February 20, 2017
Dear Friends and Partners,
Today marks a month since the inauguration. Over the past four weeks our team at PFF has spent much of our time on the ground, calling, visiting, checking in with, and listening to our grantee partners and their youth leaders.
Youth that identify as black, brown, queer, immigrant and undocumented tell us that they are experiencing an uptick in targeting by emboldened peers and others in their schools; they tell us that the harassment they are experiencing often goes unnoticed, unchecked or is altogether dismissed by adults in position of authority; they tell us that they are frustrated that so many in this country are only now seeing the depth of the racism and bias they so frequently encounter; they tell us that the outcome of our presidential election has left them sad, hurt, scared, and anxious; and they also tell us they are undeterred, hopeful, motivated and inspired to act. We must meet them there.
Our work at the Perrin Family Foundation work is premised upon the belief that young people have the right to live in communities that are safe, healthy and just. We believe that society’s ability to cultivate and sustain a just and robust democracy is rooted in our willingness to hear – and heed – the inherent wisdom of young people and invest in their capacity to think critically, challenge the status quo, draw strength from their identities, dismantle oppressive systems, and exert leadership in the civic sphere.
We know that this work is ongoing, and that building power and solidarity with young people and across communities is long, deep, hard work that requires thoughtful and sustained support. We also know this moment requires foundations to respond with courage, creativity and urgency.
As such, PFF has allocated resources for a We Stand With You rapid response grant program to support groups planning special gatherings, community meetings, non-violent direct actions, crisis response, specialized trainings, community healing or other activities intended to support and strengthen the resilience of youth leaders and their adult partners as they respond to emerging or heightened threats, harassment and trauma resulting from current events.
In addition, PFF is partnering with the Grove to make free space available to community groups and organizations focused on social change that need access to safe, secure space for meetings and gatherings. For more information on how to access this space, contact our staff.
We know we still have much to learn about how to be an effective philanthropic partner in the face of the challenges that lie ahead. We, like you, are in it for the long haul.
Laura McCargar, President and Sheila Perrin, Board Chair