part of Funding The Frontlines: A Roadmap To Supporting Health Equity Through Abortion Access
What Philanthropy Must Do
Money certainly helps, as increased investment in abortion funds would help frontline groups and networks address the continuing uncertainty as the pandemic and anti-abortion legislation leaves abortion advocates under protected and overwhelmed.
It would also allow funds to further accommodate patients through increased partnerships with other organizations to better coordinate both logistical needs like housing and travel as well as mental health needs and services across states to better support those who live in restrictive regions.
The math is not complicated. We know that if abortion funds saw an increase equal to even 1% of the $1.7 billion in funding for reproductive rights, this would mean an additional $17.5 million in foundation support for the frontlines. However, maximizing the impact of additional dollars will also require a shift in some traditional funding practices.
NCRP has spent the past year reviewing some of these funding practices, identifying patterns that are harming the same marginalized communities that the sector has argued that they are accountable to. We have curated four ways that funders can invest in transgender and gender expansive visibility and divest from their erasure:
As we approach the anticipated SCOTUS decision this June, those holding anti-abortion work at places like Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) will likely seek additional funder support to engage more pregnant people. As we will later detail, some of these anti-abortion groups do such a good job of deception that funders could think they are funding a legitimately inclusive reproductive health organization.
In reality, CPCs are a core piece of infrastructure for the anti-abortion movement. That is why at this crucial moment, it is essential that funders commit to withholding support for these organizations. Funders should invest the time to carry out their own due diligence and focus their attention at resourcing trusted local efforts that provide safe and verified health services to all pregnant people.
Philanthropy must leverage its reputation, financial assets, and capacity to destigmatize abortion, empower abortion funds and secure access for those seeking services.
Grantmakers can start by providing non-anonymous funding and public support for abortion access on their websites, in the media and with other funders.
Short-lived funding inspired by a historic moment, or the fear of abortion restrictions, is a harmful practice and does not allow abortion funds to build their capacity. Funders need to stick with them for the long term. Grantmakers can start with providing funds with unrestricted and multi-year grants.
Abortion funds rely on 5 primary funders that make up 74% of their philanthropic support. If they were to lose their top institutional funder, it would compromise half of their philanthropic support, a risk that multi-year, unrestricted grants have the potential to reduce.
At the moment, the top 20 recipients of reproductive rights funding are all national organizations, while a majority of abortion services and practical support are happening at the state and local level.
Grantmakers trying to imagine what safe and responsible funding of abortion access will look like in a post-Roe era can start with a proven and secure solution in state and local level abortion funds. These organizations will be where pregnant people turn to for refuge and resources as abortion costs and requests for practical support increase in the wake of current and eminent abortion bans.
Grantmakers need not re-invent the wheel to make an immediate impact but need only ensure that those already doing the work get what they need to provide services and support at scale.
Funding the Frontlines:
A Roadmap to Supporting Health Equity
through Abortion Access
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