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Defending the Dream | First Round of Grants

August 7 – Today the Defending the Dream Fund (DDF) announced its first round of 19 grants to organizations advancing justice.  The total investment of $193,000 seeks to resource the new and urgent work that grassroots organizations are engaging in as vulnerable communities throughout the country face a rollback of civil rights and quality of life and a climate of intensifying hate and discrimination.

The Defending the Dream Fund partnership, made up of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, General Service Foundation and other partners, came together this spring to support grassroots organizing in under-resourced areas to protect targeted communities, resist the draconian and destructive policies of the Trump era and work towards a hopeful dream of a just, equitable and caring society.

The first request for proposals drew 275 applications and provided a window into the dynamic, multi-constituency and multi-issue organizing happening in the South and other regions that receive less philanthropic support overall.  The DDF grantees are building power in their communities as they defend the rights of immigrants, secure the rights of workers, challenge structural racism and Islamophobia, fight to maintain access to healthcare, protect the rights of LGBTQ people, pushback against increased militarization and build infrastructure for civic engagement (see grants list).  While each of the 19 DDF grantees work at the local level, their efforts taken as a whole represent the building of a more inclusive and representative democracy.  In meeting the challenges of this moment, these organizations are building the America that Langston Hughes imagined in his poem Let America Be America Again (1936) – “…a land where Liberty is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, but opportunity is real, life is free, equality is the air we breathe.”

The partnership between the DDF is an aligned giving effort that came about organically, and has been a model for how funders can collaborate and move agilely to meet needs in the field.  We are working with our partners to develop a platform to share proposals from DDF applicants so that we can expose other interested funders to the broad array of fascinating work that is occurring across the country. It is our hope to also utilize this platform for the Defending the Dream Fund’s second round. We will release the RFP for the second round of the Defending the Dream Fund on September 5th, 2017. We invite other funders and donors to join us for our second round to better align our grantmaking in support of grassroots efforts to make the dream of a just, equitable, caring and generous America a reality for everyone.

For more information about the Defending the Dream Fund and to inquire about joining the Defending the Dream Fund, please email info@hillsnowdon.org.