part of Funding The Frontlines: A Roadmap To Supporting Health Equity Through Abortion Access
What Philanthropy Must Do
While investing in movements always involves moving money to the frontlines, there is rarely a movement or issue where the frontlines are truly linear or stationary. This is true for the abortion access movement, whose frontlines span from the steps of Congress and local legislatures to the front doors of abortion clinics.
As the sector continues to learn movement dynamics and find its place on the frontline, it is vital that foundations understand that those already there are the experts. Using your position to influence your philanthropic counterparts rather than the movement itself is what can shift access to healthcare in a transformative way.
Here are five concrete steps that funders can do to further fund the frontlines and help incorporate abortion into their healthcare, racial equity, gender justice, LGBTQ rights and economic equality work:
BiPoC, transgender and poor people are the most impacted by lack of abortion access and this issue should be part of any conversation about supporting those communities. If you already fund health equity or reproductive justice, do your grantees include local clinics or only national advocacy groups?
We already know that a majority of services are being performed in these health facilities. Direct money so they can not only survive, but also incorporate other services that community residents need, such as mental health. If your institution has been shying away from funding abortion access, it’s time to change that. Your investments are urgently needed.
No matter where investment is directed, a troubling constant is the public absence of philanthropy. Despite deep personal commitment of some individuals behind the scenes, the public invisibility of foundations, and the sector at large, serves as a key barrier of access to healthcare rather than as an accomplice in creating health equity.
As foundations give more to these spaces, it is important that they shift toward unrestricted and multi-year giving practices. As needs change according to threats to frontline staff and to access itself, independent clinics must have the ability to adjust in moments of crisis. Restricted line items have the potential to be a hurdle to access if autonomy is not given to grantees.
The owners of independent clinics and the providers inside are experts with the most up to date information. They do not need leadership or guidance from the sector – it is more likely that donors and foundation leadership are the ones could most benefit from their knowledge. Use your power to bring their perspective and experiences to your colleagues in the sector.
Funding the Frontlines:
A Roadmap to Supporting Health Equity
through Abortion Access
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