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Defending the Dream Fund

…Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.

…O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

–Excerpts from Let America Be America Again, Langston Hughes (1936)

Langston Hughes’ classic poem, Let America Be America Again, could be considered a prescient reflection of our current times, but it is also a reminder of the long tumultuous struggle to achieve the idyllic dream of America. This hopeful dream and prospect of a fair, just, inclusive and equitable America has been usurped by a frightening and cynical nightmare with the election of the 45th President of the United States.  We are in for the fight of our lives to defend the dreams of a more just and equitable America that is in severe jeopardy in our present social and political reality.

In response to these challenging times, the Hill-Snowdon FoundationGeneral Service FoundationJesse Smith Noyes Foundation, and the Whitman Institute and our other partners are pleased to announce the 2nd round of the Defending the Dream Fund. The Defending the Dream Fund supports organizing to address deleterious policies and institutional practices that are either the direct result of or that have been emboldened, aided and abetted by the policies and positions of the new federal administration.

In particular, the Fund seeks to support:

  • Community Organizing & Power Building
  • Multiple Issues, Immediate, Mid and Long-term & Intersectional Work
  • State and Local level organizing

Priority will be given to grassroots community based organizations with budgets under $1 million; as well as work that is focused on under-resourced regions of the country (e.g. the South, MidWest, etc.).

Given the recent heartless decision by the Trump Administration to rescind the DACA program, we should clarify that the Defending the Dream Fund is not specifically focused on the DACA program or DREAMers, as the name might imply. We stand in solidarity with the DREAMers and organizing around DACA is definitely one of the issues that the Defending the Dream Fund would support.  However, from its inception, the Defending the Dream Fund sought to cast a wide net to surface a broad cross-section of threats to our shared dream of a fair, just, equitable and generous country that are emboldened in the Trump era.   In the second round of the Defending the Dream Fund we are still casting a broad net, and we are particularly interested in learning about organizing around reproductive and gender justice, criminal justice, racial justice, native rights and sovereignty, worker rights, environmental justice, civic engagement and voting rights, housing justice, the Census and redistricting, as well as organizing around DACA.

Learn more about how to apply.

Learn more about the groups selected in our first round of grants.