On Jan. 29, 2018, 21 members of Social Justice Fund NW’s 2018 Criminal Justice Giving Project convened for the first time. Together, we embarked on a transformational six-month journey in building a collective understanding of how race, class, gender, sexuality, and other axes of oppression intersect with the criminal justice system. Galvanized by this framework of analysis, we began the work of fundraising our personal networks with the goal of providing grants to grassroots organizing groups throughout the Pacific Northwest! In doing so, we’ve continued SJF’s tradition of leveraging community resources and power to reinvest in community organizing.
An SJF Giving Project grant is typically in the amount of $20,000 over two years. Our group set an initial fundraising goal of $175,000, which was intimidating to all of us! Halfway through the project, we met to choose 14 organizations that would receive an in-person site visit. Deciding on this final list was challenging, but by this time we were confident enough in our fundraising that we pushed our goal to $275,000!
Over the following months, Giving Project members visited organizations across the Puget Sound and as far as Montana’s Indian Country. We visited organizations that were positioned both inside and outside the walls of the carceral system as well as organizations that used organizing strategies ranging from community food sovereignty to prison abolition. Through this process, we were able to glimpse the imaginatively resilient, systems-changing work our grantee organizations are doing for their communities. With most of us being from Seattle, these site visits were opportunities to meaningfully share space with communities geographically far from us, isolated through the violence of criminalization and incarceration. The site visits renewed our commitment to fundraising, as we began to fully appreciate our collective role in advancing the work of these organizations.
This year’s portfolio of grantees represents a commitment to:
– Organizing work across the urban-rural landscape
– Centering the work of young people
– Supporting Black and Indigenous communities
– Addressing systemic change from both inside and outside the carceral system
We’re happy to announce that we will be funding all 14 grantee-organizations that received site visits! We ultimately fundraised $324,000, which yields about $285,000 to grant to organizations. This comes to 14 two-year grants of approximately $20,349.
You can learn more about grantees and their incredible work below.
In practice, the 2018 Criminal Justice Giving project challenged us to re-conceptualize what sustainable and accountable philanthropy is. We’ve practiced the work of redistributing the wealth inherent in personal networks to benefit communities targeted by the criminal justice system—and witnessed how impactful and feasible this work can be! Though by no means easy, this experience has reminded us the power that people build when they come together as a community, and the responsibility they have to share it.
2018 Criminal Justice Giving Project Members
Asian Pacific Family Club (APFC) is a self-funded club based at Oregon State Penitentiary. APFC is working on an inmate-led project to construct and develop a healing garden inside prison grounds. With high recidivism rates and a large number of the inmate population suffering from mental health issues, this garden is a way to restore and heal among the incarcerated population, staff, administration, and outside community.
Beyond These Walls organizes with LGBTQ people who are incarcerated across the U.S., with a specific emphasis on transgender prisoners everywhere and prisoners living in the Northwest. Beyond These Walls is guided by a 16-person advisory committee comprised of currently or recently-incarcerated LGBTQ people. In 2018, the organization is poised to launch the pilot of a trans leadership program at Oregon’s only super-maximum prison: Oregon State Penitentiary.
The Coalition for Rights & Safety for People in the Sex Trade is a network of individuals and organizations promoting self-determination, safety, well-being, and human rights of sex workers and people engaged in the sex trade.
Colectiva Legal del Pueblo uses community organizing and legal services strategies to strengthen undocumented communities to defend themselves from deportation and detention and transform the broken immigration system. They will engage former clients, and those at risk for detention and deportation, in the fight for migrant justice by strategizing, developing, and implementing campaigns for the release of people at the Northwest Detention Center, and the protection of community members that are at risk of detention.
Community to Community (C2C) is a place-based, women-led grassroots organization working for a just society and healthy communities. C2C is committed to systemic change and to creating strategic alliances that strengthen local and global movements towards social, economic and environmental justice. C2C requests funding to continue to address criminal justice issues in Whatcom County through their People’s Movement Assembly Process and programmatic work.
Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the prison-industrial complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. They believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. Critical Resistance PDX will advance a campaign to fight the violence of policing in Portland by decoupling policing from mental health care.
Hilltop Urban Gardens’ (HUG) mission is to develop systems for food sovereignty and create racial and economic justice. HUG will provide neighborhood-grown produce for at least 30 households each week, train a minimum of 30 Black and non-Black people how to grow their own food, expand their Urban Farm Network’s square footage and develop a microgreens grow operation and support re-entry of two currently incarcerated women.
Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project (IMAP) is a coalition of law students, lawyers, incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and anti-racist organizers who envision a world where families can be together and thrive. IMAP will work to provide legal and reproductive information to incarcerated parents and engage incarcerated parents in developing policy strategies to reduce the chances of family separation and incarceration in Washington. IMAP hopes to restart the Read 2 Me program at the women’s prison in Purdy, and explore partnerships to hold a Mother’s Day Bail Out event and fundraising drive.
Indian People’s Actions’ (IPA) 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. The Trump administration’s reversal of the 2016 Department of Justice order against the renewal of private prison contracts is a major threat to Native Americans in Montana, with Montana currently having the nation’s second-largest prison population. This grant will help IPA bring attention to structural racism embedded in the school-to-prison pipeline that threatens Native families.
Mano a Mano Family Center works towards the educational, cultural, and political development of underrepresented youth. Latino Unidos Siempre requests funding to fight against the school-to-prison pipeline. Latino Unidos Siempre will tackle local issues of systemic racism and xenophobia in the criminal justice and education systems by educating youth most affected. They hope to create momentum for a statewide effort to change our current state laws on incarceration, police profiling, and education policies on behavioral issues and “zero tolerance” policies.
Native Youth Leadership Alliance (NYLA) invests in young Native American leaders and communities to create culturally-based community change. NYLA’s growth for the next two years includes launching a new Fellowship Program cohort, further developing their Advanced Leadership Fellows, continuing their policy-development work with Tribal Youth Committees, and strengthening their internal capacity as they continue to improve their programming.
Northwest Detention Center Resistance (NWDC Resistance) is a grassroots, undocumented and detainee-led movement that works to end the detention of immigrants and stop all deportations. They organize to dismantle an immigration system that profits off of the separation of families and the exploitation of undocumented communities. NWDC Resistance requests funds to support their ongoing organizing and connection between activists/organizers inside and outside the NWDC, and their efforts to connect the struggles and demands of detainees with a broader movement to end detention, deportation, and the criminalization of immigrants in the U.S.
Red Lodge Transition Services’ (RLTS) organizational goal is to promote and develop culturally competent pre- and post-incarceration programs that aid in prevention, foster responsibility, and promote respect and the empowerment of the individual, family and community. They will support reducing mass incarceration of Native Americans through manually counting the number of Native Americans within Oregon prisons in order to identify needs, track recidivism rates, and reduce recidivism through community involvement and supportive services.
Washington Building Leaders of Change’s (WA-BLOC) mission is to empower academic, creative, community-connected lifelong leaders through high impact academic and “place-based” social justice leadership development. They request funding to disrupt educationally embedded systemic racism for the purpose of dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline via 1) a six-week Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools for 9th and 10th graders and K-6 graders and 2) school-based restorative justice practices facilitated by students most impacted.