“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This is a quote that the Andrus Family Fund team repeats and tries to embody often. We are privileged to travel the country and meet leaders, organizations and young people that teach and remind us every day the causes that we must not overlook.
As you may remember over the past two years the Andrus Family Fund has undergone a strategic assessment which led us to a new vision and mission. For the first time in over a decade we had an open call for unsolicited letters of inquiry this past February. Our team has had a very busy few months. We received an overwhelming response of amazing and diverse work from across the country—including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Letters of inquiry from big and small organizations that spanned large states, small counties, dense cities and sparsely populated rural areas came through our portal. It made our decisions hard ones, which we approached with care and fairness.
This first round of grants was the final step in solidifying our new approach. We are looking for partners that are bold and innovative, partners that share our organizational values and are willing to question the status-quo. And most importantly, we are looking for partners that believe that those most impacted by unjust histories and policies should be at the center of the work and of the solutions.
So, we are excited to partner with organizations as diverse as the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California to help them advocate for laws that reduce solitary confinement for young people and to spread some of the great strides that California has made to other states and with the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights in New Orleans for their Fairness First Project which helps them leverage the success of their direct service work as a driver for systems level reform in one of the most incarcerated states in the country. We continue to learn from our new partnership with JustLeadershipUSA as they put the voices of those formerly incarcerated at the center of criminal justice reform. And locally here in New York City, we are partnering with innovative voices like Common Justice, a Vera Institute of Justice demonstration project which works in collaboration with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office in an effort to provide direct services centered around young people accused of felonies.
These are just a few of our new partners. Please visit our grantees page to see them all. As we continue to learn and grow as a grant maker we will be highlighting many of their voices right here on our blog. Please be sure to read, post, like and share. Through community and partnership can we realize the change we seek.