Possibility Labs Enters New Era of Leadership with Deep Focus on Its Movement-Accelerating Mission

With former Heron Foundation executive Donna Daniels as CEO, the trailblazing solidarity economy intermediary speeds past “the pace of privilege” to support BIPOC-led, community-driven initiatives

San Francisco, CA (May 13, 2024)—Founded to break down the logjams that impede grassroots organizations led by and serving communities of color, Possibility Labs has deepened its focus and welcomed Donna Daniels, Ph.D., as CEO.

Possibility Labs provides essential movement infrastructure: an agile, adaptable, “we can do that” fiscal-sponsorship program for BIPOC-led organizations, and a donor-advised fund program designed to maximize both investment and deployment impact. Inspired by the startup’s mission, staff, board, and partner community, Daniels will lead the team in building on Possibility Labs’ established strengths and accelerating the flow of capital to community-rooted initiatives that advance racial, gender, and climate justice.

“Possibility Labs is designed to unlock capital for projects and communities that have been underserved. Too much of philanthropy operates at the pace of privilege, not the pace of need,” said Daniels, who joined the team March 18. “The issues facing us are urgent, and infrastructure services need to reflect that urgency. There’s never been more demand for responsive providers dedicated to helping movements do what they need to do—now.”

Drawing on a history of success at powering change

“Donna is a perceptive leader with a history of success in driving innovative approaches to philanthropy forward,” said Mark Watson, board chair and a member of the Office of the President, which led the startup after its founders, Keiko Murase and Lem White, departed in 2023.

As vice president of integrated capitals and communities at the Heron Foundation, Daniels created a place-based funding strategy that deployed over $30 million. Centered on ceding power, decision-making, and financial resources to community partners, her strategy enabled Heron’s largest single-year deployment in 2022.

“I can’t imagine a better CEO for Possibility Labs,” said Watson. “And I know from working directly with this team that she’s starting with a group of resourceful, resilient, and unusually committed people who go the extra mile.”

Doubling down on lauded fiscal sponsorship program

Possibility Labs is known for its above-and-beyond support of BIPOC-led, community-driven organizations that use it as a fiscal sponsor in lieu of obtaining 501(c)3 nonprofit status. Under Daniels, team members will continue to develop this standout movement infrastructure.

While fiscally sponsored projects pursue some of the most cutting-edge work in social change movements, they face uniquely complex regulatory barriers to adopting progressive, mission-aligned internal policies and practices. That’s where Possibility Labs comes in: “We roll up our sleeves to dismantle the barriers whenever possible,” said Daniels. “We are a transitional infrastructure designed to co-create more liberatory futures.

Enabling operational flexibility and innovation is Possibility Labs’ core commitment to its growing roster of sponsored project partners, currently numbering 45.

Yumari L. Martinez, executive director of Catalyze Justice, attests to that commitment. “As we made the transition from our previous home, Possibility Labs worked hard to adapt to changing circumstances and find solutions that best met our needs, rather than dictating what was possible based on their systems,” he said. “A key component of this was ensuring that our all-remote team would be fully supported to do their work.” Possibility Labs enabled solutions including a monthly work-from-home stipend incorporated into payroll and leave policies that reflect Catalyze Justice’s values and staff needs.

“Catalyze Justice is tremendously grateful to have found a supportive partner in Possibility Labs, and we’re excited to continue to grow our organization here,” added Martinez.

Refining the DAF program to expand its impact

In addition to continuing to grow Possibility Labs’ roster of fiscally sponsored projects and resourcing initiatives, Daniels will bring a fresh vision to its DAF program. She led RSF Social Finance’s DAF program as vice president of philanthropic services from 2018 to 2021, and drawing on that experience, she plans to expand Possibility Labs’ impact investing options, bring DAF holders into closer relationships with fiscally sponsored organizations, and develop new partnerships for creative grantmaking strategies.

In this and other efforts to move Possibility Labs to its next level, Daniels can count on support from the organization’s core funders.

Reflecting on Possibility Labs’ role in funding BIPOC-led organizations, Nwamaka Agbo, CEO of Kataly Foundation, said, “We’ve long supported Possibility Labs because we believe in the critical role that BIPOC movement infrastructure plays in undergirding social movements at the front lines of contesting for power and achieving victories for real people. With its flexible and community-driven approach, Possibility Labs is building funding infrastructure to bridge the resource and wealth gaps that impact movement organizations and leaders. As it moves ahead, Possibility Labs will continue to support BIPOC resilience and self-determination.

About Possibility Labs

Possibility Labs, launched in September 2020, is a movement-centered solidarity economy intermediary that reimagines financial vehicles and streamlines business infrastructure to help Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other systemically oppressed communities grow wealth, attain self-determination, and build power. Possibility Labs’ BIPOC identity informs how every aspect of its systems, policies, and processes are designed to honor the cultures, histories, traditions, and needs of Black and Brown communities, making it easier for movement leaders to advance regenerative economies grounded in social and environmental justice.

 

 

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