FROM THE PRESIDENT
As a foundation committed to long-term economic opportunity and social justice, our grantmaking has intentionally focused on upstream solutions.
Supporting systemic change requires a deeper engagement with our nonprofit and foundation partners and, at times, a longer time frame for implementation. We know that investing in policy change or improving a system will not only help people today, but the whole stream of people who will follow. We believe our commitment to supporting upstream solutions makes the most significant impact in vulnerable populations.
Protecting democratic values, especially in these uncertain times, is crucial and Chambers Fund will invest in strategies to do just that. Social justice and democratic values underpin our funding because without those hallmarks of freedom, opportunities for all will not be realized. A fair and pluralistic democracy embraces justice, equality and opportunity and respect and understanding among people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. The aspirations for social justice encompass employment and economic self-sufficiency, equality and non-discrimination.
When we educate women, helping them become economically self-sufficient, we hope to break the cycle of poor and undereducated women who can’t find living wage employment. By supporting women’s futures, we’re helping women and their families at the same time. Poverty is not just about a single woman who can’t earn a living, it’s a multi-generational issue.
Similarly, we’re interested in improving early care and education because we believe that, by giving children a better start, they will have a better chance to be successful in school and in life. These children, as adults, will facilitate the process for others in the future.
We seek to create both the possibilities and demand for systemic solutions and the public awareness needed for implementation. Permanent sustainable change requires re-examining old policies and advocating for new and improved ones. It involves investing in solid ideas and framing policy debates so that decision makers and the public alike understand the real outcomes of public policy decisions and the role of effective government.
In the spirit of making a difference over the long-term, we fund organizations consistently. Once we’ve found an organization to invest in that works effectively with the resources we provide, our continued support increases what that organization can accomplish exponentially. We’ll often ask an organization, “For what do you have the most difficulty attracting resources?” And that’s where we’ll direct our support. I recognize that building the capacity of an organization, creating an endowment and funding operational costs are essential to an organization’s success.
We are fortunate to have the capacity to commit significant funds to nonprofits that are creating positive change. We hope that these upstream solutions, such as directing our support toward systemic change, will have a positive ripple effect for future generations.
Merle C. Chambers