All Souls/Beckner Advancement Fund

About the Beckner Advancement Fund

All Souls Church Unitarian has a long history of working for social justice and fighting against oppression of all kinds. Our proud tradition of public witness here in the nation’s capital dates back to standing against slavery and continues to this day. For almost two centuries, the congregation has worked to make our city, our nation, and our world more just and compassionate.

All Souls members Earl and Meta Beckner endowed the Beckner Advancement Fund in 1973. The Deed of Gift states their desire to “make the Church and surrounding community more cohesive, attractive, and forward-looking; foster human rights and dignity; and enhance the influence of All Souls Church in the Washington metropolitan area.”

Grounded in commitment to social-change philanthropy, the Beckner Advancement Fund distributes nearly $100,000 each year to support efforts that advance All Souls’s social justice mission. The Beckner Advancement Committee, made up of All Souls members, the senior minister, and coordinated by a program officer, manages the Fund and advises the church’s Board of Trustees, who make the decisions for the Beckner Advancement Fund. Internal grants fund the church’s own social justice activities, and external grants support DC organizations that address urgent and compelling social justice issues from the community. as identified the following social justice priority areas.

  • Safe, affordable housing
  • Environmental justice
  • Peace and reconciliation
  • Immigration
  • Anti-oppression efforts, including racial and ethnic justice

Shively Rapid Cycle Grant Process

The Beckner Advancement Fund’s Shively Rapid Cycle grants are small grants of up to $1,000 to address emerging and urgent community needs in Washington, D.C. Grants funds will be made available to 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations (including organizations with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor) and All Souls Unitarian social justice ministry groups.

Eligible grant proposals should clearly demonstrate that the proposed project arose as a response to an unforeseen, emergent and/or time-bound opportunity (we generally define a time-bound opportunity as occurring within a three to six-month period). Due to the nature of this program and level of funding for our rapid cycle grants initiative, the Beckner Advancement Fund does not allow indirect costs/administrative fees to be covered as part of our Rapid Cycle Grant award policy.

Proposals will be reviewed on a monthly rolling basis until the allotted amount is spent for the year. Project funds will be distributed within 2 weeks of funding decisions. There are no specific deadlines for submitting an application, however we will stop receiving applications after the year’s allotment of funds for this purpose has been spent. We will communicate via our website once there are no longer funds available for these Shively Rapid Cycle grants.

Application Process

After reviewing our website and becoming familiar with our areas of interest, your next step in the application process is to complete the application linked to from this page. All completed applications must be submitted by email to Jalisa Whitley, Program Officer, Beckner Advancement Fund at Please note that the Beckner Advancement Committee may request additional documentation and information, phone conversations, or in-person meetings during the application review process.

Proposal Requirements

1. Applicants must be members of an All Souls Unitarian social justice ministry or a charitable organization with federal non-profit agency tax status and have a current copy of their IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter. During the application process, you will be asked to provide proof of your non-profits 501(c)(3) status – applications without this information will not be considered. A charitable organization may apply through a fiscal sponsor if not currently registered as a 501(c)(3), however, documentation of the fiscal sponsor’s non-profit status is required.

2. Grants will fund projects related to the Beckner Advancement Fund’s social justice priority areas including:

  • Safe, affordable housing
  • Environmental justice
  • Peace and reconciliation
  • Immigration
  • Anti-oppression efforts, including racial and ethnic justice

3. All applicants must submit a project timeline and budget that outlines how the Shively Rapid Cycle Grant funds will be used as an attachment to the proposal submission. Applications without a budget will not be considered.

4. Requests may be for up to $1,000 and support actions, conferences, projects and initiatives up to one year in duration. Grant awards are non-renewable and may be requested only through submission of a proposal that will be subject to full review by the Beckner Advancement Fund Committee.

5. Generally, the Beckner Advancement Fund does NOT fund the following categories:

  • For-profit organizations
  • Individuals
  • Capital campaigns
  • Endowments

Internal Grants

Internal grants typically range from $500 to $5,000.


The Beckner Advancement Fund Committee awards internal grants to All Souls Church groups and committees for projects that have not already happened before the application is submitted and that:

  • support the social justice focus of All Souls Church;
  • educate the congregation;
  • help draw people of all ages and backgrounds to All Souls Church; and/or
  • build the advocacy and activism skills of our congregation.

How to Apply

Complete the Internal Grantee Application, including the cover page, narrative, and budget. Then submit all documents via email to the Committee ( We accept electronic signatures. Whenever possible, please combine all documents to submit as a single file. Please note that the Committee will not review documents that are submitted late or in hard copy.


The Beckner Advancement Fund Committee considers applications for internal grants in two cycles. The current internal grant application cycle is now closed. A new timeline will be finalized in December.

Given the current climate, the Beckner Advancement Fund Committee recognizes that social justice needs change frequently. In addition to these planned grant cycles, the Committee has set aside some funds for rapid response requests, keeping in mind that the Committee meets monthly.

All grantees must report back to the Committee at the conclusion of the grant period.

External Grants

Most external grants provide up to $10,000 to be spent on projects within one year. The Committee will only fund projects that have not already happened before the application is submitted. In many cases, partnerships between grant organizations and All Souls church groups can strengthen community relationships and increase the impact of funded projects. The Committee encourages such partnerships whenever they are possible and mutually desirable.


All applicant organizations must:

  • have 501(c)3 nonprofit status (or a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor); and
  • be located in DC.

The Fund prioritizes proposals for organizations and projects that:

  • demonstrate significant ties to Ward 1 neighborhoods and residents (where the church is located);
  • are facilitated by small, grassroots organizations;
  • address root causes of social service needs (rather than providing direct services);
  • actively engage the community they serve in developing program strategies;
  • effectively measure their success (or are building systems to do so);
  • seek support for new initiatives or for project components that build capacity of existing programs;
  • demonstrate willingness to educate and include All Souls members in their work for social change; and
  • have existing relationships with All Souls Church or its members.

The Fund will not consider requests to fund individuals, sectarian programs that promote religious doctrine, or organizations that ask for more than 10% for general operating support.

How to Apply

The Fund has designed a streamlined process to accommodate the many requests it receives for its limited resources. Prospective grantees submit a short pre-application form in lieu of a traditional Letter of Inquiry (LOI). After reviewing the pre-applications, the Committee invites full proposals from selected organizations. Note that during proposal review, the Committee may schedule informal interviews or ask for additional information as needed.

Prospective grantees must submit all documents to Jalisa Whitley, Program Officer of the Beckner Advancement Fund by email ( We accept electronic signatures. Whenever possible, please combine all documents to submit as a single file. Please note that the Committee will not review documents that are submitted late or in hard copy.


The current external grant application cycle is now closed. A new timeline will be finalized in December.

For each grant request approved, the applicant will receive an award letter stating the amount of the grant, the period for which the funds are available, and any special conditions under which the award is made. All grantees must report back to the Committee at the end of the grant period.

2018-19 Grantees

Internal Grants

Beloved Conversations. A new and key component to All Souls aspiration to be a counter-oppressive, anti-racist, multi-cultural congregation. Beloved Conversations will train All Souls staff, team-leaders, and congregants in an eight-week curriculum that builds beloved community across racial lines, deepens spiritual grounding, knowledge and analysis for countering white supremacy, fosters dialogue and shared commitment among participants, engages people in personal growth and in studying and reflecting on their own congregation’s history with respect to race relations.

Building a DC-Area Faith-based Network for Reproductive Justice. The Reproductive Justice Initiative will host two events that bring national and local leaders in reproductive justice to ASC, with the intention of building a faith-based network of activists for reproductive justice both within and beyond ASC.

Jubilee Kids. Traditionally, Jubilee trainings have educated adults on the definition, history, and effects of racism, helped to build members’ anti-racist identities, and equipped members to dismantle racism and other systems of oppression in All Souls, the UUA, and the community outside our doors. Jubilee Kids will extend this training to children, providing an anti-racist perspective from which to learn about the world and the opportunity to develop anti-racist identities during their formative years. Jubilee Kids is an investment in our children that honors the roles that children and youth have played in the Civil Rights Movement and other anti-oppression work, historically and currently. Offering Jubilee Kids will enable parents to participate in the concurrent adult Jubilee training without the challenge or expense of child care and encourage family commitment to anti-racist work.

Immigrant and Refugee Assistance Fund. Through the Refugee Support Initiative (“RSI”), working closely with the Sanctuary Movement Support Committee and church staff, the Immigrant and Refugee Assistance Fund allows the congregation to provide critical support, develop meaningful relationships, and learn from working with a small number of immigrants in need.

​​External Grants​

Black Lives Matter DC. Black Lives Matter (BLM) DC’s #KeepDC4Me campaign is committed to finding non-police solutions to intra-community violence and ending police brutality by confronting and dismantling institutions and systems of state-sanctioned violence and oppression that displace and criminalize Black people through political education, community power, and direct action in Southeast DC. Beckner funding will support BLM DC’s NEAR ACT Ambassador trainings which provide residents of each Ward with the knowledge and skills necessary to mobilize their local neighborhoods and pressure elected officials to fully fund and implement the NEAR Act.​

ONE DC. Organizing Neighborhood Equity DC (ONE DC) organizes low-to-moderate-income families of color to exercise their political strength to create and preserve racial and economic equity in the District of Columbia. Beckner funding will support the Black Workers Centers’ Software Apprenticeshift Program which pairs low-income black and Latinx residents with experienced tech professionals in a year-long coding training and apprenticeship program.

Fair Budget Coalition. The Fair Budget Coalition (FBC) brings together advocacy organizations, service providers, and community members to advocate for budget and public policy initiatives that seek to address systemic social, racial, and economic inequality in the District of Columbia. Beckner funding will support FBC’s Constituent Leadership Program which gives constituents a greater understanding of the budget process, hones their leadership skills, and provides decision-making authority within FBC’s structure to the people most impacted by policy change.

Kindred. Kindred cultivates relationships between parents of diverse economic and racial backgrounds in gentrifying elementary schools and builds parent capacity to take action within their school to address the root causes of the opportunity gap. Beckner funding will support a three-year parent dialogue-to-action program at Bancroft Elementary which will build a diverse coalition of parent activists who have the mindsets, tools, and relationships necessary to advance equity and meaningfully change outcomes in their school so that all students thrive.

Justice for Muslim’s Collective. Justice for Muslim’s Collective combats institutional and structural Islamophobia in the DC metro area through grassroots organizing focused on creating mechanisms of community defense for Muslims, building community resilience through healing and wellness programs, leadership development and training focused on Muslim women, and alliance/coalition-building across movements. General operating funds from Beckner will support all four of Justice for Muslim’s Collective’s programming areas (Community Defense, Muslim Healing and Wellness Program, Alliance/Coalition-Building, and the Muslim Women’s Organizing Institute) and build out the infrastructure of the organization.


If you have further questions, you may contact Jalisa Whitley, Program Officer of the Beckner Advancement Fund (; 240-391-8027).