Meet the Compass Council

Earlier this year, we activated DC Fund’s Compass Council, a council of stakeholders, to help us redesign our programs!

Since 2011, we’ve resourced over 600 people of color-led projects and redistributed almost $3 million. Our grants range from $5,000 to $15,000 to groups and coalitions led by movement builders of color working to dismantle systems of mass harm and oppression in our District. Grants from DC Fund have been the crucial first grant for several groups like No Justice No Pride, Trabajadores Unidos, Black Swan Academy, Herb and Temple, and many other groups mobilizing, organizing, and advocating for racial justice and its intersections. With the help of the Compass Council, we are planning to grow our programs and we plan to do it while being accountable to our communities.

About the Compass Council
The formation of the Compass Council is a direct result of community feedback and it is nested in DC Fund’s strategic plan. The Compass Council is comprised of eight council members: three grantees, three grantmaking team members, and two Board of Instigator members. In a series of meetings for the next 4-5 months, the Compass Council will assess the organization’s current programs and offer recommendations to be even more responsive to our communities’ short-term and long-term needs. Informed by their recommendations, our Board of Instigators and Executive Director will work to redesign DC Fund’s grantmaking and capacity-building programs.

Meet the Compass Council

2023 Compass Council members: Ms. Minnie Elliott, Resident Leader at Brookland Manor/Brentwood Village Residents Association (Grantee), Brenda Perez–Grantmaking Team member since 2014, Parisa Norouzi–Executive Director, Empower DC (Grantee), Niciah Petrovic Mujahid–Coalition Director, Fair Budget Coalition (Grantee) & Founding Director, Herb & Temple (Grantee), Jay Forth–Board of Instigator Member since 2021, Perry Redd–Executive Director at Sincere Seven (Grantee) and Grantmaking Team member since 2022, Kristi Matthews-Jones, Executive Director at DC Girls Coalition (Grantee) and Grantmaking Team member since 2016, and Sheri Brady–Board of Instigator Member since 2015.

Facilitator: Richael Faithful (and also Board of Instigator since 2020)
Staff: Tamira Benitez–Executive Director, Diverse City Fund 

At a time when we would hope to see more public investment for recovery and transformation, we are instead seeing acute public disinvestments by elected officials who don’t understand what recovery looks like for Black people and people of color. Our communities’ work mobilizing, organizing, and advocating for life-affirming investments continues to grow and we intend to grow with them” said Tamira Benitez, DC Fund’s first Executive Director, referencing the Mayor’s 2024 proposed budget set to defund human services not without community resistance “As funders, we must be accountable to our communities and collaborate with our grantees when making significant changes to our programs. That’s why we are activating the Compass Council to inform our decisions. Our community will always be part of our decision-making process when deciding how and when to fund their efforts. It’s not a revolutionary idea or concept. It’s what partnership looks like” said Tamira.  

More on Community Accountability

DC Fund has been an example and a conduit to shift power from donors and funders to DC’s changemakers of color leading racial justice work. Informed by DC Fund’s theory of change, 100% of grantmaking decisions are collectively made by the Grantmaking Team, a rotating group of activists of color involved in liberatory work in DC. There is an organic and intentional pipeline of grantees becoming Grantmaking Team members, and some joined the Board of Instigators, a working board that supports DC Fund’s staff running the organization.

See how we make change happen here.

“There Is No Shifting Power Without Community Accountability”

Tamira Benitez

See the Compass Council Affirmations and Recommendations!