When: September 19-20, 2019

Where: New York City

Application Deadlines: July 25 (priority); August 8 (final)

Cost: $350 (priority); $500 (final)

The Transform Finance Institute for Social Justice Leaders empowers activists, organizers, advocates and social sector allies from around the country to reclaim finance and capital for social justice.

Finance and capital have often been extractive and exploitative, prioritizing profit over people. We believe there is another way, where social justice practitioners, movement leaders and communities are a driving force behind how finance operates and capital flows. The Institute exists to launch participants on their journeys to understanding the world of finance and using it as an additional leverage point for social change.

All of our intentions and work are grounded in the question “how does this further social justice?” We view capital and finance as tools that, if wielded by the right people (you), have the potential to help get us to the world we all know is possible. At the Institute our focus is on capital as a tool to add to your toolboxes, not capitalism.

The Institute is an opportunity to learn together about ways to influence how capital affects the world, hear from values-aligned experts, and expand our imaginations with emergent tactics and interventions to drive social change. It is not a "Finance 101" boot camp, nor is it a fundraising brainstorm, rather, we provide the financial context to help you connect the dots with the ways your efforts for social justice intersect with capital flows and financial players.

Building on previous iterations, this year's Institute is more than a two-day in-person training. To maximize our in-person time together, this year attendees will join a Transform Finance-facilitated Basecamp group to participate in offline activities to prepare for the Institute. Basecamp will serve as a place for discussion, connecting, and housing reference materials. We believe this shared background knowledge will allow us to hit the ground running in September.

This year’s Institute for Social Justice Leaders will include:

  • Pre-Reading + Virtual Discussion, to get everyone on the same page with finance basics and get to know each other

  • Two-day In-Person Training, to launch your journeys to engage with capital and finance for social justice

  • Follow-up Support based on what emerges from in-person conversations

You should attend if you:

  • are committed to creating a more socially just world

  • believe capital and finance, if steered and rooted in community and non-extractive principles, can be a tool for social change

  • are open and curious to learn about a variety of engagements with capital, that are not limited to the acquisition of capital (e.g., small business loans or individual equity investments)

  • value building community with values-aligned peers from around the country

  • see the Institute as a launchpad (rather than an end point) for continued exploration at the intersection of social justice and finance

If you are familiar with this space and have concerns as to whether or not you would be a good fit for the Institute, please email us.

You will walk away with:

  • fundamental knowledge of key financial concepts, terminology and actors (e.g., key differences between debt and equity investments, nuance around how different investors are incentivized, the basic structure and economics of a fund, etc.)

  • new tools and approaches for engaging with capital for social justice

  • exposure to values-aligned experts and practitioners

  • an informal network of like-minded peers devoted to social justice

  • energy and motivation to integrate capital-based tactics into your existent work

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Priority applicants will be notified no later than July 31. All other applicants will be notified by August 14. If you would like to request financial support, please reach out. Limited financial support is available and will be provided on a needs basis. Space is limited.

For inquiries, please email Eric Horvath, Program Manager for Community & Social Justice Partnerships, at eric@transformfinance.org