Vanessa Daniel – How Does Humanity Get to Freedom? By Following the People Who Know the Way

A world where humans live in right relationship with each other and the planet is possible, but only if we dismantle the interlocking forces of patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialism and extractive capitalism. It’s daunting work. There is no shortcut, and we’re running out of time. Thankfully the people living at the sharpest crosshairs of these forces – women of color and transgender people of color – have a unique insight into how to do this, if we would only listen to them. Women of color, and Black women in particular, are the most progressive voting block in the U.S. and the catalyst for the boldest movements of our time – from #metoo, to #blacklivesmatter, to the largest protest movement in the history of the country witnessed in this summer’s uprisings. What can we learn from the light they are shining on the path to freedom for all people? And how can philanthropy support their efforts?

Vanessa Daniel delivered this talk at the Bioneers 2020 Conference, introduced by Nina Simons.


Vanessa Daniel, a former union organizer and longtime social justice activist, is an award-winning innovator in the field of philanthropy. She founded and is Executive Director of Groundswell Fund, the largest funder of the U.S. reproductive justice movement, and of Groundswell Action Fund, the largest U.S. institution helping fund women of color-led 501c4 organizations. Groundswell, among other achievements, is the country’s only fund dedicated to supporting access to midwifery and doula care for women of color, low-income women and transgender people; and funds a women-of-color-led Integrated Voter Engagement training program as well. Vanessa also serves on the board of the Common Counsel Foundation.

Learn more about Vanessa Daniel at

Women Changing the Story: Mother Bears, Polar Bears and Women’s Leadership

This Bioneers podcast features courageous and eloquent women environmental and social justice leaders – journalist Rose Aguilar, biologist Sandra Steingraber, and reproductive justice advocates Vanessa Daniel and Eveline Shen – sharing their stories of how the leadership of women is changing the story and the world.

Groundswell Fund’s 2020-2025 Blueprint

Read Groundswell Fund’s blueprint for removing barriers that reproductive justice organizations face, enabling these organizations to strengthen and scale their work.

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