RFDC Donor Spotlight: Arcus Foundation

RFDC Donor Spotlight: Arcus Foundation - Proteus Fund

In February, the Rights, Faith & Democracy Collaborative (RFDC) hosted a donor meeting in New Mexico. The meeting was designed to bring donor partners even closer to RFDC’s work, contextualizing it within the larger fight to protect democracy, reproductive freedom, and LGBTQ liberation. Donors also had the opportunity to build a stronger sense of community with one another and to develop a deeper understanding of RFDC’s vision for scaling up over the next 5 years.

Glo Ross, program officer at Arcus Foundation, attended the donor meeting. Hear what Glo has to say about why the Arcus Foundation has supported the work of RFDC for the past 8 years.

What first drew you to RFDC’s work and ultimately led you to support it?

Arcus supported RFDC since its inception because we knew it was essential to address the issue of religious exemptions and their harmful impact on LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights and justice. Since then, the threat of white Christian nationalism has only grown, perverting theology to advance discriminatory policies at every level. We support RFDC because we understand that LGBTQ justice and liberation is only possible by resourcing cross-movement collaboration and faith-rooted organizing focused on recapturing faith as a progressive value.

Why is RFDC’s focus on the intersections of faith and queer, gender, and racial justice so important?

RFDC’s focus on the intersections of faith and queer, gender, and racial justice is important because alliances and cross-movement coalitions help us build the power and scale we need to win. Simply put, we can’t win without each other, and RFDC’s cohort model of grantmaking helps operationalize this truth in the grantmaking itself. Grants to state-based cohorts of organizations in authentic and principled coalitions help support shared learning, collective action, and strategy development across issues and movement sectors.

What do you as a funder find most valuable about RFDC’s briefings and other funder-focused offerings?

RFDC briefings are an effective vehicle for donor education and mobilization. We learn from RFDC grantee organizations and cohorts, thought leaders and practitioners, and the other donors in the collaborative. Ultimately, RFDC briefings help us stay updated on emerging trends and threats that inform our understanding of the field and grantmaking approach.

How has supporting RFDC’s work contributed to/helped to advance your foundation’s mission and goals?

RFDC is responding to the growing threat of white Christian nationalism, which threatens the advances made by LGBTQ, reproductive, and racial justice movements that protect democracy and religious pluralism. Our support of RFDC is critical to resourcing the frontlines against this threat and building a world in which all LGBTQ people live with dignity, safety, and opportunity in inclusive communities and societies.