Spring 2008 Grants
- Ensuring Economic Justice
- Ending Institutional Racism and Gender Discrimination
- Securing Peace and Justice
- Protecting Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights
- Brandworkers International $10,000 http://www.brandworkers.org/
Jobs in the service economy are growing, including a large number in the retail and food industries. Despite working for some of the world's most profitable enterprises, employees face wages too low to live on, insecure work schedules, and unaffordable health care. Brandworkers International trains non-union workers in the retail and food industries on organizing strategies for workplace justice campaigns.
- Center for Urban Pedagogy $10,000 http://anothercupdevelopment.org/
Grassroots voices are key to democratic participation and to the creation of just and sustainable urban policies. However, the technical language of urban policy and economic development can be opaque to those untrained to understand it. Center for Urban Pedagogy collaborates with schools, community-based organizations and policymakers to train local stakeholders to understand and propose socially and environmentally responsible alternatives to economic development plans.
- Eye Openers $5,000 http://www.myspace.com/eyeopeners
The North Shore neighborhood of Staten Island is seeing a burgeoning immigrant population. Tensions between ethnic groups have increased, economic opportunity is limited, and many young people are unable to gain access to educational opportunities. Working with young people at ten Staten Island high schools, Eye Openers is a space for young people to discuss racial tensions, community violence and the lack of economic opportunity. Many of their members are recent immigrants, and a number of them are children of day laborers and domestic workers.
- Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project 15,000
Almost 32% of immigrant students who are learning English leave school early-- the highest drop-out rate in the New York City public school system. Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project works with immigrant students and their families to advocate for better educational programs and to keep immigrant students in school.
- Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees $10,000
Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn is known as Little Haiti. It has become the home to a growing number of Haitian immigrants; 200,000 according to the 2000 Census. Lack of services leave many with few economic opportunities and vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation in the workplace. Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR) uses popular education tools to fight racial discrimination and expand opportunity.
- Mass Transit Street Theater & Video $10,000 http://www.mtstv.org/
According to the 2000 Census, 20% of households in the South Bronx and Harlem take in less than $10,000 a year. Limited economic opportunities and lack of services limit young people's options and result in increased violence. Mass Transit creates and performs progressive political theater as a tool for community organizers to promote discussion and action on social justice issues among young people. To date, they have produced 19 performances in 14 community centers and schools, reaching over 4,000 middle school and high school students.
- New Immigrant Community Empowerment $10,000 http://www.nynice.org/
Queens is New York's most diverse borough. Similarly the challenges faced by recent immigrants there are varied, and frequently compounded. New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) works with new immigrants to develop organizing campaigns that recognize the complexity of immigrant life in the 21st century. Issues that NICE works on include hate-crime prevention, language access, non-citizen voting, workers' rights and comprehensive immigration reform.
- Public Housing Residents of the Lower East Side (PHROLES) $15,000
Reduction of Housing and Urban Development funds and the budgetary shortfall of the New York City Housing Authority will adversely affect more than 400,000 public housing residents throughout the City. Coupled with pressures of gentrification and rent increases, thousands of families will be forced to leave their homes and community network. PHROLES, with a membership of 800, all of whom are public housing residents, provides leadership training and organizing skills to residents of 17 housing developments engaged in the fight to ensure New Yorkers have a place to call home.
- Queens Congregations United for Action $10,000 http://www.qcuapico.org/
28% of New Yorkers pay more than half their monthly income on rent. In eastern Queens, overcrowding is 17%, double the rate of Queens overall. Queens Congregations United for Action (QCUA) connects individuals and faith communities to create solutions to problems faced by the residents of eastern Queens. Currently, QCUA is working to preserve the existing housing stock and to advocate for more affordable housing units in Queens.
- Street Vendor Project $15,000 http://streetvendor.org/
There are approximately 20,000 individuals who sell merchandise and food on the streets of New York City. They have contributed to deepening the cultural and economic richness of New York City yet continue to face numerous obstacles to their ability to sustain their businesses. These entrepreneurs face limits on vending licenses and are constantly harassed by police, larger businesses and real estate industries. Street Vendor Project (SVP) is a grassroots, vendor-led organization that works to increase economic opportunity and protect the dignity of street vendors.
- Teachers Unite $10,000 http://teachersunite.net/
There are approximately 74,000 public school teachers in New York City. Each comes in contact with students who bear the effects of social inequity, from community violence and poverty to domestic abuse and family separation. Teachers Unite supports public school teachers to encourage and train students to engage in community activism. They conduct leadership development and educational forums and collaborate with community groups on school and union reform.
- VAMOS Unidos $10,000
Due to a cap on vending licenses and the backlog in processing applications, less than 4,000 of the approximately 20,000 street vendors in New York City are licensed. This leaves the rest open to arrests, verbal and physical abuse by police officers and regular fines and confiscations of merchandise. VAMOS Unidos works with street vendors in the Bronx to increase access to permits and monitor abusive behavior of law enforcement officers. In one year, they have grown from 4 to over 200 members.
- Biko Transformation Center $5,000 http://www.bikocenter.org/
The eastern end of Bushwick and Ocean Hill is home to a predominantly African-American, Caribbean and Latino population. In addition, there are approximately 15,000-20,000 Garifuna residents. Biko Transformation Center offers a neighborhood space to nurture local leadership and provide recreational and youth enrichment programs.
- Chica Luna Productions $5,000 http://www.chicaluna.com/
Media has a strong influence in the way public perception is formed and how policy is shaped. Chica Luna promotes leadership and supports the development of Latinas to use popular media to raise public awareness about social justice issues such as gentrification and trans- and homophobia in their neighborhoods. They use media to diversify the pool of media makers, present the socio-political context and showcase solutions for social conditions in disenfranchised neighborhoods.
- Critical Resistance - NYC $15,000 http://www.criticalresistance.org/
It costs an average of $201,115 per year to house a youth in juvenile detention center. Average cost per pupil in a New York City public high school is $11,844. Youth of color make up 95% of the population in detention centers. Critical Resistance-NYC (CR-NY) is a grassroots organization working to end society's reliance on prisons and policing to answer social, economic, and political problems. They believe that reduction in crime and violence will occur through equal access to food, housing, education and healthcare.
- Justice Committee $15,000 http://www.myspace.com/justicecommittee
State violence is a common occurrence in low-income, LGBT, immigrant and communities of color where police brutality is a fact of life. One hundred forty cases occurred in New York City between Amadou Diallo's death in 1999 and Sean Bell's in 2006. The Justice Committee is dedicated to building a movement committed to end systemic forms of racial violence. Their approach includes public education, community organizing, and grassroots leadership building.
- La Union de la Comunidad $10,000
28% percent of Sunset Park's families live below the poverty line. 42% of its residents are immigrants. Language barriers, immigration status and limited access to job opportunities have left this population vulnerable to exploitation. Based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, La Union de la Comunidad was established in response to the local practice of supermarkets locking in their overnight employees on the premises. Their 600+ membership consists primarily of Mexican immigrants experiencing unsafe housing conditions, unlawful eviction, exploitation in the workplace and under-resourced schools.
- Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund $5,000 http://www.transgenderlegal.org/
When accessing healthcare services, transgender individuals often face humiliation, refusal of service, and harassment. Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund's Transgender Health Initiative of New York (THINY) has over 225 members working to create policies and protocols for the provision of health services to transgender people.
- Coney Island Avenue Project $5,000 http://www.ciapnyc.org/
The events of September 11th marked a turning point for immigrant communities in New York City. South Asians came to be viewed with suspicion and were equated with threats to homeland security and terrorism. Coney Island Avenue Project (CIAP) empowers South Asians through legislative change, legal advocacy, and community-based education.
- Families for Freedom $15,000 http://www.familiesforfreedom.org/
In the U.S., two million people are at-risk of deportation, many of whom have families in this country. The members of Families for Freedom are Caribbean, Latino, and South Asian current and former detainees, as well as family members and individuals at-risk of deportation. Their mission is to roll back laws that lead to abrupt detention and deportation of individuals with little due process. They do this through direct services, collaboration, community organizing and grassroots advocacy.
- Youth Voter Collective $5,000 http://www.youthvotercollective.org/
The Youth Voter Collective of New York (YVC) is a youth-led, non-partisan organization that is mobilizing young people to participate in the electoral process, with the vision of building a long-term youth agenda in the post-election period. Its objective is to launch a city-wide campaign to register and turnout 5,000 youth voters (18-30 year olds) in the upcoming election and to use that as a springboard for engaging youth in a series of future organizing projects.