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With all the turmoil in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we almost missed the opportunity to announce our most recent slate of Criminal Justice Giving Project grants. Back in early March, a cohort of nine dedicated volunteers completed their 6-month project, making grants of approximately $30,000 each to seven organizations doing incredible work across the Pacific Northwest. One participant, Allie Van Bryce, had this to say about the project:

“Through the Social Justice Fund’s Criminal Justice Giving Project, myself andeight other participants spent several months in 2019-2020 fundraising together to move money to grassroots organizations that are building collective power to bring justice to the inflexible criminal justice system in our region.

At the start of this program, I set forth with the plan to learn how to fundraise — because in my short time on this planet, I’ve quickly learned that a closed mouth never gets fed. Through this program, I found a constructive way to speak truth, and learned that the opportunity to live fully is a right rather than a privilege.

At the start of the Giving Project I had limited experience of fundraising (consisting of selling cookies as a Girl Scout). By the end, I overcame multiple fears and gained a stronger sense of community with the SJF. And I was extremely inspired by each grantee and the necessary work they were doing.

The nine Criminal Justice cohort volunteers are a mix of artists, environmental activists, tech works, and social justice activists. Each of us made a meaningful, personal donation to the project and did fundraising from people in our own communities who are dedicated to shifting the imbalance of the criminal justice system.

Our goal was to raise $175,000 and we exceeded it, ultimately granting out over $245,000!”

This list of seven organizations received 2-year Criminal Justice grants of approximately $30,000 each.

WomenFirst Transition & Referral Center | Gresham, OR WomenFirst Transition & Referral Center is a grassroots organization that provides nourishing environments where women can rebuild lives and self-worth through peer mentorship, life-skills training, empowerment groups, and essential community support.

Noble Foundation | Vancouver, WA Noble Foundation’s mission is to ensure all marginalized communities can gain the connections, knowledge, and empowerment to build a more just, equitable, and healthy society. We support the idea that “the commUNITY knows what the commUNITY needs” and has the abilities, tools, and power to respond and organize together.

Unidos Bridging Community | McMinnville, OR The mission of Unidos Bridging Community is to promote the integration, participation, representation, and success of Latinx individuals and families in Yamhill County. To build bridges of understanding and support among Latinx and non-Latinxs. The work of Unidos is accomplished through education, policy and community advocacy, immigration support, and leadership development in an environment where collaboration and relationship-building is essential.

Chaplains on the Harbor | Grays Harbor County, WA Chaplains on the Harbor is a group of chaplains who seek to build what MLK called “the freedom church of the poor” by pastoring, organizing, and empowering the leadership of poor people in Grays Harbor County Washington.

FIGHT | Seattle, WA | Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together (FIGHT) fights for the healing of our Asian American Pacific Islander people from incarceration and deportation. With advocacy and outreach alongside our community and loved ones, we work to dismantle systems of injustice that continue to displace and traumatize our families. Through political education and mentoring, we support formerly and currently incarcerated Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in embracing their narratives and power to transform our world.

Creative Justice | Seattle, WA Creative Justice offers an arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County. Through collaboration with mentor artists, participants consider the root causes of incarceration -as they intersect with racism, classism and other oppressions – and focus on the positive role youth voice can have in building a more equitable justice system for the region.

Indian People’s Action | Butte, MT The mission of Indian People’s Action is to work in Montana’s border towns and reservations to empower Montana’s Indian families to address the economic racial and environmental inequities that shape their lives. Founded in 1996, IPA works to achieve its mission by training and developing low-income Native American leaders, working to build strong coalitions and partnering with other tribes, other Native organizations, and other progressive organizations in Montana. In addition, IPA uses participatory research, communications, mobilization and civic engagement to advance its goals.