For our JustVA Fund, the Foundation has prepared specific answers to several frequently asked questions. Click on the FAQ to view the answer.
What types of organizations are supported through this fund?
Through the JustVA Fund, the Weissberg Foundation supports organizations that:
- Have a budget supporting advocacy or organizing work that is $1 million or less;
- Are 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;
- Are Black, Indigenous, and/or person of color led and centered;
- Use advocacy and/or community organizing as key engagement and power building strategies; and
- Reach jurisdictions, counties, or regions in Virginia, with some work being done at the state-level.
What do you mean by advocacy and organizing?
There are varying definitions for advocacy and organizing. The following definitions from our colleagues resonate the most with the Weissberg Foundation.
- AdvocacyAny action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. It includes public education, regulatory work, litigation, and work before administrative bodies, lobbying, voter registration, voter education, and more.
- Community organizingA multi-faceted strategy for social change that relies on the leadership of members from the affected community to bring about change. HSF also states the following goals of community organizing: 1) improve social conditions, outcomes, and the quality of life for marginalized communities through systemic change; 2) build the leadership within marginalized communities; and 3) strengthen democratic participation and accountability of decision makers to marginalized communities.
Why does this initiative focus on Black, Indigenous, and people of color led and centered organizations?
When thinking about criminal justice within the entire commonwealth of Virginia, it is essential to center those who are most directly impacted by racism. Historically, Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the state have been under-resourced and underserved through social, political, and economic systems that perpetuate inequity. The criminal legal system is no different – it disproportionately creates disadvantages for Black, Indigenous, and people of color whose lives are touched by it. Additionally, we recognize the ways in which racism is codified through the criminal legal system and that sweeping change needs a racial justice lens to improve these outcomes.