This International Day Against Police Brutality, we reaffirm our commitment to resourcing the grassroots organizers and movement leaders working tirelessly to end state-sanctioned violence, and fortify democracy, safety, and wellness through community-built and -led initiatives. Over the past year, our Communities Transforming Policing Fund (CTPF) and Spark Justice Fund (SJF), have collectively moved over $7 million to more than 100 grassroots groups across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Beyond funding, our CTPF and SJF also provided grantee partners with organizational resiliency learning opportunities focused on narrative powerbuilding, healing justice, finance and fundraising, and safety and security—because we understand the need for knowledge sharing and network building amidst mounting threats to the movement for justice. 

In that spirit, today we are sharing a list of the resources that have informed our funding and programming practice over the years, as an invitation to other funders to invest in the leaders whose vital work is decriminalizing and decarcerating our communities. 

On May 26, 2021, our CTPF, SJF, and Black-Led Movement Fund (BLMF), along with Funders for Justice, hosted the donor learning session, Fund Safe Futures: Lessons from Organizing Since the 2020 Uprisings, where movement partners Mariame Kaba of Project Nia and Interrupting Criminalization, Andrea Ritchie of Interrupting Criminalization, Rachel Herzing of Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, Miski Noor of Black Visions, Kayla Reed of Action St. Louis, and Karissa Lewis of Movement for Black Lives called funders into a deeper commitment to divest from policing and invest in advocating for services that truly make communities safe. Highlights from the session are rounded up in our funder toolkit.

On February 22, 2022, our CTPF and SJF hosted the dynamic donor-learning event, Divest From E-Carceration: Combating the Expansion of Surveillance Technology and the Carceral State, where we highlighted strategies to address the surveillance, criminalization, and e-carceration of youth and BIPOC communities with grantee partners, including Marika Pfefferkorn, from the Midwest Center for School Transformation, Muna Musse, a police-free schools youth organizer, and Charisse Domingo and Xavier España, of Silicon Valley De-Bug. More about the event, the history of surveillance, and funder resources are rounded up in our toolkit.

On November 30, 2022, our SJF hosted the donor learning session, The Fight Against Surveillance: Our Neighbors, Our Safety, where along with funders and grantee partners—including Sam Van Doran and Albert Fox Cahn of S.T.O.P., Lucy Blumberg and Marvin Arnold of Eye on Surveillance, and Jacinta González of Mijente—explored the impact of mass surveillance on marginalized communities, organizing efforts to tackle this rising threat against our neighbors, and how funders can support the frontline fight against mass surveillance and incarceration. See highlights from the session in our recap blog.

On December 6, 2022, our CTPF, along with philanthropic and movement partners including Center for Protest Law and Litigation, CS Fund, Piper Fund, and Funders for Justice, held the funder briefing, In Defense of the Movement: Policing, Criminalization, and Surveillance of Protesters of State Violence, where we drew connections between mass protest and all movements for equality and justice, as well as the use of police, surveillance, legal targeting, and violence to suppress democracy. Lola N’Sangou of Mass Liberation Arizona, Brianna Gibson of BlackOUT Collective, Mara Verheyden-Hillard of the Center for Protest Law and Litigation, and Rai LaNier of Michigan Liberation, shared their experiences combating state repression and political prosecutions following protests against police violence. Highlights from the session are rounded up in our funder toolkit.

On July 20, 2023, our SJF hosted the donor learning session, What We Learned: Pathways to Liberation are Forged by Community-Led Organizing. With a wave of radical and necessary criminal justice reforms across the country, we saw cities end cash bail and states reduce pretrial detention. But, swift backlash now jeopardizes this progress. SJF brought together our donors and grantee partners, including Tiara Cooper of In Defense of Black Lives Dallas, Eric Martinez of Mano Amiga, and Tanya Watkins of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, to discuss  the impact of criminal justice reform backlash and the complexity of the work and strategies needed to decarcerate jails and invest in communities. See highlights from the session  in our recap blog.

On February 28, 2024, our CTPF hosted the donor learning session, Movement on Trial: An Update on the RICO Cases Against the Stop Cop City Activists, co-sponsored by Funders for Justice, Democratizing Justice Initiative, and the Piper Fund. During the call, organizers shared that we are at a pivotal moment in the fight to #StopCopCity where movement urgently needs our help. The trial is upcoming for 61 #StopCopCity activists charged with RICO indictments, and the legal defense fund needs $5 million by the end of this year ($2.5 million of that by June 2024) to successfully defend all of these activists. Our ability to hold the line and defend these activists will have a long-term impact for our entire movement. Their freedom is our collective freedom. More information about this session is available upon request to

At Borealis Philanthropy, we believe in a world where communities have the resources they need to thrive—and a sense of safety that does not involve policing, surveillance, jails, or prisons. Criminalization and incarceration are wide-reaching issues that intersect with almost every facet of our lives. As we work towards our collective liberation, funders must listen to, trust, and invest in the leadership of those most impacted—and provide long-term, stable, and flexible funding to sustain and strengthen the work of their organizations. 

To our grantee partners and others tirelessly working for safer communities where Black, Brown, and Trans people do not have to live in fear of death or incarceration at the hands of the state: we are on your side. We believe in you, we will defend you, we see your work, and we see these attacks against you for what they are. We will continue to do everything in our power to help others within philanthropy recognize the importance of funding this work, and we hope others will too.