Collectively caring through resource sharing

This week, we are encouraging folks to center themselves in community to help guide us through this moment. This post includes some collective care resources from movement leaders and healing justice practitioners that have moved us in the past few months.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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by Sabrina Rich, Communications Team

As a queer feminist foundation that has been around for over four decades, we know what it is that allows us to survive, thrive, and heal: being in community.

As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to take a toll on our bodies, our psyches, and our everyday lives, we’re reflecting on what it means to truly stand in those communities. This post is an offering in that service. In these uncertain times, we know that caring for communityneighbors, friends, chosen family, and ourselvesis vital and necessary for supporting our collective healing. 

To quote our Healing Justice Report,

 “Over the last decade, we at Astraea have witnessed and been moved by the emergence and rise of healing justice work—resiliency and survival practices that center the collective safety and wellbeing of communities—as an integral part of our fight for collective liberation. We have learned from our grantee partners how these practices and traditions can be tools for building power, and how they can deepen and sustain the long and hard work of movement-building. Rooted in their wisdom, we continue to work to integrate healing justice as a core aspect of our grantmaking and accompaniment to organizations and movements, both in the U.S. and globally.” 

In that spirit, we’re uplifting some powerful healing justice resources that have moved us recently for their social justice and community focused approaches to healing. These resources come from movement leaders and healing justice practitioners who have and continue to prioritize collective care as integral to our freedom, and to achieving justice for all. We hope they will be helpful to you and your communities as you seek to find ways through this moment and beyond.

Some highlights!

Healing Justice Resources:

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How we’re supporting our partners now and for the long haul

This week, we’re pleased to share with you Astraea’s COVID-19 Collective Care Response: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul. This response to the pandemic aims to bolster our grantee partners now and for the long haul as they care for their communities and confront the pandemic’s impacts across the globe.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul, is Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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by Astraea’s Development Team

Last week, we officially launched our blog and wrote about some of the immediate steps Astraea has taken to address the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our grantee partners around the world. 

This week, we want to take a bigger picture approach and share with you Astraea’s COVID-19 Collective Care Response: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul. We recognize that the health, economic, social, and political repercussions of the pandemic are going to stay with us for a long time to come, and we know that the communities Astraea exists to support – LBTQI, Black, brown, migrant, poor and working class – will continue to be those hardest hit by COVID-19. Astraea’s response aims to bolster our grantee partners now and for the long haul as they care for their communities and confront the pandemic’s impacts across the globe.

In Guayaquil, a city in Ecuador that lacks the public health infrastructure to handle its extensive COVID-19 outbreak, Astraea grantee partner Mujer y Mujer is providing food and money to sex workers, LGBTQI people, survivors of gender-based violence and individuals with limited mobility. In the U.S., grantee Southern Vision Alliance is offering financial support for coronavirus-related organizing in North and South Carolina, with priority given to efforts led by LGBTQ people, workers, youth, rural communities, Black people and people of color (POC), migrants, dis/abled people and families. In Botswana, grantee Rainbow Identity is supporting its constituents with mental health referrals and food packages. These strategies represent a massive collective care response for and by those excluded from mainstream systems. Astraea grantee partners are also continuing their advocacy to prevent further human rights violations, violence and criminalization caused by the pandemic, as well as seizing new opportunities to advance their agendas.

As a queer feminist fund that prioritizes organizations working at the intersections of multiple identities and oppressions, Astraea provides long-term, flexible, and accessible support to some of the most under-resourced communities around the world. Grounded in our Feminist Funding Principles and Healing Justice framework, we have been moved to launch our COVID-19 Collective Care Response

Many emergency funds have blossomed to address immediate needs, and these are an imperative part of philanthropy’s efforts. However, grassroots organizations need long-term resources to care for their people, transform their strategies to meet the moment, and bolster their resilience for now and the next ten years. Astraea’s role is to do what we have always done, but more deeply. 

In order to support our grantee partners to respond to emergent needs now and continue their critical work for years to come, Astraea’s COVID-19 Collective Care Response has two goals:

  • Raise at least $1 million from institutional and individual donors to provide increased flexible, unrestricted support for our grantee partners and build on Astraea’s close grantee accompaniment. We are glad to be halfway to that goal already. Our program team is already granting out new funds raised and as we are able to secure additional funds, we will continue to move resources to grantee partners for the short-, medium- and long-term unfolding of this crisis. 75% of the funds will be immediately regranted to our partners, with 25% resourcing Astraea’s ability to partner with movements for the long haul.
  • Amplify the importance of resourcing grassroots LBTQI and POC-led organizing, through our philanthropic advocacy and communications (including this blog!) Our communities are too often excluded from mainstream philanthropic and government responses to emergencies like this pandemic. Astraea is fiercely committed to doing all we can to center the grassroots movements who have the solutions we need to emerge from COVID-19 into a more just world. 

COVID-19 is both an unprecedented crisis and, in terms of its impacts, a foregone conclusion. Without access to sustainable, flexible resources, grassroots movements are vulnerable: when conditions change and harms increase, requiring infusions of cash and capacity, activists struggle to keep organizations open and their members safe as they try to pivot and respond. This pandemic pulls back the curtain from years of undervaluing the organizing efforts of those most impacted by dire crises. 

Astraea’s coronavirus response recognizes that now is the time for philanthropy to make good on our knowledge that long-term, flexible, general operating support and much more of it, is what our communities have long needed. Those who are closest to the problems that need addressing are best positioned to set their own priorities and determine where resources should go. 

We deeply appreciate our resource partners who have already joined our COVID-19 Collective Care Response, and we applaud those in philanthropy who are increasing flexible funding to frontline groups. As we see what it is possible for philanthropy to do when confronted with a crisis, we know that this moment is ripe for transformation. Philanthropy must move as much unrestricted funding to the ground as we can, into the hands of those who are now and will be most impacted by COVID-19 for many years to come. Join us.

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Meeting the Moment

For Astraea’s 190+ grantee partners, the pandemic has deepened the challenges that they face, including surveillance, criminalization and violence, limited access to healthcare, economic hardship, crackdowns on civic space, and much more. This week’s blog post is a deep dive into some of the concrete steps we have already taken to amend our grantmaking process and relieve administrative burdens for grantees, so that they are able to access funding quickly and seamlessly.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul, is Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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by Mihika Srivastava and Kyli Kleven

In the last few months, we have all watched our world change dramatically around us. For Astraea’s 190+ grantee partners, the pandemic has deepened the challenges that they face, including surveillance, criminalization and violence, limited access to healthcare, economic hardship, crackdowns on civic space, and much more. We have taken this time to reach out to our grantees all over the world, and really tune into their needs at this time. We have been learning from the ways many grantees have rapidly adapted their strategies to meet the moment, and begun to shift our own so that they continue to be determined by grantees’ priorities.

As always, our grantees and LBTQI grassroots movements at large have put their communities first by organizing in powerful and critical ways. They stand on the frontlines of the pandemic caring for their communities. For them, collective care looks like providing basic necessities, offering healing support, facilitating connections to health care, participating in mutual aid, and ensuring holistic and digital security.

As a queer feminist fund that prioritizes organizations working at the intersections of multiple identities and oppressions, Astraea provides long-term, flexible support to some of the most under-resourced communities around the world. In 2019, 75% of our funding to grantees was in the form of general operating support grants. While this moment is an unprecedented one, it calls on us as a feminist funder to commit even more deeply to these core values and practices.

“Movement building must go on and we as funders have to do our part to keep grantees resourced and financially secure. We know that both funding and other kinds of non-financial support are critical, and so it is essential that we are sending our grantees on-time payments, extending proposal and submission deadlines where needed, changing convening dates and/or moving to virtual convenings, or other new solutions that need to become practice in the weeks and months ahead,” says Astraea Interim Program Director Kerry Ashforth.

As a first step, our Program Team worked to amend our Spring 2020 grantmaking cycle to relieve grantees of as many administrative burdens as possible, and prioritize their ability to access funding quickly and seamlessly. Here are some of the steps we have taken:

  1. In March 2020, we communicated with renewal groups and waived proposal requirements for any who had not already submitted them.
  2. We have made additional funding available to existing grantees where able, and we are raising new funding to be able to do so for even more grantees going forward.
  3. We are working hard to move our current grants out more quickly, so partners are better equipped to weather the storm.
  4. Program Officers have been checking in with grantees to support with any capacity building and other accompaniment needs they may have, beyond funding.
  5. Realizing that many partners would struggle with internet access and costs, we sent offline versions of our application to as many grantees as possible. In some cases, program staff walked applicants through proposals over the phone and took notes for them.

Speaking to why it felt so critical to make these changes, our Senior Grants Manager Miabi Chatterji said, “Astraea already provides general operating support to most of our grantee partners because we believe that is the best way to support movement building. We were also already in the midst of accepting applications for our current grant cycle when the pandemic expanded globally. Our staff became incredibly aware of the need to do everything we could do to make things easier for grantee partners and try to get them their funds faster.

Above all, we are trying to use this time to question our assumptions and practices. What information do we have to collect from grantee partners, and why? What modes of communication are most accessible and genuine to grantees? What can we streamline? Can we make these practices permanent? In what ways can we create an even better future state of normal?

We are remaining flexible and nimble in the coming weeks and months around our reporting and decision-making, particularly as we begin to plan for future grantmaking cycles. Creative solutions in grants management can often look like new metrics for tracking grantee partners’ work, or online systems for grantees to submit written materials but this moment calls for a different kind of creativity. Though many of these best practices are in place, we’re deepening and expanding our ability to weave compassion into grantmaking systems.

Throughout the coming months, we will be working to find creative solutions to these and many other questions that arise, with the ultimate goal of continuing to build power for our movements, now and over the long haul.

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LBQ organizations center collective care; let’s resource them and learn from them

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice says a “return to normal” should not be our goal.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul, is Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

This week, we’re sharing a piece we wrote for the Advocate on Lesbian Visibility Day about the leadership of LBQ movements and the responsibility of the funding community to recognize and resource them.

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We know there are two ongoing realities for LBQ people: 1. LBQ-identified women and non-binary people’s lives are being threatened everyday around the world, and 2. LBQ-identified women and non-binary activists are not only creating change in their own lives, but also are building a new political reality that is inclusive, respectful, and safe for all oppressed and marginalized communities—and indeed, for us all.

As a result of heightened threats to LBQ communities’ safety and security during the current crisis, organizations around the world have been forced to rapidly shift and adapt their strategies.

Read more in our piece for the Advocate

Learn more about our partnerships with incredible LBQ organizations!

  • Watch our Lesbian Day of Visibility video featuring a number of our LBQ grantees
  • Look out for our upcoming report, “Vibrant Yet Under Resourced: The Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements” with Mama Cash
  • Check out our infographic on LBQ strategies for Liberation
  • Read about Astraea’s lesbian roots and some of our first grants in this article for them.

Caring for community, caring for ourselves

Astraea’s blog, Resourcing Resilience: On healing, hard times, and staying hopeful, is Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In our first post, we share resources on mutual aid, queer funding opportunities, work from home, and letting go of productivity.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul, is Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

Mutual Aid and Queer Relief Resources

We have been so moved to see the ways that communities are coming together to support each other in this moment of need, so we thought we’d share a few mutual aid and queer relief/donation opportunities* from around the world that might be of interest to any of you looking to contribute!

*This is by no means an exhaustive list!

International

United States

On ‘Work’ and ‘Productivity’ During the COVID-19 Pandemic

For those of us who are lucky enough to be able to continue doing our jobs right now from the safety of our homes, we are all adapting to working remotely and having our homes become our offices. For some Astraea staff working remotely is their norm (we’re spread out all over the world!) and one of the first things many of our remote colleagues graciously did was to share some of their remote working tips with us, so we wanted to pass them on to all of you! 

We also acknowledge that working during a crisis is HARD and frankly, not always possible – some of us are now full-time caregivers to loved ones of all ages, others may be managing anxiety, depression or other conditions, and most all of us are finding we have to spend more time just looking after ourselves, our homes, and our people. With that in mind, we also wanted to share a couple of resources about what it means to reject ‘productivity’ right now, and focus more on just being gentle with ourselves.

Remote Working

Putting Yourself First and Productivity Later