This week in Funding News: September 12, 2019

Photo Credit: National Seed Community: Chicago, IL: Lawndale Christian Legal Center. Click here to learn more about this grantee.

Welcome to Issue #28 of Funding News — your bi-monthly connection to funding opportunities, tools, and grantmakers that meet your mission. These curated opportunities represent potential investments and partnerships for MBK Communities to support strategies and initiatives for boys and young men of color.

Grant opportunities this week include: TD Charitable Foundation; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Impact Fund.  The Foundation spotlight is Casey Family Programs and the tip of the week comes from Burnell Holland, Manager, Community Operations, MBK Alliance, on Elements of a Strong Grantee.  

New Funding Opportunities


  1. Impact Fund: Offers Support for Litigation to Advance Social Justice $$Deadline: October 8, 2019 Amount: $50,000 Category: Civil/Human Rights; Environment

    Geographic Funding Area: National

    Eligibility: The Impact Fund provides grants to nonprofit legal services firms, private attorneys, and/or small law firms working to advance social justice. 

    Description: To that end, the fund will award grants of up to $50,000 to legal services nonprofits, private attorneys, and/or small law firms seeking to advance justice in the areas of civil and human rights, environmental justice, and/or poverty law. Most grants range between $10,000 and $25,000 and are awarded for a particular case; occasionally, the fund will support a series of cases bound by a common strategy. Most grants are for class actions, but multi-plaintiff and environmental justice cases that aim to significantly affect a larger system are encouraged.  Impact Fund grants may be used for out-of-pocket litigation expenses such as expert fees and discovery costs but not for attorney’s fees, staff, or other overhead.

    Complete RFP



  2. TD Charitable Foundation: Seeks Solutions to Growing Rental Burden Crisis $$$$Deadline: October 25, 2019 Amount: $3.75 MillionCategory: Community Improvement/Development

    Geographic Funding Area: National

    Eligibility: Nonprofits with a 501(c)(3) or state local government entity with a history of developing, maintaining, and/or providing affordable housing for low-and moderate-income families or individuals.

    Description: The increasing shortage of affordable housing creates a multitude of economic issues, including the inability of households and individuals to establish financial stability and plan for the future. As housing costs consume a growing share of income, it forces decisions that make it virtually impossible to build credit and pay off student debt.  To help address those issues, the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, is seeking solutions to expanding the stock of affordable rental units and plans to award grants totaling $3.75 million to thirty local housing nonprofit organizations to refurbish existing housing stock and create safe, healthy, and affordable rental units for families, individuals, the elderly, new Americans, veterans, the disabled, women, and youth.

    Complete RFP



  3. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Invites Applications for 2020 Culture of Health Prize $$Deadline: November 4, 2019 Amount: $25,000 ++Category: Health

    Geographic Funding Area: National

    Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for a prize, a community must be a geographically-defined jurisdiction in the United States that falls into one of the following categories: county, parish, borough, city, town, village, or other municipality with a publicly elected governing body; federally recognized tribe or a state-designated Indian reservation; Native Hawaiian organization serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii; or a region defined as geographically contiguous municipalities, counties, and/or reservations. Neighborhoods and states are not eligible to apply.

    Description: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is inviting applications for its 2020 Culture of Health Prize. The program is designed to elevate the compelling stories of community members who are working to transform neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and more — so that the opportunity for better health flourishes for all.  The prize celebrates what communities have done as well as how they have done it. Application involves a three-phase process. Phase I applications are due November 4, 2019. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit Phase II applications by January 16, 2020. Site visits will be conducted in Phase III for semi-finalist communities in April – May 2020.  RWJF will be hosting a Culture of Health Prize Phase I informational webinar on September 24, 2019.

    Complete RFP



Spotlight: Casey Family Programs

Young men at NACA Inspired Schools

National Impact Community: Albuquerque, NM, NACA Inspired Schools Network. Click here to learn more about this grantee.

An interview with Antoinette Malveaux, Managing Director 

What is your foundation’s current focus? How has that changed throughout the year?

We are an operating foundation that is focused on keeping children safe, strengthening families, and supporting communities who work with vulnerable children and families.  Our mission centers around child welfare systems and foster care, but the overarching goal is supporting the creation of safe and healthy families. The Casey Family Programs began about 53 years ago— it was founded by Jim Casey, who is also the founder of UPS.  He founded Annie E Casey Foundation (a grant-making foundation, our foundation (an operating foundation), and the UPS Foundation. 

What should MBK communities know about your work in advancing equity for boys and young men of color (BYMOC)?

Our focus is on vulnerable children and our mission is to improve (and ultimately prevent the need for) foster care. Unfortunately, when you look at the foster care system, the majority of the children in the foster care system are brown and black.   So when you focus on both improving or preventing children entering foster care, you are simultaneously focused on systems, communities, and families that are primarily brown and black. We ground our work in cultural competence, and we consider, not only the children in the foster care system, but the children and families who are touched by interactions with it.

We have focused on BYMOC for over 10 years, with emphasis through some specific initiatives. One is a national initiative, Cities United, which has been focused on reducing violence-related deaths of African American males since 2011. Cities United is designed to strengthen the capacity of mayors, strengthen their teams and provide/affirm/reinforce healthier communities, where African American men can be safe, helpful, and hopeful. 

Another one of our initiatives is around school discipline and school climate, and is focused on African American males in Seattle and the Mississippi Delta. The Foundation works across systems with leaders in communities, recognizing the power dynamic that leaders have on equity. If you’re going to deal with structural racism, you need to deal with those who have structural power.   We work with leaders across the countrywe’re in all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and D.C.  We are in consultation with 1) child welfare leaders, 2) the judicial branch and judges making decisions about children and foster care, and 3) the legislative branch to advocate for a better policy framework around funding and decision-making.

Do you have any upcoming opportunities for MBK Communities to pursue?  How do organizations get on your foundation’s radar? 

There are a couple of ways to get on our radar.  We are an operating foundation and so we show up differently than through grant-giving. 

  1. For the mayors and elected officials in MBK Communities, I encourage you to avail yourself of the resources that Cities United has to offer.  They 1) are helping cities with their public safety plans, 2) have a Roadmap Academy where they spend more intensive time with a cohort of cities, 3) can help with aspects of community engagement, and 4) have a youth leadership fellowship, where youth are connected to their cities and cultivate leadership skills.  So those who are thinking of systematic and planned approach to public safety, including how to you help your communities thrive, look into Cities United. 
  2. If you’re interested in connecting with systems leaders for collaboration around youth in foster care, we can connect you with leaders that we work with around the country.  We believe the best approach is a collaborative one. No one person or organization will solve a problem, and we don’t collaborate across systems enough. We can advise on working with governments, as well as on direct service operations that deal with children and families touched by foster care. 

Send us an email through our website, and we’ll make sure to get you connected with someone.

What concerns and excites you most about the future of philanthropy in the BYMOC field? 

First, I’m both excited and concerned that people are taking up the mantle of racial equity. Great progress has been made in the dialogue of this country, but many entities are taking up the language and not the mantle itself.   New buzzwords can be adopted very easy and quickly, but sometimes when you peel back the onion, there’s not much substance there. It’s important to really engage and learn. Embark on the journey of working on yourself. We all need it because we all have our biases and prejudices, irrespective of our race. So take a journey of asking yourself: What must I do to work on myself? And what must I do with and for others?

Second, I’m also excited and concerned about the focus on male leadership and particular populations of male leadership.  However, there are populations that we haven’t gotten to yet— those who may feel left out of this conversation. You cannot adopt a single strategy for all people of color. Culture and ethnic identity go with people. History goes with people, and the history of race can’t just be put that in the box “of color.”   My color, my journey, and my culture as an African American woman is different than that of a Latina, Asian American Pacific Islander, or Native American woman.

As we began tackling the issues, there have been criticisms that our efforts are mostly around Black and Latino boys and young men. What about Native and AAPI?  Even within AAPI, people are so diverse and they get brushed with broad strokes of saying “their data is okay, their outcomes are okay,” but when you break it down further and look at those from Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Vietnam, that’s not necessarily the case.  It takes a lot of work to break down data in such a way, and in some cases, the data itself may not even be there. So it may requirement investment in getting the data in the first place.

So we are continuing to ask ourselves: how do we respect and honor the needs of the different cultures and ethnic groups? It’s important to avoid trying to adopt universal approaches to communities who have different needs.

Burnell Holland

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance hosts its first national convening, MBK Rising! in Oakland, CA on February 19, 2019. Please credit “The Obama Foundation” when posting. The photographs may not be manipulated in any way, and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by the Foundation, President Obama, or Mrs. Obama without the Foundation’s prior written consent.

Tip of the Week -Tip of the Week— A Conversation about the Elements of a Strong Grantee with Burnell Holland, Manager of Community Operations, MBK Alliance

What are the lessons you have learned from managing MBK grantees— things that you want to tell Executive Directors and organizations from a funder perspective.

  1. First, I think growth matters more than anything.  Some people think, “If I’m not serving thousands of young people, I’m not competitive for this grant or that grant.”  But more often than not, a funder is looking for a narrative and a journey of growth that makes sense.  If you are only serving 50 young people but you started with five, and all 50 of those young people are enthusiastic about the experience they’ve had in your program and the impact that your work has had on their lives, that is far more valuable to a funder than anything.

  2. Your brand matters, both as a leader and as an organization. When we’re making a decision, we aren’t just looking at data.  The quantitative results and how you measure impact as an organization are important, but “fit” is equally essential.  To be clear, I don’t want people to confuse “brand” with fancy video vignettes and social media campaigns— all of that is window dressing.  When we talk about “brand,” we mean: what are the immediate thoughts that come to mind for your stakeholders, your program participants, and the folks in your community when your name is mentioned?  That is the brand. That is what will help a funder determine whether or not an organization is right for investment.

Finally, we also look for a certain level of self-awareness and mission clarity.  Self awareness being: Do you know your position in the marketplace? What you do well? What are your areas of growth? Are you being honest about those things?  Meanwhile, mission clarity is being crystal clear on your goal.  Mission creep is a real thing, and it presents a constant battle for people in the non-profit space, particularly youth development. Rightfully so, there is a lot of emphasis on wrap-around services.  However, oftentimes organizations that attempt to deliver these services aren’t always well-positioned to do so. If folks are clear about what your ultimate goal is and how your particular strengths will help manifest that goal, ultimately you’ll have shades of success. 


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