2019 at SJF & Departmental Highlight
2019 at SJF
We’re happy to share Social Justice Fund’s 2019 Annual Report — more than a little late, but full of memories, achievements, and reflections on our work and the work of the community around us in 2019. 2019 was an uncertain year, and 2020 even more so (what an understatement.) But we take with us the growing power of the movements we resource — for social justice, liberation, abolition, and healing. These movements aren’t a flash in the pan. They’re the result of centuries of struggle that continue to this day. Grassroots organizing in 2019 set the stage for the transformational conversations that have played out across the nation in 2020. Whether you were a grantee, donor, Giving Project participant, or any combination of those in 2019, you are a part of that legacy. We are so grateful for you.
2019 was also a year of big transitions at SJF. We said goodbye and prepared for the departure of staff who profoundly shaped our organization, and welcomed in new staff members to be a part of one of our biggest years yet. We want to give recognition to three former SJF staffers who were a part of our organization for nearly (or more than) a decade each: Lynne Nguyen, who moved on in 2019, and Karen Toering and Mijo Lee, who announced their transitions in 2019 and departed in 2020.
Operations & Finance Highlights
- Brought on a new Operations Director
- Led a collaborative team restructuring process to distribute labor equitably — fully staffed and not stressed!
Program & Grantmaking Highlights
- Brought on three new Giving Project facilitators and a new Program Associate
- Moved grantee applications to a more accessible database
- Led four Giving Projects and one Grant Panel
- Increased Giving Project grants to $30,000 each
- Welcomed eight new grantees
- Brought on a new Donor Systems Coordinator
- Held over 30 community events
- Grew our donor organizing effort with tech workers in Portland and Seattle
- Seattle Donors of Color grew and expanded its network
- Began monthly Development Undoing Anti-Blackness meetings
- Recruited an all Black, Indigenous, and people of color committee to lead the final phase of SJF’s Fund 4 the Frontlines campaign, launched in 2020
What We Do
Social Justice Fund NW funds social justice movements throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington,
and Wyoming. All of our grantees are grassroots organizations on the frontlines of social change. We provide them with flexible funding with the freedom to respond to community needs, to invest in leadership and relationships, and to innovate and take risks for long term systemic change.
We are member-funded and member-led. SJF is fueled by you.
Almost all of our grant making is done through an innovative model called Giving Projects. Each Giving Project is a multiracial, cross-class cohort of volunteers who come together with a shared commitment to social justice. Our staff guide them through a process of political education, community building, collective giving, grassroots fundraising, and democratic grant making; these volunteers raise the money for our grants and make the grants themselves. The result is a more accountable, sustainable, and connected form of philanthropy AND hundreds of donor organizers with the skills and analysis to resource our movements for the long haul.
We also provide Rapid Response Grants (to help communities meet urgent needs that couldn’t have been anticipated) and Seed Grants (to help promising young groups gain momentum), and host Donor Advised Funds (helping higher capacity donors move money to community). And we run workshops that help people across race and class become more strategic social justice givers and more effective fundraisers, reclaiming philanthropy for all.
Through Social Justice Fund NW, we are all stronger together. Thank you for being part of SJF and part of a growing movement for justice.
Heartspark Press is a volunteer-led, trans-centered organization dedicated to the liberation of transgender girls, transgender women, and CAMAB (coercively assigned-male-at-birth) non-binary people through accessible, liberated storytelling. Some 2019 Heartspark Press highlights include: creating joyful space for their community to build power through live performances, dinners, and game nights; organizing the Cicadas & Coneflowers Writers Workshop, a writing retreat for trans writers of color in St. Louis; and developing 99% Chance of Magic, an anthology of stories created entirely by trans people that explores the agency, power, and magic of trans kids. When Heartspark Press’ work is done, trans women and CAMAB non-binary people will be free to live however they are, in a world without the colonial state.
Learn more and support Heartspark Press directly: www.heartsparkpress.com
The Noble Foundation
The Noble Foundation (TNF) is a Black-led, multi-generational organizing hub for social justice and community organizing that serves Southwest Washington, primarily Clark and Cowlitz Counties. TNF centers Black, Indigenous, and people of color in their work, with a focus on intersectional organizing inclusive of all people pushed to the margins, to build power for community, by community. In 2019, TNF mobilized people in Clark County to call for justice after the murder of Carlos Hunter by the Vancouver Police Department; used outreach and education around the 2020 census to deepen BIPOC organizing connections; and bloomed its Community Health Worker program so their organizers are paid equitably and can grow in an environment that celebrates their full selves. TNF’s work will be done when there is Black Liberation, when the imagination of Black and brown people can be fully realized, and when people who have been marginalized can thrive within their innate strengths and abilities.
Learn more and support The Noble Foundation directly: www.thenoblefoundation.org
Center Pole is a Native-led organization serving the community of and around the Crow Indian Reservation in Southeastern Montana. Sovereignty is the thread that connects all of Center Pole’s work: they promote an independent food economy through their foodbank and garden project, disbursing millions of pounds of food every year and sharing knowledge of how to grow, trade, process, and sell their own healthy foods; through their alternative energy project, they support Native families in adopting alternative energy systems to save money and eventually reach energy independence; and through their internships and youth programming, they provide Crow youth and community with the guidance of a Clan Mother, career training, and leadership opportunities. Their Crow Voices Radio, broadcasting Indigenous thinking, singing, and news, has listeners in 46 countries. Center Pole understands their purpose as laying the groundwork for healing — of the land and people — to bring justice to their community and to make things better for the next generation.
Learn more and support Center Pole directly: www.thecenterpole.org
Shelby Cramer & David Baure – Rural & Small Town Organizing Giving Project
Our Seattle-based Rural & Small Town Organizing Giving Project set out to support community organizing in our region, specifically outside of Seattle and Portland, where wealth is concentrated. We focused on rural communities, small towns, smaller cities, and reservations.
Shelby: [I joined the Giving Project because] I knew something less than zero about philanthropy. I had misconceptions about philanthropy, like where money is coming from…I was surprised that people in my circle were happy to contribute, especially people whose financial and professional situation I was aware of being not ideal. That’s been the most powerful — it illustrated how enthusiastic and willing people are to contribute what they can to important work that’s being done that they connect with.
David: Having concentrated talks about race in fundraising and elsewhere — to have the language and to understand how to speak from my own experience was a way to break through [tough conversations]. Because of the GP’s values, the caucus, the practice of speaking from our own experience — that helped me do that with my own family in a different way than I was able to before.
Anna Rebecca Lopez, Economic Justice Giving Project
As an Evaluator in the nonprofit sector I’m familiar with donor-centric approaches to fundraising and wanted to explore more community-centric ones. Sharing the space [with my cohort] was transformative. We were a cross-race, cross-generation, cross-class group committed to contributing to a regenerative economy in the ways we were able. We were honest in our stories and in our relationship with wealth.
My parents were immigrants to the United States. I grew up in a predominantly immigrant community where resources and opportunities were limited. I was excited to learn about the work of Familias Unidas por la Justicia’s Economy and Ecology Project. They’re doing amazing work in Skagit County and also in Yakima Valley to organize workers who are disproportionately being impacted by the pandemic. They are fighting for better working environments for people who are essential in our food economy, and who are often marginalized. The farmworkers and immigrants could easily be my family and my neighbors. While I live far from the community I was raised in, I am now in a position to support this amazing group.
Donor Organizing Beyond Giving Projects – Claire Sontra, Tech Donor Organizer
Growing up in Seattle, I’ve seen the city change with the rise of the tech industry, a major contributor to the growing disparity of wealth. Many people move here for tech jobs, make disproportionately high salaries, and don’t think about the impact they have on the community; it’s easy to stay in an industry bubble and never witness the crisis that takes place in the city everyday, myself included. In 2019 I partnered with mano, the SJF Donor Organizing Manager, to co-lead a giving workshop for my fellow Google employees, (and joined forces again in 2020 on a COVID relief-focused workshop for a broader tech community). By bringing awareness to the responsibility that tech workers have around giving, and creating space to learn from others’ giving experiences, attendees acknowledged the “abysmal” income percentage that high earners currently give, and were on average 6/7 likely to change their giving behavior as a result of the workshop.
On Donor Organizing…
“Donor organizing is critical to Social Justice Fund’s mission of resourcing radical movement work. We define donor organizing as the process of people coming together to sharpen their analysis and develop tools to collectively and strategically fund social change to end suffering and inequality. We’re taught to believe that suffering and inequality within any system is inevitable. In reality, inequality is only possible when we (knowingly or unknowingly) pathologize and dehumanise whole groups of people, then frame that as natural.
In our donor organizing we understand that those who are closest to the problems have the best solutions. Donor organizing has been a part of our grantmaking for years, and in recent years, we began applying it to our fund development approach. The point of this work is not to just move resources, but to give up power to communities who don’t have it. In doing this, we imagine a world where resources aren’t concentrated in individuals or institutions, but are put to use reducing inequality and suffering.”
— mano, SJF Donor Organizing Manager
|2019 Giving Project & Panel Grantees||2019 Seed & Rapid Response Grantees|
|Adelante Mujeres, Forest Grove, OR||1st Care Education, Leavenworth, WA|
|All In For Washington, Seattle, WA||Birth Beyond Bars, Seattle, WA|
|Causa Oregon, Salem, OR||Black Community of Portland, Portland, OR|
|Center Pole, Garreyowen, MT||Canoe Journey Herbalists, Olympia, WA|
|Chaplains on the Harbor, Westport, WA||Central Washington Justice For Our Neighbors, Ellensburg, WA|
|Community to Community, Bellingham, WA||Circle of Life Garden, Tacoma, WA|
|Creative Justice, Seattle, WA||Coalition for Rights & Safety for People in the Sex Trade, Federal Way, WA|
|Eugene/Springfield NAACP, Eugene, OR||Ebony Collective CDC, Portland, OR|
|Familias Unidas Economy and Ecology Project, Burlington, WA||Firelands Together, Monroe, WA|
|FIGHT, Seattle, WA||Influencers of Neighbors, Portland, OR|
|Heartspark Press, Olympia, WA||Micronesian Islander Community, Salem, OR|
|Hilltop Urban Gardens, Tacoma, WA||Opportunities in our Communities, Seattle, WA|
|Indian People’s Action, Butte, MT||POC-SWOP, Seattle, WA|
|La Casa Hogar, Yakima, WA||Rural Organizing Project, Cottage Grove, OR|
|Liberation Medicine School, Seattle, WA||WomenFirst Transition & Referral Center, Gresham, OR|
|Momentum Alliance, Portland, OR|
|Montana Women Vote, Missoula, MT|
|Mother Africa, Kent, WA|
|Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas, Woodburn, OR|
|Native Youth Leadership Alliance, Ferndale, WA|
|OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Portland, OR|
|Parque Padrinos, Wenatchee, WA|
|Poder of Idaho, Boise, ID|
|Queer the Land, Seattle, WA|
|Stonewall Youth, Olympia, WA|
|Tacoma Urban League, Tacoma, WA|
|Tenants Union of Washington State, Seattle, WA|
|The Ebony Collective CDC, Portland, OR|
|The Montana Racial Equity Project, Bozeman, MT|
|The Noble Foundation, Kelso, WA|
|U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle, Seattle, WA|
|Unidos Bridging Community, McMinnville, OR|
|Unite Oregon, Portland, OR|
|Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project, Portland, OR|
|Western Native Voice, Billings, MT|
|Whiteswan Environmental (WE), Bellingham, WA|
|WomenFirst Transition & Referral Center, Gresham, OR|
2019 By The Numbers