Grantees Dream Defenders speak to a crowd outside of a passenger van.

Racial Equity Fund’s new awards invest in social justice change and healing trauma

Photo: Grant partners Dream Defenders explain their Healing & Justice program.

The desire and right to live with a secure sense of dignity, trust, safety, and hope for ourselves, those we love, and our communities is universal. The lived experience, however, remains racially disparate. 

To help empower communities toward needed systems change, The Miami Foundation’s Racial Equity Fund is investing $250,000 to support grassroots solutions creating just alternatives. We are honored to announce a new round of awards to strengthen five community-rooted programs led by people of color. All of these groups are working to disrupt existing dynamics working against their community’s safety, and to create healing with and within communities. 

We approached these new investments with deep intention. We looked for community work and leaders digging beneath eruptions of community violence, acknowledging the context and consequences of systemic racial inequity and injustice, and engaging to shape pathways for youth and young adults’ true potential.

As with our prior Racial Equity Fund rounds of investing, we took a strategic approach to researching systemic issues and finding opportunities to advance powerful action. We engaged in rich and deep consultations and researched locally and nationally for practices that are reframing the issues and engaging those most caught in harm’s way, disrupting, and altering their course, and most of all, creating healing.

This helped us understand and put our investments into a context of historic and persisting racial inequity and injustice that devalue communities of color, thwart and erode aspirations and opportunity. People of color disparately encounter racial bias by systems that are supposed to protect and serve them, but that instead, breach their trust. They find themselves living in communities greatly under-resourced with access and opportunities they need and deserve – yet are provided to other communities.

We looked carefully and broadly at local programs generally serving “at-risk youth.” So many groups are heroically providing services to repair the damage done by systems and cast a wide net. We found fewer of them – due to restrictive resources – can build out solutions they know disrupt and heal the dynamics impacting those most in harm’s way. 

For these new investments, we looked for solutions rooted in experience and strategies that help heal trauma impacting people of color, transform the trajectory of opportunity and possibilities for aspirations, restore self-value – and hope. We prioritized groups that are led by – and focused on – people of color, their experience, and insights, and that are rooted in their communities.

These new awards build on the previous $1 million we invested in strengthening Greater Miami’s eco-system of Black-led groups focused on changing systems that hold racial injustice and inequity in place. 

We encourage you to revisit our work through the Racial Equity Video Anthology, which elevates groups doing deep community power-building and organizing, mobilization, activism, and creating just alternatives.  They are driving long-term change as they tackle systemic issues such as policing of people of color, justice and incarceration practices, access to an affordable place to live and basic healthy food, economic inequity, and treatment and rights of groups systemically marginalized.

If you want to learn more about our latest round of grants, the organizations we are supporting, their work, their hopes, their successes, and their challenges, please visit our webpage here

Charisse Grant is the Senior Vice-President and Strategy Advisor of The Miami Foundation

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