Trina Middleton: Board Treasurer at Bread & Roses Community Fund

As Trina heads into her sixth year on the board of Bread & Roses, she’s so proud of the impactful projects the organization has been able to fund under her leadership. Bread & Roses is all about helping organizations that are tackling important social issues like race and equity, economic development, immigration, and gender justice. Bread & Roses utilizes grassroots organizing to enact change in the communities who need it most.


How did you get affiliated with Bread & Roses?


I became familiar with them through a professor for my master’s program in nonprofit leadership. A few years later, a friend of mine was giving up her board seat at Bread & Roses because of a career change and the timing was right for me to take the spot. Grassroots organizing is a window into changemaking and that excited me. Movements start from the ground up, you never know what is going to gain traction but we’re able to give nonprofits the chance to have a voice and fight for what they believe in. I’m able to be really involved since the board approves all grants. I’ve been able to learn so much about what’s going on in the world.


Can you explain what Giving Projects are?


Giving Projects are a fundraising tool that supports the integration of community members who want to enact change. They allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of what the community needs and get to the root of our mission — giving to organizations who need support. A Giving Project is a cohort of individuals who come from all walks of life who come together to fundraise and decide who the grants are awarded to. We create a spectrum of people who hit every category to broaden the scope of our reach. The group learns about the background of why these nonprofits exist, especially when it comes to race and class and learning where you fit on that spectrum.


What kind of grants do you fund?


Our main focus is on race and economic justice, but we fund grants on other focus areas too. We recently funded a gender justice Giving Project that supported organizations that spanned the gender spectrum. It allowed us to educate people on gender and how it goes far beyond the binary. We’ve funded grants focused on black-run organizations and immigration justice as well. During the pandemic, we raised emergency funds to help small nonprofits keep their doors open. We pick issue areas that are pressing and where we think we can make a dent.


What are Bread & Roses’ goals for the future?


Our challenge going forward is maintaining momentum to support these organizations. We have to be conscious of how society thinks, especially in a time when conservative views are spreading all around us. We have to counter that thinking and support the people who need it. For example, the war on women and abortion rights is becoming an issue we have to think about, which we didn’t before. It’s very possible Roe v. Wade could be overturned this year, which is unprecedented for the Supreme Court to rule against itself. It’s possible we will fund grants working in that space because it’s so important. At Bread & Roses, I’ve learned a lot about what’s important, who to listen to, and who is affected. If you yourself aren’t faced with a challenge, it’s hard to know what those people are dealing with.