Organizing for Wall Street Accountability and Financial Reform Funders’ Briefing and Discussion

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Washington, DC

Lunchtime Keynote by Senator Elizabeth Warren

Hosted by:
American Federation of Teachers, Arca Foundation, Communication Workers of America, Ford Foundation, Inclusive Economy Fund, Open Society Foundations, Solidago Foundation and See Forward Fund

Co-Hosted by:
Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation Money and Politics Working Group, Grantmakers’ Income Security Task Force, Neighborhood Funders’ Group Funders for a Just Economy, Solidaire Network

As economic and political power in the United States has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of billionaires and large, transnational corporations, the financial sector has used its wealth and political influence to restructure the economy and reinforce its position at the top. With both a revolving door between Wall Street and government and the flow of political money from the financial sector into local, state and federal elections, key progressive policies are at risk. Ongoing changes to the tax code and privatization of public goods like education, housing, infrastructure, and public lands, could further concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the wealthy.

Despite growing racial and economic inequality, grassroots, community of color-led organizations are working to advance reforms by shining a light on the profiteering, speculation and extraction of finance and highlighting how such efforts continue to use racism and racial division to further their economic and political interests. The last several years saw tremendous growth in grassroots capacity to advance financial reforms, including the passage of Dodd Frank and the launch of a new consumer finance regulatory agency, ethics and money-in-politics reforms, state-based mortgage relief, consumer settlements from “Too Big To Fail” banks, and divestment of billions of public pension dollars from hedge funds profiting off of austerity. Funders have played a crucial role supporting successful efforts to advance economic equity, and that support will continue to be essential as communities work to defend these financial and democratic reforms and demonstrate the positive impacts of a racial and economic justice policy agenda that works for all and that restores a fair democracy in which people have equal say and power.

Funders and a of community of grassroots activists and policy advocates joined together for a half-day funder briefing and discussion to:

  • Explore the political economy behind financial reform and inequality;
  • Learn more about local and state campaigns that are successfully challenging inequality, austerity, the corporatization of our democracy; and
  • Help us develop new strategies for building a powerful, multi-racial movement that will defend critical reforms and advance new reforms that address racial and economic inequality and the concentration of power and wealth of the financial sector.