Instruments of Hope Unity Fund

Building unity and a greater sense of trust and shared fates are the central goals of the Instruments of Hope Unity Fund, a Field of Interest fund of the Community Foundation that seeks to develop a sustainable and permanent model for fostering civil discourse and action toward addressing the most complex challenges facing the greater Birmingham area.

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Spring 2023 Request For Proposal

The Instruments of Hope Unity Fund Request for Proposal (RFP) is now open with Brief Proposals due by February 10, 2023.

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Through this RFP, the fund seeks to:

  • Bring people together across differences – including (but not limited to) differences of faith, ideology, race, and socioeconomic status to – learn about each other, change hearts and minds, and build long-lasting relationships.
  • Utilize some form of moderated, safe-space gatherings, over the course of at least a year, to achieve the above

The grant awards will be announced at the end of March 2023.

Unity Fund RFP

Vision and Mission

The Instruments of Hope Unity Fund, established by founding donors Gail and Jeffrey Bayer, will support projects and programs that have the aim of strengthening unity by various means, including:

  • Fostering mutual understanding and respect
  • Promoting inclusive participation in public life
  • Reducing prejudice
  • Minimizing barriers to communication and cooperation across differences
  • Cultivating a sense of shared fates and futures
  • Advancing justice and peace


Building unity and a sense of shared fates: these are the central tenets of the Instruments of Hope Unity Fund and what founding donors, Gail and Jeffrey Bayer, believe are the key cultural shifts that must occur to allow all people to thrive in the Birmingham region.

In response to the increasing divisiveness of the country, Gail and Jeffrey chaired the effort to bring Violins of Hope to Birmingham in April 2018. The unifying effect of Violins of Hope inspired Gail and Jeffrey to think about creating a more lasting effort to cultivate a greater sense of unity within our community. With the guidance of the Aspen Institute, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and community members, they decided to seed a field of interest fund at the Community Foundation that will provide a sustainable resource for fostering civil discourse and action toward addressing the most complex challenges facing the greater Birmingham area.

Gail and Jeffrey believe that Birmingham, particularly the city’s younger generation, is ready for change and recognize that for Birmingham to thrive and grow, all must thrive. Their goal for the Instruments of Hope Unity Fund is to foster the mutual understanding and respect needed for inclusive growth.