Collective Action for Safe Spaces ($10,000)
CASS uses intersectional community-based solutions to eliminate gendered harassment and assault in public spaces. It is led by a small, all-Black and entirely trans and nonbinary staff. Their strategies are multi-faceted, including arts activism, public political education events, and relational organizing among others. In the early pandemic era CASS launched its transformative justice hub to provide community-based support for resolving harm as an alternative to the criminal justice system.
Common Good City Farm ($5,000)
CGCF is a half-acre urban farm in the LeDroit Park neighborhood. With an emphasis on producing food for community members, CGCF demonstrates intensive, small-scale sustainable urban agriculture practices and is active in all parts of the food system. Beckner’s grant contributed to a strategic planning process that would guide CGCF to a shift in leadership, such that African-American and other community members of color would assume greater power in the organization.
Dreaming Out Loud ($10,000)
Dreaming Out Loud is a social enterprise that uses the food system as a catalyst for creating an integrated pipeline to jobs, economic opportunity and community wealth building for marginalized communities. They have converted a 2-acre parcel on the campus of a Ward 7 DC public school into an urban farm that is the platform for: developing new market opportunities for urban farmers; operating a workforce development training program in the food sector; and, increasing the availability of healthy food for families. At the onset of the pandemic, DOL also took on the fundamentals of meal preparation for vulnerable populations, distributing free produce, and expanding its reach to Ward 1 as a participant in the DC Mutual Aid Network.
Empower DC ($10,000)
Empower DC is a city-wide membership-based organization that uses community organizing, popular-education-style training, leadership development and member-led campaigns to influence pressing social issues impacting their constituency. In the early pandemic era, Empower continued with this work while also becoming a hub for vital resources such as food and personal protective equipment. After their important role in securing $50 million in the District’s budget for repairs at public housing developments they had plans to continue pressing for increased resources in the following year’s budget. Empower DC continues to advocate for policies that prevent displacement, prioritize affordable housing and promote community-led equitable development.
Fair Budget Coalition ($10,000)
FBC creates the space for advocacy groups, direct service organizations and members of the community to come together to advocate for budget and policy initiatives that address systemic social, racial, and economic inequality in the District. FBC’s policy recommendations come directly from impacted community members. Beckner’s grant supported FBC’s Constituent Leadership Program, which prepares community members to engage and lead both within FBC and the city’s larger advocacy community. Constituents participate with a cohort in training, direct actions and outreach.
Healthy Babies Project ($10,000)
HBP helps DC’s poorest families have healthy babies, raise strong families, and move into independent lives. The goal of HPB’s Staircase to Progress program is to equip teenage girls with skills that empower them to be effective advocates, for themselves and their children, with service providers, authority figures and partners. The initiative includes information and training sessions conducted by professional advocates and government representatives. Program participants then have the opportunity to develop an advocacy strategy on an issue of personal importance that they can execute to gain both results and confidence.
Justice for Muslims Collective ($5,000)
Led by Muslim women of color, Justice for Muslims Collective worked to combat institutional and structural Islamophobia in the Washington metro area. They worked to collectively defend the community against anti-Muslim policies and practices and to build the community’s resilience. In addition to their core strategies of community engagement, relationship-building, healing, civic education and advocacy, they participated in building alliances and coalitions across movements. (In 2022, JMC transitioned into two new organizations: Muslims for Just Futures and Muslim Counterpublics Lab)
Many Languages One Voice ($10,000)
MLOV is a resource for immigrants in the District who do not speak English as a first language. The organization helps immigrants attain tools and develop leadership skills that enable greater civic involvement on issues affecting their lives. In the early pandemic era, MLOV was an important hub of support and mutual aid for Black, Indigenous and People of Color workers – particularly those outside of the formal labor market – that included $1.4 million in publicly-funded stimulus payments. In the year ahead, MLOV planned to focus its advocacy on assuring a racially equitable and immigrant-inclusive COVID-19 recovery in the city.
ONE DC ($10,000)
ONE DC organizes low-to-moderate-income families of color to exercise their political strength for the creation and preservation of racial and economic equity in the District of Columbia. They focus on housing, income and wellness. In response to the economic crisis created by the pandemic in 2020, ONE DC focused much of its work on housing, particularly protecting renters at risk of eviction in the wake of lost jobs and income. ONE DC was a founding member of the DC Cancel Rent Coalition, and the stewards of the renovated Black Workers and Wellness Center in Southeast DC.
Platform of Hope ($10,000)
POH is a collaborative strategy to address and disrupt the poverty experienced by many families in Adams Morgan. The collaborating partners are leading area nonprofits (Capital Area Asset Builders, Jubilee Housing, Jubilee JumpStart, For Love of Children, Mary’s Center and Sitar Arts Center) that have developed a creative model to support cohorts of client families as they both create individual family success strategies and build a stronger social network of support among themselves. With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, POH worked to supply families with the technology they needed, and then continued the work virtually. By early 2021, POH was proceeding to adapt the original model to help families reclaim their baseline stability and then advance their longer-term goals.
Trabajadores Unidos de Washington DC ($10,000)
TUWDC seeks to educate and address the needs of immigrant, migrant, and low-income workers in Washington, DC. The organization advocates alongside workers to address issues such as wage theft, workplace discrimination, and workplace safety violations. In the first year of the pandemic, in addition to moving much of their usual work online, they served as a hub of support and mutual aid for immigrant workers already living on the margins. Looking forward, TUWDC planned to continue its leadership building initiative with a goal of creating the foundation for a DC Workers’ Center that would provide employment and training services for Black, Indigenous and People of Color workers – many without legal status — in a single facility.