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AFF launched a new podcast series. Listen now!
AFF is launching a new video and podcast series that centers youth in the movement to abolish harmful systems and who are envisioning community-centered approaches to supporting youth and families. Watch now to get a sneak peek of the topics we’ll address.
Youth organizers featured in this video include:
Meyiya Coleman, Communities United
Xochtil Larios, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ)
Anahi Figueroa-Martinez, Juvenile Law Center
Laura Rosado, Visionary Freedom Fund
Jemima Abalogu, Visionary Freedom Fund
Bre Stoves, Care Not Control (Original song – Untold Story)
Last year, the Andrus Family Fund launched a strategic refresh that boldly centers abolition. Since the launch, the AFF board has fully supported the shift in AFF’s grantmaking priorities to resource organizations that build community power and are organizing to transform (and ultimately abolish) disruptive systems. Coming to embrace abolition was an evolutionary process that entailed learning from and ceding power to our movement partners.
I witnessed this evolution firsthand over the course of my tenure. AFF started providing more general operating grants and streamlined the application process to reduce the time, emotional and financial burden we place on partners. We stopped relying on traditional metrics to measure success. All of these decisions were made with an understanding that we must base long-term partnerships on trust.
Trust is something AFF fosters from the inside out. As a family board, we realize the importance of bringing partners to the decision making table. Sharing power with community board members and the Movement Partner Advisory Council (MPAC) is key to our accountability as a funder. We value our collective humanity, which allows us to sit in discomfort together and be emotionally vulnerable with each other in order to work through difficult situations.
I am proud to share leadership with a new cohort of board officers, including my co-chair Ray Holgado, vice chair Meg Belais, secretary Daryl Hannah and treasurer Zelpha Williams. This new cohort represents many firsts for AFF. Two officer positions are now held by community board members. We have adopted a co-chair leadership model. And, I am the first trans person to be in a position of leadership on the board. Trans representation is often lacking, or non-existent, in family foundations. So, it’s important for me to be an advocate for my community — especially as a social justice funder.
As AFF continues to embrace abolition as a funder, I hope we can also evaluate ways in which we can help transform philanthropy’s power structure. What would it look like to decentralize a family board? Should we work towards having community board members comprise most or all of our board? Can we encourage more funders to assume more financial risk and to reallocate more of their resources? I look forward to engaging with my colleagues and other family boards about the barriers present within philanthropy and disrupting norms to better serve our grantee partners.
Juvenile Law Center explains why it’s important to take the lead from young people as they advocate for alternatives to incarceration that create opportunities for systems-impacted youth.
Anand Subramanian of PolicyLink explains what abolition is (and isn’t), the importance of visioning and centering young people in the movement.
Hernan Carvente Martinez of Youth First Initiative explains what abolition means to him, what a world without youth prisons looks like and what it will take to get there.
Erin Miles Cloud of Movement for Family Power explains how dismantling the child welfare system fits within the wider abolitionist movement and the intergenerational impact of supporting families through community investment.
Listen to Jessica Nowlan of Young Women’s Freedom Center speak about the importance of investing in systems-impacted youth leadership and building collective power in the abolitionist movement.