do my work today.” -- Jose Carmona, Program Director, The Energy Foundation

Harmony Initiative is both extremely practical and ‘big picture’ provocative. The Initiative has been foundational for me as I've moved to philanthropy from being an organizer and nonprofit executive director. If you seek strengthened professional capacity and deep relationships to leverage your investments and work for powerful social change, this program is for you!” -- Kathryn Gilje, Executive Director, Ceres Trust

The Harmony Initiative was an extremely valuable experience for me as someone who still feels quite new to philanthropy, but I believe its model lends unique benefits regardless of career stage. Harmony emphasized examining the historical context for why philanthropy functions the way it does, creating space to identify the conventional structures and processes that impede our ability to achieve transformational change. I left each retreat with skills and approaches that I was eager to share with my colleagues.” -- Jake Mogan, Program Associate, The 11th Hour Project

"The Harmony Initiative helped me to understand my place in philanthropy, and what I can bring to the field to help advance equity and social justice. The program's facilitators are thoughtful and responsive, and being part of a cohort of grantmakers focused on social justice is invaluable.” -- Padmini Parthasarathy, Program Director, The California Wellness Foundation

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