The Edward W. Hazen Foundation in New York City has announced that it plans to spend down its assets over the next five years in support of education and youth organizing, with a focus on racial justice.
Established in 1925, the foundation was an early supporter of the emerging field of youth organizing and in the 1990s and early 2000s began to provide support for groups that were adopting the tools of organizing and applying them to education and other issues on which young people were taking a leadership role. In 2009, the foundation articulated a shift in its mission to focus more explicitly on racial justice and created a four-year funding initiative to help build the capacity of grantees. With the United States in the midst of "a 'movement moment' in which...issues central to structural racism — discriminatory policing, mass incarceration, punitive school discipline, immigrant detention and deportation, [and the] privatization of education and other public systems — have been brought into the national consciousness," the foundation says in its announcement, "Hazen believes that our fundamental support of organizing for racial justice is needed now, perhaps more than ever."
To that end, the foundation plans to support the development of a new generation of young leaders with the skills and capacity to transform their communities and control the conditions of their lives; support grassroots organizations and help them effect change now, sustain their work over time, and continue to innovate, grow, and build power into the future; and assist in the development of a more robust ecosystem of formal and informal organizations that seek to expand networks focused on advancing racial justice. While the foundation will focus on grassroots youth organizing across a range of issues, it will continue its longstanding support for organizing by students, parents, and community-based groups.
Over the next few years, the majority of the foundation's grantmaking will take the form of multiyear, general operating support, with the rest supporting collaborative efforts by grantees to "to build new muscles, test out strategies and tactics, pursue campaigns that have the potential to be transformational, and consider questions of infrastructure." The foundation also will support field-building efforts, encourage other funders to bring new resources to the field, and work to better align its own practices with its values and goals. Later this year, the foundation will select its first set of core grantees and work with them to identify further organizational and field needs and develop specific indicators for assessing progress.
"Across the country, young people of color, their families, and communities are rising up to challenge racist, homophobic, and xenophobic sentiment and challenge discriminatory policing, mass incarceration, punitive school discipline, immigrant detention and deportation, [and] privatization of education and other public systems," the foundation states on its website. "We have determined that now is the time to put resources into the hands of the communities that must be in the forefront of the struggle."