A New Chapter of Magic Cabinet’s Grantmaking: Introducing Our First Fiscally-Sponsored Cohorts

We’re excited to announce Magic Cabinet’s first cohorts of fiscally-sponsored organizations. Ushering in a new evolution of our grantmaking, we’re eager to shift power to a new group of nonprofits to help them catalyze impact within the communities they serve.

Magic Cabinet is excited to announce the launch of our first cohorts of fiscally-sponsored organizations in the Puget Sound. These new cohorts are the result of an exciting year-long collaboration with Seattle nonprofit and fiscal sponsor, Rooted in Vibrant Communities (RVC), whose thought partnership was vital to the success of this engagement.

An Advisory Committee comprised of leaders and community members from across the Puget Sound selected nine of RVC’s fiscally-sponsored organizations to join Magic Cabinet’s three new cohorts. Each cohort, comprised of three nonprofits, will collectively steward a pool of $2.5 million in capacity-building funding over the next five years. Cohort members will meet quarterly to review each other’s grant proposals, share advice and ideas on how to strengthen those proposals, and resource each other to build impact within their communities.

Our First Fiscally-Sponsored Cohorts

RVC Fiscally Sponsored Cohort #1

Mujer Al Volante supports low-income immigrant and refugee women and mothers to take the steering wheels of their lives. They offer free support to women of color, immigrant and refugee women, and bring transportation, equity, and gender justice to these communities.

ALA Garifuna’s mission is to empower Garifuna women by providing comprehensive general education and fostering the expansion of knowledge inherited through generations. They are dedicated to strengthening individuals and communities through continuous learning and shared wisdom.

Surge Reproductive Justice mobilizes communities to build a world where all people can make powerful, self-determined choices for their bodies and the future of their families and communities. They envision a world where all communities are free from reproductive oppression, racism, and violence.

RVC Fiscally Sponsored Cohort #2

Collective Justice is a restorative justice organization brought together by a diverse group of survivors and imprisoned community members in Washington State. They build responses to harm that center the dignity and resilience of all people and harness the collective power of communities impacted by the trauma of violence and mass imprisonment toward cultural and systemic transformation.

Skyway Coalition addresses the historic lack of investment, inequitable policies, and systems that have impacted the Skyway community. As an unincorporated King County area, their BIPOC community must actively advocate for their needs and community vision absent the services and resources provided to incorporated cities. They seek a diverse, civically engaged community that utilizes their voices, wisdom, and expertise for ongoing decision-making.

Washington Building Leaders of Change (WA-BLOC) is a community-based organization rooted in South Seattle with a mission to build and nurture intergenerational leaders through transformative education and revolutionary social action. They envision South Seattle as an epicenter where Black and Brown youth and families thrive and their school communities are joyful, restorative spaces of high-quality learning.

RVC Fiscally Sponsored Cohort #3

All Girl Everything Ultimate Program (AGE UP) invests in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color youth in South Seattle. Their community is rooted in ultimate frisbee and committed to justice.

Alphabet Alliance of Color (AAoC) is an organizing alliance of all of their letters: “two spirit, black, brown, disabled, femme, gender non-conforming, indigenous, pasifika, queer, trans, people of color who are healers, caretakers, dreamers, organizers, and community leaders.” They work to strengthen interconnectedness through skill sharing, leadership development, and power building. 

First Five Years & Beyond (FFYB) is actively contributing to closing education and opportunity inequities for families of children further away from educational justice. They provide parents and caregivers with the skills, tools, and resources to support children in early education and beyond.

In addition to selecting our new nonprofit grantees, the Advisory Committee also approved our new Cohort recommendations:

  • Access to a Pool of Funds: Over a five-year period, we will distribute $2,500,000 within this Cohort through a collective decision-making process. Quarterly, each organization submits grants for their own capacity-building projects, with all of the organizations participating in the approval process. This typically ends up being $500,000 divided up by three organizations over a five-year period for a grand total of $2.5M for the entire Cohort.
  • Organization Peers: The Magic Cabinet Cohort decision-making process consists of 5 voting members: a leader from each of the three fiscally-sponsored organizations, one Magic Cabinet program officer, and one independent advisor from the community.
  • Presents & Approves Grants: Each fiscally sponsored organization presents their grant proposals to the Cohort, and their peers approve or offer feedback on how to make the grant stronger. Once a proposal is approved, the organization receives funding.
  • Together for 5 Years: Cohorts meet quarterly over five years to present grant proposals, vote on new grants, share progress updates, and seek advice on new challenges.
  • Organizational Diversity: The cohort can include a mix of organizations that plan to stay fiscally sponsored long-term and those hoping to eventually transition to their own 501(c)3 status.

Although our work is ongoing and may evolve as we build relationships with additional capacity partners, we believe our partnership with RVC lays the groundwork for Magic Cabinet to continue moving funding deeper into under-resourced communities.

The Evolution of Magic Cabinet’s Grantmaking

Magic Cabinet’s first fiscally-sponsored engagement ushers in a new evolution of our grantmaking, as we continue to adapt our standard model to expand funding avenues and resource organizations that conventional philanthropic institutions often overlook. This collaboration with RVC represents an expansion in our philanthropic approach towards more inclusive and responsive funding through partnerships with intermediaries. 

In partnership with RVC, we co-developed a framework that not only broadened our standard engagement criteria but also led us to alter several aspects of our process to better meet the needs of their nonprofit partners. We leaned heavily into flexibility, transparency, and trust with our partner, demonstrating how quickly philanthropy can and should adapt to dismantle barriers and resource community-embedded organizations.

By including fiscally sponsored nonprofits in our grantmaking, we aim to bridge significant funding gaps that exist for grassroots organizations. Our collaboration with RVC underscores our continued commitment to disrupting traditional funding practices and will shape our approach to future grantmaking and capacity-building initiatives. As a foundation, we’re eager to shift power to a new group of nonprofits to help strengthen their organizations and catalyze impact within the communities they serve.

More to explore