Press Releases

NoVo Foundation Launches Radical Hope Fund

26 July 2017

Global call for bold, transformative projects advancing social justice

In a time of darkness and division, Fund to provide leaders ‘room to dream’

26 July 2017, NEW YORK – The NoVo Foundation today announced The Radical Hope Fund, a new $20 million, four-year commitment to support bold and transformative social justice work across the globe.

The fund is designed to complement and deepen NoVo’s current work by encouraging new partnerships, collaboration and creativity. Beginning today, the foundation is inviting letters of inquiry from projects anywhere in the world, including from current grantee partners.

“Radical hope is one of the core values of the NoVo Foundation, and it serves as the inspiration for this new global commitment,” said Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo’s co-presidents. “The Radical Hope Fund is grounded in deep optimism that a time of great challenge can also spur a moment of unprecedented collaboration and imagination, deepening our collective ability to build a more just and balanced world.”

Earlier this year, Jennifer and Peter Buffett and NoVo’s executive director, Pamela Shifman, encouraged foundations to double down on support for grassroots advocacy, activism and organizing, especially amid a global rise of regressive policies, discrimination and violence affecting girls and women, communities facing racial and ethnic discrimination, LGBTQI people, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, and other marginalized people and communities around the world. The new fund is one way that NoVo is seeking to put its own words into action.

As foundations, including NoVo, have increased essential rapid response funding in the wake of the U.S. election, NoVo also saw an opportunity to complement that immediate response by offering support for proactive, forward-looking work focused on long-term transformation, both in the United States and around the world.

“In a time of darkness and division, there must also be room to dream,” said Pamela Shifman, executive director of the NoVo Foundation. “Even as we help communities respond to daily threats, we can—and must—also create space for them to imagine, build and lead us toward a better and more just future. That’s how we hope this fund will make a significant difference.”

Like all of NoVo’s work, the fund will be grounded in the belief that meaningful change happens from the community level up—informed by lived experience, powered by movement building and activism, and guided by the leadership of marginalized people as the best experts of their own lives and futures.

A focus on transformative change

The Radical Hope Fund seeks to support efforts that are bold and imaginative, focused on building movements that can advance change over the long term, with efforts that will springboard us forward in this moment of both crisis and opportunity. This means that we must engage in strategies that are adaptive and that aim for transformation rather than solely incremental change.

In the spirit of boldness and imagination, the Radical Hope Fund will focus on supporting the following essential strategies for change:

  • Bringing communities together for cross-issue, cross-sectoral organizing that centers feminist leadership, including but not limited to policy advocacy campaigns
  • Global solidarity and transnational movement-building connecting issues and movements that are aligned in their purpose and vision
  • Leveraging the power of media, culture, and the arts to engage in storytelling and share ideas, moving hearts and minds for change, including creating new strategic platforms and collaboration between artists/culture-makers and movement organizations
  • Seeding experiments in building new structures and systems to propel us into a world that is oriented around interdependence, mutuality, and love rather than domination and extraction, with an emphasis on cultivating local, community-driven solutions

Global call for letters of inquiry

To gain a broader awareness of work happening across the world, NoVo is accepting Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) that align with the goals of this Fund, prioritizing groups and collaborative efforts in accordance with the following guiding principles

  • Seizing the opportunity to be bold, creative, and risk-taking in a way that expands our notions of what is possible
  • Demonstrating sharp strategic approach, with particular focus on organizing and building power that centers feminist leadership, especially the leadership of girls and women (cis-, trans-, and gender non-conforming) of color
  • Building organizational capacity to go the distance with alliances, coalitions, and networks, and reach across issues, sectors, and other traditional divisions in our movements
  • Holding a national and global perspective that connects movements and defies the false nationalism both being touted by the current U.S. administration and on the rise globally
  • Adopting a proactive stance that keeps a view of the horizon and building a foundation for the future, even as we do defensive and resistance work
  • Reexamining how we show up to do the work of social justice and experimenting with ways of doing/being that center our humanity, interrupting movement habits in favor of practices that will sustain leaders and movements in the long run
  • Bolstering security and adaptation of groups that amplify the voices of targeted communities and/or challenge the normalization of white supremacy, xenophobia, and misogyny

Letters will be accepted until October 4, 2017.

For additional qualifications and instructions, a list of frequently asked questions and answers, and to apply, visit the foundation’s website at