Spring 2002 Groups Awarded JFJ Grants
Highlights of Key Issues and Actions
WOMEN IN POVERTY
Battered Women’s Resource Center, New York, NY, $10,000
Issue: Survivors of domestic violence need institutions that provide safety and justice for them and their children.
Action: Domestic violence survivors are working to make New York City’s child welfare, criminal justice and welfare systems more responsive to battered women’s needs.
Just Harvest, Pittsburgh, PA, $7,500
Issue: Thousands of families are reaching their five-year welfare limits and getting kicked off welfare.
Action: Public-assistance consumers won better support for people seeking work and more flexibility for families who are unable to find jobs; and are pushing to improve access to education for workfare participants.
Sisters Together Eliminating Poverty, Marlboro, MA, $7,500
Issue: Public assistance programs don’t do enough for needy families.
Action: Low-income women work to increase access to services including emergency housing, housing subsidies, Medicaid, and welfare benefits.
Young Women’s Project, Washington, DC, $7,500
Issue: Youth in foster care don’t have a say in how their group homes are run.
Action: Group home residents researched and wrote new regulations for group homes, which the D.C. government then passed into law.
ASSISTING NEW AMERICANS
Central American Resource Center, Washington, DC, $14,000*
Issue: Low-income immigrants are being priced out of their homes.
Action: Tenants associations organize to fight evictions, convert buildings to resident ownership, and pressure unresponsive landlords to make necessary repairs.
Garment Workers Center/Sweatshop Watch, Los Angeles, CA, $12,000
Issue: Too many workers in garment factories earn poverty wages.
Action: Garment workers organized a drop-in center to teach workers about their rights on the job and to help workers win back wages.
Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates, Los Angeles, CA, $10,000
Issue: Immigrants toil in Korean-owned supermarkets for minimum wage with no benefits, job security, or grievance procedure.
Action: Supermarket workers are working to organize an independent union and gain a collective voice at work.
Latin American Workers Project, Brooklyn, NY, $12,000
Issue: Latino day laborers are denied their wages and exposed to asbestos and other environmental toxins.
Action: This project, led by day laborers, taught workers clearing the World Trade Center site about their rights, screened them for toxin exposure, and is helping file workers’ compensation claims as needed.
Wind of the Spirit, Morristown, NJ, $8,575
Issue: As the immigrant population increases, communities must find ways to work together in harmony.
Action: This group of immigrants works to increase legal protections for low-wage Latino workers, while also organizing cultural events to bring immigrants and long-time residents together.
INVESTING IN YOUTH
Project HIP-HOP, Boston, MA, $7,500
Issue: As much as three-quarters of youth of color in Massachusetts may never receive high school diplomas if a state plan passes to make graduation contingent on standardized test scores.
Action: Low-income youth and youth of color are working in coalition with suburban youth and adult allies to develop alternatives to high-stakes tests.
Youth Force, Bronx, NY, $12,500
Issue: Even though youth crime is declining, youth detention facilities lock up an increasing number of minority youth.
Action: Youth of color are organizing to stop the proposed $64.6 million addition to youth jails, and to invest the money in alternatives to incarceration and prevention programs.
Action in Montgomery, Silver Spring, MD, $7,500
Issue: As housing costs rise rapidly, thousands of low-income residents are being left behind.
Action: With the help of one area synagogue and plans to recruit at least three more, AIM has doubled the county’s investment in an affordable housing trust fund.
Four Corners Action Coalition, Boston, MA, $10,000
Issue: African American neighborhoods in Boston have far worse access to public transportation than white neighborhoods.
Action: Neighborhood activists are working with MBTA (the public transportation authority) to open three new rail stations in underserved African American areas.
Interfaith Federation, Gary, IN, $10,000
Issue: The fragmented bus service in and around Gary, IN is unresponsive to the needs of low-income and minority communities.
Action: Interfaith community activists just won a five-year campaign to create a coordinated, accountable Regional Transportation Authority.
Los Angeles Metro Strategy, Los Angeles, CA, $7,500
Issue: Faith-based organizing groups could have a larger impact if they all joined forces.
Action: The new LA Metro Strategy is building an organization of 150 congregations, schools, community groups and unions to launch campaigns around low-wage workers, education and health care.
Maryland ACORN, Baltimore, MD, $7,500
Issue: Predatory lending companies trick low-income families out of their savings and their homes.
Action: ACORN activists have had significant influence on lending practices – prompting the shut-down of one unscrupulous lender, and negotiating reforms from others.
New Settlement Parent Action Committee, Bronx, NY, $7,5000
Issue: Badly-run schools fail to educate low-income kids.
Action: Parents organized to oust unresponsive principals, share their concerns with administrators, and secure additional school funding.
Parents Organized for Westside Renewal, Los Angeles, CA, $15,000*
Issue: Private apartment-complex owners don’t want low-income residents.
Action: Low-income tenants forced their building’s owners to preserve rent subsidies, saving many tenants from eviction.
Valley Interfaith, Mercedes, TX, $10,000
Issue: Over 150,000 immigrants live in abject poverty in colonias, marginal slums in southern Texas.
Action: Community activists won a quarter of a billion dollars in water and waste investments to the colonias, and passed 12 living wage bills in the area covering over 8,000 workers.
Chicago ACORN, Chicago, IL, $10,000
Issue: People who can’t pay their utility bills have their heat shut off in the dead of winter.
Action: Low-income people won $7 million in utility aid, reducing shut-offs from 4,821 in the winter of 1999-00 to 0 in 2001-02.
Chicago Jobs with Justice, Chicago, IL, $15,000*
Issue: Day laborers need labor unions’ support for their organizing campaigns.
Action: This community-labor coalition is strategizing with local unions, federations and immigrant groups about helping day laborers organize more effectively.
DC Jobs with Justice, Washington, DC, $7,500
Issue: Parking lot attendants want a union so they can have a voice on the job.
Action: Jobs with Justice involves community organizations in low-wage workers’ campaigns for union recognition and labor rights.
Fenway Community Development Corporation, Boston, MA, $7,500
Issue: Low-income people need affordable housing.
Action: Community-based development has produced or preserved over 1,200 units of affordable housing in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.
New York ACORN, Brooklyn, NY, $7,500
Issue: Too many workers under city contract don’t earn enough to live on.
Action: New York’s City Council is poised to pass a comprehensive living wage bill which will guarantee a minimum wage of $8.10, plus health insurance, to 65,000 low-wage workers.
South Carolina Fair Share, Columbia, SC, $10,000
Issue: Families who need food stamps can’t get them.
Action: This group’s members convinced the state to improve access to food stamps for low-income families.
Tennessee Industrial Renewal Network, Knoxville, TN, $7,500
Issue: City workers need jobs that pay a living wage.
Action: This group’s members convinced Nashville to raise the minimum wage for city employees, increasing pay for 3,000 workers.
ENGAGING JEWS IN SOCIAL JUSTICE
Jewish Community Action, Minneapolis, MN, $5,000
Issue: Synagogue social action committees must do more to address underlying causes of poverty.
Action: Thirty-five local synagogue activists attended a strategic training on the theme “Moving beyond social service to justice.”
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Chicago, IL, $2,500
Issue: Low-income communities need the Jewish community’s resources.
Action: Through this group, Jews provide research, consulting, and advocacy assistance to community-based efforts.
Jews United for Justice, Washington, DC, $5,000
Issue: Jewish institutions can educate the community about crucial issues of concern to low-income people.
Action: Twenty-two synagogues held “Labor on the Bima” services, which presented a Jewish perspective on low-wage workers justice.
Progressive Jewish Alliance, Los Angeles, CA $5,000
Issue: Jewish youth aren’t learning enough about historic links between Judaism and activism.
Action: Through the “No Sweat” campaign, Jewish high school and college students learn about relationships between the Jewish tradition and workers rights in general, and sweatshops in particular.
Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA, $1,000
Issue: Interfaith social justice efforts need more of a Jewish voice.
Action: This synagogue voted to join Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, and will work with other religious institutions to increase affordable housing.
* These groups received the 2nd year of a two-year grant made in Spring 2001.
© 2003 Jewish Fund for Justice
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