Social Justice Rapid Response Fund Launches in Pittsburgh, Pledging $100,000 to Address Racial and Economic Inequities
New Voices for Reproductive Justice, a nationally recognized advocacy organization based in East Liberty, and The Pittsburgh Foundation launched the Social Justice Rapid Response Fund Monday. Over the next nine months, the fund will award approximately 40 grants, up to $2,500, to organizations and individuals addressing social justice issues in marginalized communities across Allegheny County. The grants will fund grassroots advocacy, mobilization, healing efforts and/or community education that address racial/ethnic, gender/gender identity or economic inequities.
The fund will award up to $100,000. Of this, $75,000 provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation will fund work led by and centering people most directly impacted by the social injustices, and $25,000 provided by New Voices will more specifically fund activism and community organizing led by and centering Black women, femmes and girls and/or focused on reproductive justice.
This is groundbreaking for The Pittsburgh Foundation to work in partnership with Black women to move monetary resources to the social justice movement—a movement New Voices has supported and helped build for the past 15 years. But it’s not just about raising money. It’s about raising diverse voices, raising strong leaders and raising the bar on equity in our communities. ~La’Tasha D. Mayes, founder and executive director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice.
This Fund, designed in partnership with local grassroots activists and organizers, is a powerful example of what is possible when foundations listen to and partner with the people and communities we seek to serve. Over the past two years, as part of our 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, The Pittsburgh Foundation has committed to learning with and from those who are working on critical issues like racial justice and gender equity but are, too often, under-resourced. We are hopeful that this rapid response fund will serve to encourage and strengthen the growing social justice movement in our region. ~Michelle McMurray, director of grantmaking at The Pittsburgh Foundation
We live in a world where we don’t know what immediate community need will surface at any given time as we face one crisis to the next. Often those on the ground closest to the people impacted by these crises don’t have the resources needed to respond instantly. I am ecstatic that The Pittsburgh Foundation not only took the time to listen to us but also put their money where the need is and actualized their mission, displaying a real commitment to racial justice and equity. ~Brandi Fisher, president of the Alliance for Police Accountability.
The Pittsburgh Foundation is now in a growing group of foundations establishing rapid response funds. This model shifts traditional methods of administering funds by empowering those who lead social justice work to make the final decisions on how funds are disbursed. Within 14 days of submitting a request through New Voices, organizations and individuals will receive a funding decision and a payment, if approved. Awardees then have 90 days to take action and impact communities.
Since its inception, 1Hood has advocated for a Pittsburgh that’s most livable for all, regardless of race, class or gender. The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Social Justice Fund is a good first step towards providing Pittsburgh activists and community leaders some financial support to assist with the ongoing work of repairing the damage done by the systemic effects of racism, injustice and neglect. ~Jasiri X, hip hop artist and activist.
This fast funding for frontline activists builds a bridge between community organizing and trust-based philanthropy. It also builds leaders within the community—those most directly impacted by violence, hate crimes and inequities and those most qualified to seek solutions. New Voices is thrilled to oversee this fund as we celebrate our 15-year anniversary and advance our mission to build a social change movement dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through leadership development, human rights and reproductive justice. ~Thena Robinson Mock, board chair of New Voices for Reproductive Justice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. To apply or to learn more about the Social Justice Rapid Response Fund, visit www.socialjusticerrf.org.