Liberal philanthropist Susan Sandler will make a $200 million investment in racial justice organizations, targeting areas across the South and the Southwest that are experiencing rapid demographic transformation, reports the New York Times. Sandler said her investments would be made through a new organization, the Susan Sandler Fund, aimed at combating systemic racism and building civic power. Ms. Sandler characterized the effort as a shift in her political priorities and giving philosophy. “I have come to believe that, rather than trying to use persuasive papers and reports to attempt to change the minds of those who are making decisions, the more effective way to transform societal priorities and public policies is to change the climate and environment in which decisions are made,” she said.
Sandler’s announcement comes amid increased investment in racial justice organizations, fueled by the national reckoning on systemic inequities and injustice this summer. Contributions to bail funds after the killing of George Floyd reached over $90 million. In July, the foundation started by George Soros pledged $220 million to groups focused on racial equity. The donations have reshaped the landscape of Black political and civil rights organizations, and made clear that race and identity will remain at the center of politics. It signals a commitment by liberal donors to invest in long-term efforts to change the political landscape, not simply one-off efforts to win an election or invest in a particular candidate. Initial recipients of grants from Sandler’s fund include several progressive organizations working in battleground states to register new voters from underrepresented groups. The organizations include the Texas Organizing Project, New Virginia Majority, New Florida Majority and the Arizona Center for Empowerment.