Q&A With Member Jane Segal Following First All-Initiative Meeting of 2024

One of the things revealed during our strategic planning process is that the vast majority of WDN members want to move towards a Participatory Grantmaking Model, with 87% of our survey respondents in support. One reason for this is that participatory grantmaking empowers impacted communities to decide who and what gets funded.

Last month all four of our initiatives met to begin creating their learning journey and path toward participatory grantmaking. We spoke with long-time Jean Hardisty Initiative committee member Jane Segal to get her perspective on what the committees are thinking about this year, as well as what the past four years with the Hardisty Initiative have meant for her.

What are some things that are top of mind for the initiatives in 2024? 

Jane: Top of the mind for us in 2024– We’re meeting together as four initiatives, reflecting on our new Strategic Plan, and putting into action, as a community, some significant changes.

Our first task– Exploring ways to change WDN’s grantmaking model and piloting a Participatory Grantmaking (PGM) Model. We understand this is not a quick fix. Structural change takes time. The WDN team is exposing us to different ways of thinking about grantmaking and several options for PGM. We’re learning from Staff, from each other, discussing in small groups, and coming together as a community to move forward. The process itself is interesting. I trust our leaders and our process and I’m excited and grateful to be participating.

Tell us about why you’ve chosen to participate in our Jean Hardisty Initiative for the past four years (and our Safe & Sustainable Impact Collective for one!). Why are these important spaces for you?

Jane: All my adult life I’ve been a political activist, working for social change and liberation for all. Activism is part of my herstory and remains close to my heart. I have been an organizer myself and have been supporting grassroots organizing for many years.

WDN’s Jean Hardisty Initiative gives me an opportunity to continue being an activist. I have found a space within WDN to actualize my deep commitment to learning about grassroots organizing and supporting Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) organizing, with a focus on Black women leaders. I find Hardisty both interesting and inspiring. Being a member of the Initiative has given me the chance to meet and work with other members I wouldn’t have known, otherwise. We learn from each other. And I’ve also had the pleasure and privilege to work with Kathryn and Summer who make up WDN’s initiative team and are bold and innovative leaders. We are building community and working to move the strategic plan forward as a community.

What was a funding or mobilization moment your committee had last year that you’re proud of?

Jane: Last year, the Hardisty Initiative funded AROC (Arab Resource and Organizing Center) for the first time. AROC is a grassroots organization working to empower and organize Arab communities toward justice and self-determination for all. Although our committee funded them before October 7th, AROC clearly supports an end to the occupation of Palestine and a ceasefire to the genocide in Gaza. Their position is potentially controversial and I’m proud we took a stand and funded.

Learn More

  • If you’re a WDN member and would like to keep up with what the initiatives are doing, head over to the Resources section of our member portal. There you can view the recording of all of our steering committee meetings, including the first All-Initiatives Meeting of 2024 where our four committees began creating their learning journey and path toward participatory grantmaking.
  • To get more familiar with the Participatory Grantmaking Model, peruse this resource collection.
  • Last year, WDN channeled an unprecedented $12.075 million to movements advancing gender, racial, economic, and climate justice in the U.S. and around the globe. Learn about what we funded in 2023.

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