As many in our region cautiously welcome back the simple things we missed before social distancing – hugging family we haven’t seen in months or walking mask-free in the park with friends – the joys of returning to pre-pandemic life are not equally felt. COVID-19 cases and deaths in our region are on the decline, but as public health officials warn of a new variant, one thing is certain: we cannot take our vigilant eyes off an equitable recovery. Given the many ways the pandemic disproportionately and devastatingly harmed and continues to harm Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities, recovery must center their needs and demands to create a post-pandemic region where all can thrive.
To bring about a just and equitable COVID-19 recovery, the focus of Meyer’s grantmaking in 2021, the Foundation awarded $3,015,000 to 26 organizations in May 2021.
In keeping with our commitment to build the power of people and communities most directly affected by racial injustice, we made some of our largest grants to community organizing and base-building groups, including Tenants and Workers United, New Virginia Majority Education Fund, Many Languages One Voice, and Justice for Muslims Collective. These organizations are working to build the enduring power of Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, immigrant, and communities of color historically excluded from economic opportunity – communities disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 – by developing local leaders, identifying issues of concern to those communities, and creating campaigns to address those concerns and influence key decisionmakers.
Advocacy organizations are tackling issues made more pressing by the pandemic, including protecting renters as eviction moratoriums are lifted and housing courts re-open, litigating to ensure that students incarcerated in the DC jail have access to special education and services to which they are entitled, pushing local and state lawmakers to enact budgets and use federal American Rescue Plan funding in ways that will foster an equitable recovery, and elevating the voice and power of child care workers in Prince George’s County (the vast majority of whom are women of color) in debates about their wages, working conditions, and COVID-19 relief.
One organization imagines a post-COVID community with equitable access to digital technologies and is leading a pilot project to expand Wi-Fi and computer access in four DC wards. Another builds on its blog and communications platform to highlight issues of housing and transportation equity in the region and aims to change the narrative in the process.
Although these grantee partners are of different sizes, from different parts of the region, and use different tactics, they share one overarching North Star: changing the systems that failed so many of our communities during the pandemic. Their visions for a COVID-19 recovery that is rooted in equity and justice and that invests in the power and potential of BIPOC communities and leaders, nurtures hope that we can create a region where all can thrive.
|Advocates for Children and Youth||to support general operations||40,000||MD|
|Association of American Colleges and Universities||to support Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers over two years||150,000||MD|
|Central American Resource Center||to support general operations||75,000||DC|
|Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis||to support general operations over two years ($160,000) and work to decriminalize poverty ($75,000)||235,000||VA|
|Community Bridges||to support general operations||30,000||MD|
|Community Family Life Services||to support the equitable digital access project over three years||225,000||DC|
|DC Fiscal Policy Institute||to support general operations over two years||200,000||DC|
|Enterprise Community Partners||to support general operations in the Greater Washington region||90,000||Regional|
|First Generation College Bound||to support general operations over two years||150,000||MD|
|Greater Greater Washington Education Project||to support the Greater Greater Washington Education Project's work towards housing and transportation equity in the Greater Washington region over two years||150,000||Regional|
|Justice for Muslims Collective||to support general operations of the Justice for Muslims Collective in the Greater Washington region over three years||240,000||Regional|
|Legal Counsel for the Elderly||to support general operations||40,000||DC|
|Many Languages One Voice||to support general operations over three years||300,000||DC|
|Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations||to support general operations ($50,000) and Maryland Latinos Unidos ($30,000)||80,000||MD|
|Maryland Hunger Solutions||to support general operations of Maryland Hunger Solutions||25,000||MD|
|Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families||to support Charting Equity Efforts for Impact over two years||50,000||MD|
|Montgomery County Renters Alliance||to support general operations||75,000||MD|
|Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance||to support general operations||30,000||VA|
|Prince George's Child Resource Center||to support general operations over two years||100,000||MD|
|Prince George's Leadership Action Network||to support general operations||80,000||MD|
|School Justice Project||to support general operations||75,000||DC|
|Serve Your City||to support general operations||50,000||DC|
|Shaw Community Center||to support general operations||20,000||DC|
|Tenants and Workers United||to support general operations over three years||210,000||VA|
|Virginia New Majority Education Fund||to support general operations ($180,0000) over three years and civic engagement on redistricting ($40,000)||220,000||VA|
|Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs||to support general operations||75,000||DC|