The Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) is an innovative and thought-provoking network of funders that shares an underlying conviction that all people deserve a voice in the democratic process. As strong believers of an engaged and empowered public Voqal was excited to both sponsor and attend this year’s annual convening in Detroit.
The first day of the conference started on a strong note with a plenary highlighting the work of grassroots leaders of color to build real power for communities of color in Detroit and across the state of Michigan. It was a real wake up call to hear from community leaders as they explained that there was still a great deal of work left to do in order to help Detroit’s communities of color recover from the city’s recent history of economic distress. The theme of engaging with these communities more directly continued into the day’s breakout sessions as several Voqal grantees including ISAIAH and LUCHA shared stories about successful efforts to center advocacy efforts on the issues that directly impact immigrant communities across the country. The day finished up with an engaging conversation with former Detroit community organizer and current congresswoman, Rashida Talib.
As a funder of several 501(c)(4) organizations, Voqal was eager to start the second day of the convening with a breakfast featuring a conversation about how 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations can work together to create a full circle of civic engagement. Following breakfast, leaders from several organizations at the forefront of organizing communities of color, including past Voqal grantee New Florida Majority, led a stimulating conversation on strategies for increasing voter engagement and civic engagement in these communities in a way that isn’t merely transactional but actually builds long-term power.
Additionally, as a funder of many of the organizations on the frontlines of the fight to get money out of politics, Voqal enjoyed attending a conversation about this issue that included several Voqal grantees including Color of Change and Piper Fund. Color of Change was also front and center in the day’s last plenary focusing on the work to build progressive narratives into popular culture. Finally, in one of the final breakouts of the day, past and present Voqal grantees, United for Respect and New Media Ventures discussed an innovative new fundraising model for organizations called Independent Resource Generation.
The final day of the convening wrapped up with engaging conversations focused on taking the learning from the previous days and converting them into concrete action. Census work was front and center at this year’s convening and one of the last breakouts helped coalesce all these discussions into an engaging presentation on preparing for the redistricting that will take place in its immediate aftermath. The convening finished with a plenary featuring several speakers from across the country sharing their views on the hard work that needs to be done in order to create a government that works for everyone.
Voqal is a proud member of FCCP and was excited to be an active participant in this year’s convening. We want to thank everyone that made the conference possible and look forward to the great things that will no doubt come from the philanthropic community as a result of this gathering of changemakers.