I hope your new year has started out healthy and you are inspired by what can be accomplished to advance justice in wealth building in the economy being shaped in 2022.

Every year, I consider the radical wisdom offered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., drawing upon it for inspiration and moral resolve.

“When machines, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered…A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1967. New York City, Riverside Church.

“We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have A Dream speech, August 28, 1963

For all of us will benefit from the equitable growth and distribution of wealth achieved by eliminating racialized advantages and expanding opportunity, AFN members will need to identify, invest in, and prove the value of needed systemic changes across issues to achieve economic justice. The setbacks in Congress, thus far, must serve to fuel the moral resolve to act.

Recognizing this, AFN launched 2022 with a refreshed logo and transparent new tagline, “grantmakers advancing economic equity.” Philanthropy and their grantees have a great deal of opportunity they move to confront challenge and act to change systems. Only through focused engaged action will philanthropy help to lead the way to the equitable economy we desire—AFN’s new look reflects this promise.

Part of what is possible, as we look forward, reflects the solid foundation established last year. AFN’s 2021 Annual Report, celebrates efforts by our members and regional chapters on the journey forward on racial economic justice.

I feel blessed and excited about AFN in 2022 with seven new Board members – Cory Anderson, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; Karen Brown, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Paula D’Ambrosa, Prudential Financial; Hiba Haroon, the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Sara Keller, Nusenda Credit Union; Racheal Meiers, Kaiser Permanente; Bonnie Wallace, Wells Fargo – and an engaged Board. The new members joining our Board, add perspectives from health, regional, and community foundations, as well as, bank and credit union foundations. Each have a key role to play in catalyzing systemic change that supports a resilient and equitable opportunity across our country.

Finally, join AFN, in kicking off the year by considering actions to address the call to action in the first 2022 report— Justice Out of Balance. The way publicly funded court systems are being used to upend shared concepts of justice is an outrage. In the webinar and brief, we present the current realities of the state and local civil court based debt collection landscape, and explore how debt collectors use the courts to generate profit. The resulting ruined credit reduced income, and taken assets of workers and households, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Latinx households sustains racial wealth gaps and needs reform. We can and must do better to achieve economic justice. Philanthropy is being called upon to shine a light on what can be fixed as well as to advocate for what needs to be changed. It’s a great place to start your focus on systemic reform, if you can.

Join us – join AFN.