Standing with our Partners, Unleashing the Power of Our Democracy

The Nathan Cummings Foundation


Standing with our Partners, Unleashing the Power of Our Democracy



Dear Colleagues,

For more than 27 years, the Nathan Cummings Foundation has supported movements, organizations and individuals working to create a more just, vibrant, sustainable and democratic society. We are pursuing justice for people and the planet to find solutions to the climate crisis and inequality and create a more sustainable and equitable future for all people.

Like many of you, we have experienced the events of the past month with a growing sense of disbelief, outrage and horror –  families torn apart, the villification of Muslims, immigrants and refugees, and a series of devastating court decisions upholding the Muslim ban and putting worker protections in jeopardy.

As a progressive funder rooted deeply in the Jewish tradition of social justice, we've seen this before –  dismantling of democracy and the protections for some people over others; shifting norms and our laws to enforce and support treating people as less than human. There should be no home in our society for the kind of hate and cruelty we have seen. It is deeply traumatic to rip children from their parents at our borders and morally unacceptable to house them in detention centers, with or without their parents.

We reject the scarcity narrative that seeks to dehumanize and divide our communities, while oppressing women, the poor, black and brown people, Muslims, immigrants and refugees. We have more than enough love and prosperity to share.

We believe deeply in the power of community and the work that partners like People's Action are doing to create belonging, radical empathy and radical solidarity. We don’t have to keep some people down in order to lift others up. And we should not turn a blind eye to people who come to this country fleeing violence and persecution.  

We stand with our partners who are unleashing the power of our democracy. They are showing the power of building unity across movements and giving meaning to the concepts of intersectionality that are core to our work. Mijente is leading demonstrations around the country and JOLT Texas is sending a caravan to the border to create an art installation to inspire hope and highlight the power of Latinx communities to hold the President and elected officials accountable.

Our partners at the National Domestic Workers Alliance are part of a coalition mobilizing women around the country to demand an end to the inhumane separation of families. Thousands have marched in Texas and Washington and thousands more marched this weekend. Recognizing the especially harsh toll that Trump’s immigration policies have on women, our partners at UltraViolet launched a campaign to motivate Congress to oppose Trump’s terrifying style of immigration enforcement. 

Our partners ColorofChange, Mijente and the Vera Institute for Justice are working to end the criminalization of all communities of color, recognizing that issues of criminal justice and immigrant justice are intrinsically connected.

We stand with religious and spiritual communities declaring a state of moral emergency and lifting up the progressive faith-based values of justice, equality and community that underpin our democratic values. Faith in ActionPoor People’s CampaignAuburn SeminaryBend the Arcthe Religious Action CenterT’ruahJews for Racial and Economic Justice and the Anti-Defamation League are showing up at the border and in airports, putting their faith into action. Partners like the Pillars Fund are organizing in Muslim and South Asian communities and speaking out against the discriminatory and anti-American Muslim travel ban. Progressive faith leaders and communities of faith are articulating a unifying vision, taking strategic action and putting themselves on the line to make it manifest.

We stand with journalists, artists and storytellers using their platforms to change our culture and the way we see and feel about each other. They are reframing broken narratives and shedding light into darkness. Our partners at the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Institute for Policy Studies have been diligently chronicling this national tragedyhave been diligently chronicling this national tragedy, pushing the administration to reveal the conditions of people they are detaining sharing their storiesThe Opportunity Agenda responded rapidly to develop and share critical messaging.

We recognize that corporations have a role to play in pushing back on these harmful policies. Our partners at the the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and Business Forward are calling on businesses and investors to stand with Muslim communities in the wake of the travel ban. They represent a spectrum of America’s largest corporations and progressive local business leaders who have actively opposed this policy.

Acting our Values

Together, our partners are raising their voices and standing together to fight back against these policies of hate and division and attacks on the most vulnerable in our society. Their leadership, courage and the magnitude of their efforts calls us all to act on our values and fight for the heart and soul of our country.

To meet their needs, we are putting more resources into the fight through our commitment to leverage our nearly half-billion dollar endowment to 100% mission-aligned investing. And more recently, our Board decided to continue our commitment to increase our payout for a total of five years, which will amount to an additional $14m to support the field.

We are proud to join Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and more than 200 philanthropic organizations speaking outshifting the public discourse and responding generously and swiftly to on-the-ground needs.

Despite all the challenges we face, I remain hopeful about our capacity to unleash the power of our democracy to win the longer fight for our values. More people and organizations from across the political spectrum are taking action to heal and repair the fabric of our society. More people than ever are seeing the necessity of a truly multiracial democracy that provides for the economic prosperity of all. Even in these dark times, we know that, when we look closely, a more just society is emerging all around us. Now is the time to keep fighting and to keep up the momentum.

In solidarity,





Sharon Alpert
President & CEO
Nathan Cummings Foundation  





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