The 2019 Lani Shaw Movement Award Goes To … Families Belong Together

Each year, GSF makes an award to an organization or campaign that has demonstrated exceptional leadership and powerful impact over the past year. The Movement Fund Award is an ongoing tribute to the life and work of former GSF Executive Director Lani Shaw, who brought an exuberant passion, commitment, and skill to her activism and leadership in social change philanthropy. The award aims to shine a spotlight on emergent, risk-taking movement work that has yet to get the recognition it deserves.

In 2019, the Movement Fund Award goes to Families Belong Together, a coalition of almost 250 organizations led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The campaign emerged quickly and with little funding to respond to the cruel policy of family separation. FBT fights to promote dignity, unity, and compassion for all children and families. This award honors FBT’s work to shift the narrative on family separation, and the powerful impact of this coalition’s campaigns to halt funding of private prisons and detention centers.

We take for granted that public figures are speaking out in opposition to the issue of family separation, but the frame “Families Belong Together” and the press work tied to it have helped create a narrative that has created the conditions for more vocal opposition. FBT has also been successful in campaigning to halt the funding sources of detention centers. Its coalition of 250 organizations targeted banks that were invested in companies that operate private prisons and immigration detention centers, successfully persuading Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo to stop financing private prisons.

Unfortunately, family separation is a policy that is not going away. Signs indicate that family separations will become more acute, as the Administration moves to consider indefinite detention, even for children. While Families Belong Together started out as a nimble, rapid response effort that many imagined would be short-term, the need for this work is ongoing.

By selecting Families Belong Together as GSF’s 2019 Movement Award recipient, we wish to honor this campaign’s visionary leadership, deep and relational community organizing, and skillful narrative strategy. We encourage other funders to join us in support of this heartfelt and impactful initiative.