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A Rejection of Attacks on Our Democracy; A Commitment to Strengthen Our Country for the Betterment of All People

Friday, January 15, 2021

Back in November after the 2020 elections, United Philanthropy Forum and many of our members issued a joint statement in which we called for a peaceful transition of power and urged philanthropic leaders and institutions to “use all of your moral, civic, and social capital to voice your strong and vigorous support for preserving and strengthening our democratic institutions.” In the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, that statement carries more urgency and relevance than ever. 

We strongly condemn the actions of the terrorists and white supremacists who committed acts of sedition by brazenly attacking the seat of American government and democracy, the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. We also acknowledge and forcefully repudiate those responsible for inciting this violent insurrection and attempted coup, including President Trump and other elected officials who relentlessly pushed baseless lies about the democratic process in America after the 2020 presidential election.

In the midst of it all, America bore witness to an all too familiar illustration of inequality in our country: An armed fascist mob made up of white supremacists looted and pillaged the Capitol (which was left to be cleaned by mostly Black and brown staff) and was treated with mostly restraint by police; while during the summer of 2020, people across the country protesting the continued mistreatment and murder of Black Americans at the hands of police were met with brute force and violence. It was a stark example of systemic racism in action, and yet another reminder of how much work remains to right the ills of this country.

Like our statement in November, we renew our call to philanthropic leaders and institutions to use all of your moral, civic, and social capital to voice your strong and vigorous support for preserving and strengthening our democratic institutions. We urge you to use your financial capital to invest in Black-led movements and organizations impacting change via social justice and racial equity. We also urge you to support the movements and organizations working on the frontlines in communities across the country to support the well-being and civil and human rights of Black, indigenous, people of color, immigrants, women and LGBTQ people who are most often targeted by white nationalists and by the ingrained systems that perpetuate racism and inequity in our country.

The Forum rejects the treasonous attempts of last week and calls for the perpetrators to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We also reject those elected officials who continuously perpetuate the notion of white supremacy disguised as legitimate public policy. We are committed to working with the Biden-Harris administration and Democratic and Republican members of Congress to advocate for legislation and regulations that address inequities across the country, recognize systemic racism, and seek to rectify social injustices. We are committed to continuing to work to strengthen our nation’s democracy, which we learned last week is more fragile than ever. And we are committed to working together as a network of nearly 90 philanthropy-serving organizations, representing more than 7,000 funders, to ensure that philanthropy plays its part to strengthen our country for the betterment of all people.

David Biemesderfer, President & CEO
United Philanthropy Forum

Amanda Misiko Andere, Chief Executive Officer
Funders Together to End Homelessness

John L Barnes, Executive Director
Funders Concerned About AIDS

Phil Buchanan, President
Center for Effective Philanthropy

Aaron Dorfman, President & CEO
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

Karla Fortunato, President
Connecticut Council for Philanthropy

Sean Gibbons
CEO, The Communications Network

Ruth LaToison Ifill, Interim President & CEO
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Anupama Joshi, Executive Director
Blue Sky Funders Forum

Joanne Kelley, Chief Executive Officer
Philanthropy Colorado

Anjana Pandey, Executive Vice President
Philanthropy Northwest

Megan Thomas, Interim President
Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties

Eddie Torres, President & CEO
Grantmakers in the Arts

Kathleen Traphagen, Lead Facilitator
Grantmakers for Thriving Youth

Maria Vizcarrondo, President & CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers

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