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Announcing the 2020 Collaborative Grantmaking RFP results

$1 Million in awards will go toward community alternatives to incarceration and policing.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights announced the recipients of our Collaborative Grantmaking process and Community Alternatives to Incarceration and Policing RFP.

The RFP*, which closed October 19, 2020, called on community groups and coalitions to develop alternatives to and address the harms created by incarceration, policing, and other parts of the criminal legal system. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights will award $1 million, over a two-year period,.

Awards will support organizations led by and for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) who are impacted by the carceral state. Grantees will work to create a community-owned and self-sustaining collective network that builds capacity for community members to create and define safety for themselves, explores alternatives to incarceration and policing, and/or proposes transformative approaches to community crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding recommendations were made through a Collaborative Grantmaking (CGM) method – an adapted version of the Social Justice Fund’s primary model of grantmaking – that allows for a democratic, community-led process to make funding decisions. The goal of this grantmaking strategy is to honor community wisdom and ideas in developing solutions to structural issues.

Like our Equitable Funding Advisor, John Page, says: “As public servants, it is our responsibility to build accountability and trust, and to examine how traditional funding processes often leave communities most impacted by funding decisions out of the equation.This collaborative grantmaking process allowed us to shift decision-making power to people with direct experience and expertise, while fostering an accountable and transformational relationship with community. That makes it about more than disbursing the $1 million.”

Participants included a diverse group of anti-racist organizers who identify as BIPOC, some of whom also work for non-profit organizations or local government agencies addressing the harms caused by the criminal legal system. The participant group convened over an eight-month period to build a shared analysis, develop the request for proposals (RFP), screen and rate proposals, and make funding recommendations, including who to award, funding amounts, and contract duration.

SOCR and CGM participants received ten eligible applications from community organizations and coalitions. The participant group selected two proposals to fund, awarding each group $500,000 over a two-year period. Contracts are expected to begin January 2021.

Awardees include:

  • Collective Power and Capacity Building: a coalition of organizations including CHOOSE180, Collective Justice, Creative Justice, and Community Passageways. These organizations have come together to collectively reimagine, design, and implement community responses to harm. All four organizations, founded within the last decade, are led by people who have survived oppressive systems and who have a vision for community-led, -centered, and -driven solutions to heal communities and prevent harm. This funding will permit all four organizations to increase capacity and staffing to build on their collective work, including Restorative Community Pathways (RCP), which is a community system of care that addresses the core needs of QT/BIPOC youth and families while dismantling/divesting from the current punitive and racially disparate criminal punishment system.

It was an intentional, collaborative effort that created the systems of injustice which have overly policed, incarcerated, brutalized and disenfranchised our community’s Black, Indigenous, people of color. It will require the same level of collaboration but led by those who have been negatively impacted by these systems, to dismantle, envision, and create an alternative that honors our shared path on this journey towards justice.”

– Sean Goode of the Collective Power and Capacity Building Coalition

  • Brothers United in Leadership Development (BUILD) is a grassroots organization with the vision that Black men are empowered leaders and mentors who make positive change in our community by instilling pride, hope, and perseverance in Black men. Over the past seven years, BUILD has developed a strong core group of Black male leaders who are deeply connected to their community and focus on grassroots organizing. They have also built community partnerships, provided 70 youth development trainings, hosted 25 community events, and engaged 100+ volunteers. This funding will go toward the creation of healing spaces for impacted communities, and to fund participants and facilitators.

BUILD is humbled and grateful to serve our community with the support of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR). Members of our core leadership team for this project will be Andre Franklin, Aaron Counts, Kendrick Glover, and Reco Bembry representing BUILD and each of our own broader networks and partnerships. BUILD represents a plethora of Black-IPOC leaders in the Greater Seattle Area. We have each personally been involved and or have family members and close friends impacted by the criminal justice system and have been able to rise above the negative impacts of the institutional injustices built into the suppressive systems.  We applaud the efforts of the SOCR to continue its work on Race and Social Justice. 

We are founders of businesses, nonprofits, and institutions that alleviate the harm inflicted by the criminal-legal system and other oppressive anti-black institutions. We have personally benefited from each other’s programs, activities, and events, moreover, the relationships, trust, and accountability that we have built with each other over the decades and have tirelessly served the community to spark positive change. We are expert programmers, researchers that have provided oversight and management of program events, activities, and partnerships in the greater Seattle area. 

It is with gratitude and humility that we have the honor to serve our community to raise voices, identifying choices, and recommendations to support a more inclusive, supportive Seattle, leading to the reduction of harm done as a result of the impacts of the carceral state.”

– BUILD Members

These awardees demonstrated a deep commitment and connection to communities most impacted by the criminal legal system and other parts of the carceral state, in particular Black and Indigenous communities who are disproportionately harmed by these systems. We are excited to support their collective efforts to build and sustain community-based systems of care and safety that move us further away from incarceration and policing, and closer to our vision of a city of liberated people where communities historically impacted by racism, oppression, and colonization hold power and thrive.

*This funding is the result of community organizing by groups like Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) and Budget for Justice (BFJ), for investments in alternatives to incarceration.

In 2015, community based organizations and coalitions, including Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR), EPIC, No New Youth Jail Campaign (NNYJ), The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), and European Dissent, engaged in campaigns that supported a vision of a City free of  incarceration. In 2018, advocates with Budget for Justice (BFJ) called on the City to realign its criminal legal system funding priorities. As a result of this and other organizing efforts, $1.08 million was added to SOCR’s 2020 budget to fund community-based organizations in Seattle supporting alternatives to or addressing harm created by the criminal legal system.