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Liberty Hill Announces Fund for Change Grants

Hands together.ar06.eram   Byline: Shane Goldsmith

In 2011-12, Liberty Hill's  Fund for Change is investing $859,000 in grassroots leaders who are organizing communities to build power and win systemic change to advance economic, racial, and LGBTQ justice. We received applications from 40 organizations requesting more than $1.8 million and provided grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to 30 organizations.

Our funding is accelerating concrete social change led by the people impacted by injustice. Here are just a few examples of campaigns:  

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment ACCE Institute), L.A. Voice PICO, and Southern California Education Fund are saving people's homes through innovative programs that bring banks and homeowners to the table to compromise on foreclosures.  

People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER),TRUST South L.A., Housing Long Beach, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), Korean Resource Center (KRC), Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Los Angeles Black Worker Center, L.A. Community Action Network (L.A. CAN) and Coalition for Economic Survival are building homes and creating jobs by ensuring that major developments in Koreatown, South LA, Downtown, West LA, and Long Beach include affordable homes and health clinics, and create living wage jobs and job training programs.

Labor Community Strategy Center, Youth Justice Coalition, Community Asset Development Re-defining Education, InnerCity Struggle, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and Californians for Justice Education Fund are protecting youth by ending the “school to prison pipeline” and increasing graduation rates of low-income students of color through changes in punitive school disciplinary policies; by eliminating discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race and ethnicity; by making healthy foods more accessible in schools; and by creating health clinics and support services at schools.

Black Women for Wellness, Gender Justice L.A. and Special Needs Network are improving healthcare for Black women, transgendered people, and children with developmental disabilities by changing the policies and practices of government and healthcare agencies.

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Restaurant Opportunities Center United-L.A., Pilipino Workers Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) and Pomona Economic Opportunity Center are protecting low-wage workers and putting millions of dollars in their hands by making “wage theft” a crime in Los Angeles; by winning basic protections for restaurant, car wash and domestic workers; and by operating worker-led job centers and co-ops. Wage theft laws provide a way to collect unpaid wages from exploitative employers who routinely escape consequences of breaking laws meant to protect vulnerable workers. The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights would give these workers the same rights that most American workers enjoy to meal and rest breaks, overtime pay, eight hours of rest between shifts, health and safety standards, workers compensation and protections against discrimination.

Jordan Rustin Coalition, Asian and Pacific Island Equality-L.A., and Latino Equality Alliance are increasing support for marriage equality among African Americans, Asian & Pacific Islanders and Latinos.

All together, more than 18,000 people in low-income communities of color who are members of grantee organizations will lead these and other campaigns to win social change in Los Angeles and more than 900 leaders will be trained through rigorous leadership development programs at grantee organizations.

For a complete list of 2011 Fund for Change grants awarded, please go to the Liberty Hill website. 

Liberty Hill is committed to advancing racial justice, and so we track ethnic and racial diversity indicators of our grantmaking. Of the 2011 Fund for Change grantees, 79% are led by people of color. This is a significant number because we have a very high standard, defining an organization as “led by” people of color, or a particular racial or ethnic group, if (1)the group's mission and programs aim to serve and empower  a community/communities of color; (2) a majority of the individuals with governance and decision-making power (e.g., executive director, board members, staff) are people of color or members of the specific racial or ethnic group; and (3) the base of members is mostly people of color or members of the specific group.

Liberty Hill is also committed to supporting a geographically diverse group of L.A.-area community organizers. Grants have been awarded to organizations in the following neighborhoods: East L.A., Downtown, Koreatown, South L.A., Long Beach, San Pedro, Pomona, Pacoima, Venice and West L.A.

Decision-making strategy

Liberty Hill's staff worked with our brain trust, the Community Funding Board (CFB), to do a thorough assessment of applicants and to analyze the socio-political landscape within which these organizations operate.  This brain trust is made up of organizers, academics, donors, and other experts representing the great diversity of Los Angeles. Our goal was to invest in community organizing that is building power and winning systemic change in the areas of economic and LGBTQ justice. We are confident that we achieved this goal. We were looking for organizations that:

  • engage a broad and growing base of people impacted by injustice and systematically develop leaders from that base.
  • have a clear plan to win concrete systemic changes to policies and practices.
  • advance racial justice by addressing inequalities in institutional policies and practices that cause racial disparity.

We also considered seed and service organizations that are doing innovative community organizing in underrepresented communities.

Leadership Institute

Fourteen of these 30 organizations participated in Liberty Hill's 2011 Leadership Institute, where they strengthened their skills and organizational infrastructures in the areas of fundraising, board development, base-building and membership, leadership development, and communications. We are now developing the program for the 2012 Leadership Institute based on the capacity-building needs and goals of this year’s grantees.

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