About The People's Fund

The Problem: Funding Inequity Harms Us All

Racial inequity is built into the institution of philanthropy, and our movement is not immune.

According to a report by The Bridgespan Group, average revenues and net assets of Black-led nonprofits are significantly smaller than those of white-led organizations.

Disparities in revenues and unrestricted assets

exist between white-led and Black-led early-stage organizations.

Source: Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group, Racial Equity and Philanthropy (Boston: The Bridgespan Group, 2020): 11.

Data for the nonprofit animal protection sector is limited, but our figures suggest that this problem is possibly even more severe in our own movement.

This inequity prevents ambitious, strategic advocates and organizations from scaling their work, innovating, and achieving impact for animals, communities, and the planet.

It also stifles collaboration and prevents communities on the front lines from bringing their uniquely powerful and relevant perspectives to the fight against factory farming.

Inequity in our movement holds us all back.

The Solution: Shifting Wealth, Power, and Norms

The People’s Fund aims to address racial inequity in philanthropy by redistributing wealth in our movement and transforming the underlying structures and norms that entrench inequity.

Funds Distributed to Date
Leaders and Organizations Funded

Our Process

We believe it’s time to disrupt and democratize philanthropy. 
Photo: Plant the Power
Photo: Veggie Mijas

The People’s Fund uses a participatory grantmaking process to shift decision-making power to the communities the program aims to serve. This means trusting activists to make funding decisions as well as determine the strategy and criteria behind these decisions.

This approach is not only more equitable—it is also more effective. Activists are the experts on their own fight and lived experiences, and their wisdom is critical to an effective grantmaking process.

The process itself builds agency, leadership, and expertise among participants. It aims to serve as a microcosm of the change we hope to see across our movement and the nonprofit sector.

Learn more about our grantmaking advisory committee.

What We Fund

Community Building, Organizing, and Resilience Building
Education and Public-Awareness Raising
Corporate and Government Advocacy and Engagement

Our Scope

The People’s Fund currently serves advocates based in the United States and U.S. territories. Our partner program, Fundo de Apoio à Periferias Antiespecistas, serves advocates in Brazil and has distributed $20,000 USD to date.


Meet The People’s Fund grant recipients.
APEX Advocacy
Be Well with Brialle
Afro-Vegan Society
Black VegFest

Our Team

Leah Garcés

Leah launched The People’s Fund in 2020. She is the first female and Latinx president of Mercy For Animals and the author of two books. With more than 20 years of leadership experience in the animal protection movement, Leah is renowned for her “turning adversaries into allies” approach founded on finding common ground. She is dedicated to progress, equity, and justice in the movement and in our food system at large.

Shayna Rowbotham

Shayna focuses on growing the capacity of individuals and organizations driving food system change. She aims to foster interconnected and collaborative communities inside and outside the animal protection movement. She is committed to learning and bringing an equity lens into her work. In her personal time, Shayna loves to bring people together around shared meals.

Erin Kwiatkowski

Erin strives to increase financial and other resources for activists of the global majority, who are growing the strength, scale, and effectiveness of our movement to end structural oppression—of farmed animals and people—in our food system. Outside Mercy For Animals, Erin is often found walking her rescue pit bull, Kitty, or playing roller derby.

Grant Advisory Committee

Kyjana Barnett

Ky is a student of veterinary medicine, class of 2025. She has always been passionate about helping animals and became vegan and involved in animal rights eight years ago. She is very interested in the intersection of human and animal rights and excited to work with The People’s Fund.

Ketia Johnson

Ketia is a skilled researcher and community-engagement professional with a passion for climate and environmental-justice studies. Through her background in animal sheltering, she has strengthened her understanding of community collaboration in the animal protection movement.

Mansheel Singh

Mansheel is a UC Berkeley alumnus, plant-protein farmer, and passionate animal rights advocate who strongly believes in the transformative power of individuals and communities to create a just and equitable future for all people, animals, and the planet.

Our Partners

The People’s Fund is grateful to partner with A Well-Fed World, a nonprofit that provides fiscal sponsorship to several of our grantees. We welcome partnerships with other nonprofits who share our mission to build a more equitable movement.