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An EPIC Success

After six years of phenomenal growth, the Seattle Foundation is changing its approach to GiveBIG. Your generosity during GiveBIG in the past few years has made a BIG difference in Social Justice Fund NW's ability to support our grantees. 

As the number of GiveBIG participating organizations dramatically increased, the value of the "stretch pool" decreased, and so this year there is no longer a pool of matching dollars. 

Therefore, we have decided to ask our supporters to give directly to Social Justice Fund via our website to support our mission of fostering community organizing work as a member-led foundation.

By donating todayyou give Social Justice Fund NW the flexibility to be innovative in our approach to funding community organizing work. Your investment today will help magnify our momentum and increase our capacity this spring.

Marlon Brown

Fighting Back, Creating Alternatives

Through your support of SJF in late 2016, you supported another innovative success story: the EPIC Zero Detention Project. It’s an example of how SJF is uniquely suited to use our grantmaking skills as a movement partner to groups whose work is yielding big monetary wins.

Some background: In 2015, a multi-year campaign by Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) -- a network of people of color-led organizations working to stop the construction of a new King County youth jail -- succeeded in getting the Seattle City Council to unanimously pass a resolution proclaiming a goal of zero youth detention in the city.

EPIC won $500,000 from the City’s budget to invest in community based alternatives to youth incarceration, forming an unprecedented partnership. EPIC invited Social Justice Fund to partner with them and develop a special Giving Project to distribute these funds, a unique arrangement making a Black-led group the primary grant decision-maker.

EPIC Zero Detention Project participant, Marlon Brown, joined the project to help redistribute these funds. He was fascinated and excited by the idea of a project which involved “Black people talking about money and giving it away to organizations working to save our kids.”

Marlon said, “The opportunity to do site visits with potential grantees was phenomenal. It was not only amazing to see the work on the ground, but also impressive to see firsthand the respectful and empowering way that Social Justice Fund led the visits.”

His favorite site visit was to Black Star Line, a collective of Black families doing home schooling and “tapping into the resources of the Black community to teach African-American history and allow parents to learn about their greatness alongside kids.” The project was fully funded by the EPIC Zero Detention Project (you can see the full list of grantees at socialjusticefund.org).

In this sense, the EPIC Zero Detention project is a perfect example of SJF’s funding strategy at this crucial moment; in order to win, grassroots organizations must:

  1. Fight back against immediate threats by bringing communities together and unifying our voices and actions.

  2. Create visionary alternatives and lay the groundwork for progressive policy victories in the future.

Social Justice Fund NW is a pillar of that movement-building strategy. Many of the community organizations SJF funds don’t get significant funding from other foundations so they are counting on us – on you.

We encourage donors to support SJF on GiveBIG day today to demonstrate the impact of collective giving as well as support the grantee organizations below who are participating in GiveBIG.

SJF grantee organizations participating in GiveBIG: 

In Solidarity,

Mijo Lee
Executive Director

Social Justice Fund NW