Ep. 64 - Non-Profit Industrial Complex ft. Lizette Garza
Play • 1 hr 47 min

BrownTown talks non-profit industrial complex, financial surveillance, drill rap, and everything in between with Lizette Garza, Program Manager at Crossroads Fund. The gang dissects the philanthropic world's inherent root in inequity as well as its changes and challenges from the grassroots over the years. 

Lizette brings her lived experience as well as work with Crossroads into the conversation around the role of non-profits, funding "radical" initiatives, and the impact coronavirus and the George Floyd uprisings had on them. As summer 2020 brought a racial justice reckoning, everyday people began to distrust institutions, better understand how whiteness and anti-Blackness permeates in even (and especially) the most trusted charitable giving, and how we can build better networks for funding, support, and trust outside of established institutions. BrownTown and Lizette analyze unpack these topics while reflecting on their own roles in movement work and as funders/fundees. As media creators and lovers of hip hop, they center the power of media, art, and imagination in pushing back against oppressive ways of thinking and accepting and living out abolitionist politics.

Considering it all, BrownTown and Lizette distill these larger dialogues wrestling with how to work within and simultaneously resist a system built on the same hierarchies and oppression it is supposed to challenge. Ultimately, we're all just trying to figure out where the money reside. Originally recorded December 3, 2020.



Lizette Garza is the Program Manager at Crossroads Fund, a public foundation  that supports community organizations working on issues of racial, social and economic justice in the Chicago area. Lizette supports community-based grant making, and movement building programs like The Giving Project and Cultivate: A Women of Color Leadership program. Previously, Lizette has a background in youth development and music industry serving as a Program Specialist at After School Matters and Teaching Artist at ElevArte Community Studio. She is a longtime Pilsen-resident with a love for hip hop, yoga, and cooking. Outside of trust-based philanthropy, she is a Music Curator for ReverbNation. Follow Lizette on Instagram and Twitter; and Crossroads Fund on their site, Instagram, and Twitter.


Mentioned media, topics, and information:

Description of the book, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-profit Industrial Complex by INCITE!

  • A trillion-dollar industry, the US non-profit sector is one of the world's largest economies. From art museums and university hospitals to think tanks and church charities, over 1.5 million organizations of staggering diversity share the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) designation, if little else. Many social justice organizations have joined this world, often blunting political goals to satisfy government and foundation mandates. But even as funding shrinks, many activists often find it difficult to imagine movement-building outside the non-profit model. The Revolution Will Not Be Funded gathers essays by radical activists, educators, and non-profit staff from around the globe who critically rethink the long-term consequences of what they call the "non-profit industrial complex." Drawing on their own experiences, the contributors track the history of non-profits and provide strategies to transform and work outside them. Urgent and visionary, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded presents a biting critique of the quietly devastating role the non-profit industrial complex plays in managing dissent.


CREDITS: Intro soundbite Kofi Ademola from the Chi DNA interview with audio track by Genta Tamashiro. Outro song Where the Money Reside (Remix) w/ IMarkkeyz by Seude the Remix God. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro with assistance from Kiera Battles. Episode photo by Jamie Kelter Davis.


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