The JustPax Fund is pleased to announce the organizations and initiatives that received funding from our 2018 application round, who collectively received a total of more than $123,000 in funding for economic, environmental, and gender justice work.
Bridge of Hope National
$10,000 was awarded to Bridge of Hope, an organization that has been successfully ending family homelessness for 30 years through a comprehensive and holistic program. The program is based on the premise that sharing tangible support and social capital is integral to ending homelessness. “At Bridge of Hope, we believe that families who are hurting and homeless should not be alone. No family can make it alone in today’s world. We all need neighbors along the way. Behind every stable family is a tribe of messy, genuine people helping to carry the load, providing social capital and informal supports.” The goal of the Inspiring Change project is to share the data and results of utilizing social capital in a comprehensive homeless service plan to successfully end family homelessness.
Capital Christian Fellowship
$7,000 was awarded to fund the expansion of “Growing Roots”, a community-focused initiative by Capital Christian Fellowship creating space for reconciliation with the earth, with each other, and with God our creator. Capital Christian Fellowship provides space to explore God’s creation with a community garden for families and individuals as a form of financial and emotional therapy. “We address immediate challenges to those immigrating to the area who need mental health awareness education and support; we connect families to supportive services and financial stability through financial counseling and various family-oriented enrichment opportunities.” Growing Roots is an impactful initiative serving the community which includes persons with Special Needs, those who are recent immigrants, and those who are financially disenfranchised.
Church World Service Refugee Resettlement
$15,245 was awarded to CWS Refugee Resettlement Office’s efforts to tackle gender equity among local refugees and to provide community support for survivors of domestic abuse. CWS will facilitate a series of at least 12 language specific conversations, followed by meals, concordant with the refugee groups’ own cultural practices of addressing community concerns. Transportation and childcare will be provided. The conversations will address the communities’ concerns about the changing relationships between husbands and wives and parents and children in their families. Equal rights, power imbalances, definitions of abuse, US laws, community resources, and cycles of violence will be addressed, and trained facilitators from within the language and cultural community will work from within the communities to empower truth telling, practice listening, and develop individual, family, and community action plans.
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
$7,000 was awarded to accelerate the Community Rights movement. “Community Rights” includes democratic rights to local community self-government; environmental rights such as clean air, water, and soil; and economic rights including living wages and equal pay. Through their partnerships with communities CELDF works to transform the cultural and legal structures that perpetuate environmental destruction and economic exploitation. Nearly 200 communities in eleven states have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Rights laws. Historically, women have led most of these community groups, and CELDF believes this structural change must be driven in large part by those who have born the burden of our capitalist system. Storytelling is a powerful means to fast track the cultural and legal changes necessary. CELDF will create short video segments capturing the personal stories of these individuals and the broader need for systemic change.
Eastern Mennonite University
$6,648 was awarded to fund the Changing the Narrative (CTN) project, which will create a STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) program focused on sexual trauma. To date, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding’s STAR has provided a critical service offering justice and non-violence informed trauma education to thousands of participants in more than 60 nations. While these offerings have focused on the work of trauma writ large, the Changing the Narrative training will significantly expand and deepen this work through the creation of a STAR offering that focuses specifically on sexual trauma. In developing this training, CTN’s goal is to facilitate a norms cascade that precipitates just and restorative system-wide change and to extends the gender justice mandate of the Anabaptist ‘peace witness’ not just locally, but worldwide.
$11,000 was awarded to Engage Globally, in collaboration with the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL), to create an environmental club for fifth and sixth grade girls who live near the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. CAN members will explore environmental issues with a focus on empowering them to become peer educators. During the project’s first year, the girls will study plastic pollution and strategies for reducing plastic consumption. Participants will learn skills including public speaking, leadership, advocacy, photography, artistic expression, and teamwork. Additionally, CAN members will create stories, photographs, and art that will be used to teach visitors to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. “We seek to address gender inequality in environmental education, employment, and leadership. We have chosen to focus on girls, ages 10 to 12, because we believe this is the best age to effectively motivate the girls to continue to enjoy environmental learning. Participants will also expand future employment options as
they build skills and learn about conservation careers.”
Growing Hope Farm
$10,000 was awarded to Growing Hope Farm, a 5 acre volunteer-run organic farm that produces local fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs and donates the profits to projects overseas that enable food securities. Growing Hope Farm engages marginalized groups, with a focus on women in prison and youth, expanding their skills and opportunities. “With a criminal justice system disproportionately impacting people of colour and our indigenous community, there are few people in our community with the barriers women involved in the criminal justice system face. We provide the safe space for early skill development, development of social skills, confidence and a shared sense of purpose.”
Institute of Mennonite Studies
$7,000 was awarded to the Institute of Mennonite Studies to fund a worldwide consultation of Anabaptist women theologians and subsequent publication of their work on the topic of “Liberating the Politics of Jesus.” The purpose of this interdisciplinary gathering focused on gender justice is the renewal of Anabaptist theology through the perspective and wisdom of women. “For many years—indeed for most of the history of the Anabaptist tradition—the politics of peacemaking has been written by men. Women’s experiences and women’s voices have not traditionally been a part of Anabaptist peace theology. The politics of Jesus, as found in the Gospel accounts, has been read through male experiences and worldviews. This project seeks to liberate the politics of Jesus from an exclusively male-centered account by empowering Anabaptist women theologians to develop a constructive peace theology from their own, lived experiences and viewpoints. The overarching vision of this project is to liberate the radical politics of Jesus for a suffering world today.”
New Bridges Immigrant Resource Center
$10,000 was awarded to New Bridges Immigrant Resource Center to coordinate local efforts to build deeper relationships with law enforcement in the local community. Undocumented women living in the current heightened immigration context face threats of reports to law enforcement and immigration authorities from abusive partners, employers, and neighbors that are more serious and traumatizing. Local law enforcement has made a few efforts to communicate that they will not request documentation from individuals, unless they are arrested. However, those public relations efforts are not well coordinated and are not strategically reaching persons who are most anxious and unaware of their rights and available resources. The Community Building project will focus on building relationships through small gatherings and trainings as well as larger public meetings that bring together law enforcement officials and immigrant populations.
Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm
$5,000 was awarded to Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm, where “We agree that the challenges of economic injustice, environmental degradation, gender discrimination are woven together in an entrenched paradigm that infects every institution. Our chosen path forward is to build a movement of youth peacemakers using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the road map to lead youth to a deeper understanding of injustice and a toolkit for social action.” The mission of Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm is to provide a transformative summer camp experience that empowers a diverse community of youth to work toward peace, justice and human rights. Youth ages 11 to 15 spend a week together in rural south Georgia learning how to work toward peace and justice. “Each week of camp, we weave together education and activism about gender, environmental, and economic justice to inspire and train the peacemakers of the future.”
Reich College of Education, Appalachian State University
$4,830 was awarded to Reich College of Education to merge their commitment to sustainability with their progressive pedagogy in order to facilitate leadership development in sustainability for educators and administrators within their K-5 public lab school, the Academy at Middle Fork (AMF). The project will utilize a combination of leadership training and community dialogue, the main objective being the incorporation of sustainability into the curriculum and culture of AMF. The leadership training session will include advice on implementing school gardens, making connections with local farms, introducing healthy/organic/fresh food in school lunches, science field trip ideas with a sustainable focus, and more.
$8,000 was awarded to Switchback Cyclery to create meaningful and fulfilling employment opportunities for vulnerable people in Toronto. All employees all have significant barriers to employment, including chronic poverty, long-term unemployment, a history of homelessness, mental and physical health problems, and addictions. The Switchback Cyclery Employee Health and Growth Initiative provides technical skills training as well as experience working in a healthy community with caring mentors. ”We see the bicycle as a simple, sustainable technology that is an economically accessible form of transportation that promotes health…Our mission is expressed in a simple statement: Propelling Community.”
Theatre of the Beat
$7,000 was awarded to Theatre of the Beat to expand the theatre program at Grand Valley Institute for Women (GVI), a federal penitentiary. Offering weekly theatre programming for incarcerated women, Theatre of the Beat provides a safe and social space for women within the Secure Unit, or Max. Ward. These individuals are deemed “high risk” and have little opportunity for socialization. The project creates space for incarcerated women to process feelings and emotions through the creative outlet of theatre. Participants are provided opportunities for critical thinking, socialization and collaboration as they work together to devise original theatre productions that explore the themes and topics that affect their lives. The program also works to inspire discovery regarding creative solutions for the complex societal challenges of offender reintegration, recidivism, and the making of safer, healthier communities inside and outside of the prison.
Women’s Ordination Conference
$15,000 was awarded to the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) for a new, five-year, collaborative project called “Listening to Women,” which offers safe spaces for women to share their lived experiences, both the joys and the challenges, within the Roman Catholic Church. The project seeks to reach one-quarter of U.S. Catholic parishes in the next five years. Additionally, funding will provide Spanish-language resources for the Listening to Women project in order to reach the sizable Hispanic Catholic population in the U.S. “Currently one-third of the Catholic population in the U.S. identifies as Hispanic, so we recognize that any effort to listen to women in the Catholic Church is incomplete without the input of Latinx/Hispanic women. WOC believes that this aligns with JustPax’s commitment to gender justice, especially through the inclusion of Latinx women, who are historically underrepresented in nominally feminist projects. In addition, we seek to go to the grassroots and the front lines, hearing from women who are involved in the day-to-day life of Catholic parishes, even as they experience rejection from parish leadership.”