The Weissberg Foundation envisions a just world that recognizes inequities and builds access, opportunity, and power so that all can thrive. We fund, amplify, build the capacity of, and collaborate with organizations and efforts working to address what we believe is the root cause of the social, economic, and political disparities that negatively influence systems, perpetuate inequities, and disparage individuals – structural racism.
Introducing JustVA Fund
The Weissberg Foundation is launching a new fund to support efforts at the intersection of criminal and racial justice in Virginia. Virginia’s history of colonization and slavery have resulted in a longstanding legacy of racism that surfaces in the criminalization of Virginia residents who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Through this fund, the Foundation seeks to support organizations advancing critical systems change to Virginia’s criminal legal systems, ones that actively dismantle structural racism within the Commonwealth to create a more equitable and just world for Virginians.
Eligible organizations supported by the fund would:
- Be dedicated criminal justice organizations or have specific criminal justice campaigns or agendas dedicated to change-making in Virginia;
- Centralize racial justice in their mission, vision, operations, and programming;
- Be Black, Indigenous, and/or person of color led and centered as outlined below;
- Use advocacy and/or community organizing as key engagement and power building strategies; and
- Reach jurisdictions, counties, regions, or areas in Virginia, with some work being done at the state-level.
Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color Led and Centered
The Weissberg Foundation is committed to supporting groups and efforts that are led by and centered on Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. Eligible organizations will have senior leadership, staff, and boards that include significant representation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Organizations advancing to the site visit stage will be asked to share this demographic information, which will be taken into consideration as final decisions are made about funding.
Beyond just representation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color on staff and boards, it is important that the following values are reflected in organizations supported through this fund:
- They take a strong and active anti-racist stance in their work;
- They are committed to uplifting truthful narratives that amplify voices from Black, Indigenous, or people of color communities;
- They center and celebrate the value and dignity of lived experience;
- They are committed to strategically and intentionally building the power of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities; and
- They take a holistic approach to their work around criminal justice that is intersectional, responsive to historical and present-day traumas, and allows for collective imagination in this work.
For our communities:
- Power: System-impacted Black, Indigenous, and people of color are empowered to advance fair and equitable outcomes on criminal legal and racial justice issues they deem most critical for themselves, their families, and their communities.
- Community Building: Individuals have the connections and relationships they need with people and organizations to work in partnership with others to create transformative changes in the criminal legal system.
For our grantees:
- Systems Change: Organizations engage in community-centered and -led change making strategies that advance fair and equitable laws and practices for Black, Indigenous, and people of color who are system involved.
- Strength: Organizations are better positioned to build the power and bolster the visibility of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities who are system involved because they are better resourced to advance their efforts.
For our foundation:
- Understanding: The foundation deepens our knowledge about systems change at the intersection of criminal and racial justice, and partners with organizations and individuals working to advance it.
The Weissberg Foundation expects to make 8 new awards to organizations working on criminal and racial justice in Virginia. Each award will amount to $50,000 a year for three years, starting in December 2021.