It is with profound gratitude and excitement that we share the RISE Together Fund (RTF), an initiative of Proteus Fund, will receive a $6 million gift from MacKenzie Scott. This generous grant, the largest single gift in RTF history, is confirmation that the voices of Black, African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA) communities – voices that are too often excluded, ignored, or silenced in society – are not only needed but are essential to creating the just, inclusive, and representative democracy we seek. As Scott said:
“The funds we picked look for teams with lived experience in the issues they’re addressing, as we did when selecting the other non-profits in this giving cycle, and the 1,200+ recipients before them, many of which are also funds…I recently learned a saying used in disability communities: ‘Nothing about us without us.’ For me, it’s another beautiful and powerful reminder. I needn’t ask those I care about what to say for them, or what to do for them. I can share what I have with them to stand behind them as they speak and act for themselves.”
After a period of reflection and strategy refinement through a robust planning process, this gift, which will be released over four years, will help RTF write its next chapter: fortifying our grantmaking to strategically resource the field with greater certainty and flexibility; extending and enhancing our programmatic offerings to build capacity to support movement building and field coordination, and sustain RTF’s infrastructure and growth for years to come.
The transformational nature of this gift cannot be overstated. Too often, the ambition and creativity of the BAMEMSA field are only limited by the resources afforded to it. This gift goes a long way to righting this imbalance and moving us closer to our goal of raising $50 million over five years for BAMEMSA communities through the Philanthropy Call to Action.
RTF was founded in 2008 to support BAMEMSA communities in the face of anti-Muslim targeting, hate crimes, surveillance, and xenophobia – policies and practices that continue today and build upon a legacy of discrimination affecting all communities of color. Since 2008, and through the generous support of our funder partners, RTF has resourced more than 500 organizations with more than $20 million in grants. This gift is not only a significant investment in our ability to continue this critically important work into the future, but it’s an acknowledgment of all that was made possible by our grantees and funder partners to date. We are grateful for your past, current, and future support.
In the days and weeks to come, we look forward to conversations about how this investment in RTF and in BAMEMSA communities will serve to strengthen our collective path toward Rights, Inclusion, Solidarity, and Equity. Our sincere thanks to MacKenzie Scott for her generosity and unwavering focus on centering the underserved, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised in our society and trusting them to fight for the rights that belong to all of us.
Director, RISE Together Fund