Giving Projects

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Banner image with colorful collage background featuring animals humans and flora. Text reads The 2024 Environmental Justice Giving Project

The 2024 Giving Project will focus on Environmental Justice, making grants to support organizing work that aims to achieve equitable access to a clean and healthy environment for frontline communities most impacted by the climate crisis, environmental racism, and environmental injustice. The money raised by this Giving Project will fund rural and urban organizations working at the intersection of environmental, racial, and economic justice to create sustainable, self-determined and just communities. Environmental justice work can include, but is not limited to, access to clean and healthy food, water and air; just transition and climate resilience work; affordable and healthy housing; addressing neighborhood blight, etc.

The “environment” in the context of the environmental justice movement is defined as the spaces where we live, work, learn, play, pray, and heal. The Environmental Justice Giving Project learns about and supports organizations that:

  • Are community-based and led by the people who are most disproportionately affected by environmental justice issues in the midst of a climate crisis;
  • Strive for equitable access to a clean and healthy environment; and
  • Work for sustainability, including racial and economic justice.

For examples of the work we’ve funded, take a look at our Environmental Justice grantees from 2017 and 2019.

Members of the Environmental Justice Giving Project will learn about and have a concrete impact on a wide variety of environmental justice issues — from the climate crisis to healthy and sustainable homes to food sovereignty — while developing their leadership, building community, gaining analysis, and learning new skills.


What is a Giving Project?

Giving Projects are a unique, participatory model of funding that provides significant financial resources to grassroots organizing for long-term progressive social change. Giving Projects bring together a diverse group of people of varied class identities who are passionate about social change and want to strengthen their skills in fundraising, grantmaking, and community building. Participants work together to deepen their understanding of social justice principles and engage in collective giving and fundraising to support grassroots organizations.

  • Cohorts consist of a cross-class, multiracial group approximately 15 volunteers who commit to the entire process.
  • Each person makes a meaningful gift — whatever that means for you.
  • We develop a shared analysis of race, class, and the issue area of this Giving Project (Environmental Justice) through workshops and trainings.
  • Each person commits to fundraising within their community, including friends and family. Giving Project facilitators will train you in grassroots fundraising and support you along the way through regular 1:1 coaching sessions.
  • Participants will be trained on Social Justice Fund’s democratic grantmaking process. You will read and score proposals, make collective decisions, and grant money to some of the most inspiring, effective social change work in the region.

All Giving Projects follow roughly the same process:

  1. Community building, including personal storytelling and setting personal & collective goals.
  2. Political education about racism, classism, Black liberation, Indigenous sovereignty, and the grantmaking issue area for the project (Environmental Justice).
  3. Grantmaking training about social justice philanthropy, SJF’s grantmaking criteria, and decision-making processes.
  4. Fundraising training focused on grassroots fundraising skills and learning how to make an ask.
  5. Ongoing fundraising with support from SJF staff and other Giving Project members.
  6. Reading and scoring grant applications.
  7. Collective decision-making process to decide together which organizations will receive grants.
  8. Celebration of our successes and evaluation of the process so the next Giving Project will be even better.

What kind of organizing do Giving Projects fund?

The Giving Project participants will use Social Justice Fund’s grantmaking criteria to select grantees. We fund grassroots community organizing led by the people most impacted by injustice and working for systemic change. Giving Projects fund organizations throughout SJF’s funding region: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

More specifically, we give grants to groups that:

  • Are led by the people most directly affected by the issues the organization is working on
  • Continually build leadership from within their own membership, base, or community
  • Work to understand and address the root causes of the issues, not just the symptoms
  • Bring people together to build power they wouldn’t have individually
  • Use that power to create systemic change, which includes altering unjust power relations
  • See themselves as part of a larger movement for social change, and works towards strengthening that movement

Schedule

Session 1
Session 1: Introductions

Tuesday, 1/23
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 2
Session 2: Race caucus

Tuesday, 2/6
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 3
Session 3: Racial justice and class analysis workshop, part 1

Saturday, 2/24
10AM-4PM PT/11AM-5PM MT (1 hour lunch break—meal stipend included for breakfast and lunch)

Session 4
Session 4: Racial justice and class analysis workshop, part 2

Saturday, 3/2
10AM-4PM PT/11AM-5PM MT (1 hour lunch break—meal stipend included for breakfast and lunch)

Session 5
Session 5: Cross-class Q&A

Tuesday, 3/12
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 6
Session 6: Environmental Justice orientation

Tuesday, 3/19
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 7
Session 7: Fundraising training

Tuesday, 4/9
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 8
Session 8: Fundraising support & continued training

Tuesday, 4/16
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 9
Session 9: Grantmaking training

Tuesday, 4/30
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 10
Session 10: Environmental Justice guest speakers/panel

Tuesday, 5/7
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 11
Session 11: Collective decision making training

Tuesday, 5/28
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 12
Session 12: Check in and support for fundraising and grant reading

Tuesday, 6/4
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 13
Session 13: Decision making, part 1

Saturday, 6/22
9AM-3PM PT/10AM-4PM MT (1 hour lunch break—meal stipend included for breakfast and lunch)

Session 14
Session 14: Decision making, part 2

Tuesday, 6/25
6-9PM PT/7-10pm MT

Session 15
Session 15: Celebration!

Tuesday, 7/13
TBD

“One thing that sticks with me is how much I enjoy and get energy from these issues. I came in tired, and now feel energized.”

Brittany Alsot Economic Justice Giving Project member, 2012

Meet Our Giving Project Members

Maxx Tomlinson

LGBTQ Giving Project twice, Gender Justice GP, Criminal Justice GP
I always wanted to figure out a way to be active in social justice issues and what my action would be. I am not the kind...
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Mike Beebe

Native-led Giving Project
This Giving Project is my third (Environmental Justice in 2011/Movement Building Giving Project in 2015) and each time I find them highly educational, rewarding, and inspiring....
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Vinnie Tran

Economic Justice Giving Project 2017-2018
I learned about the Social Justice NW Fund through a random search online and was intrigued by the organization’s social justice lens to philanthropy. I joined...
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Chieko Phillips

2018 Immigration Justice Giving Project
An interview with Chieko Phillips, Immigration Justice Giving Project member. Why did you sign up for a Giving Project?  Immigration has never been “my issue” and...
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Tracy Gagnon

Economic Justice Giving Project 2017-2018
Joining a Giving Project was a way for me to take action after the haze of the election. I wanted to be a part of the...
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Sanne Stienstra

Portland Economic Justice Giving Project
Social Justice Fund NW provided me with an opportunity, as a white cisgendered person, to play a role in the movement that felt appropriate and fulfilling...
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Emiko Badillo

Giving Projects in Portland in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
We as individuals are so powerful. An action makes such a huge impact when we are working together with other dedicated individuals.
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Lilliane Ballesteros

Intergenerational Giving Project
I signed up for a Giving Project because I wanted to learn more about who was leading change in our communities in the Pacific Northwest. I...
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Saara Ahmed

2015 Gender Justice Giving Project
One of the most important things I learned about gender justice work is that we need both organizations with proven strategies AND organizations coming up with...
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Jasmine Fleenor

Gender Justice Giving Project
I am so amazed at how much I learned during this process. One of my main takeaways from this project is the importance of a broad,...
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Callie Lambarth

Economic Justice Giving Project 2017-2018
The entire Giving Project process was an incredibly powerful experience. One of the most meaningful takeaways for me was being able to engage with the discomfort...
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Jose Vazquez

2018 Immigration Justice Giving Project
As an undocumented individual who received the opportunity to join the professional workforce thanks to DACA, I wanted to be part of the solution to address...
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Margaret Weihs

2015 Next Generation Giving Project
In addition to expanding my personal analysis of race and class, the giving project positively challenged my understanding of how social change happens. I came into...
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Carol Brown

Intergenerational Giving Project
SJF’s focus is on organizations led by and communities most affected systemic racism, organizations addressing the root causes of oppression and racism, and organizations that are...
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Andrew Johnston

2015 Spring Momentum Giving Project
Asking people to support this work required that I be vulnerable, and sometimes voice strong opinions that might differ from the opinions of my family, friends,...
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