Edward W. Hazen Foundation Fast Tracks $2.8 Million in Grants to Support Grantees Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic in Communities of Color

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Edward W. Hazen Foundation Fast Tracks $2.8 Million in Grants to Support Grantees Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic in Communities of Color

NEW YORK - Today, the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation supporting communities of color fighting for educational equity and racial justice, announced grants of more than $2.8 million to 24 organizations. The foundation is announcing and distributing grants that would have been made in the summer in order to provide organizations with resources as they ramp up programming to respond to the pandemic. This early announcement of funding comes at a pivotal moment for many of the organizations who are quickly adapting their programs to respond to on-the-ground conditions, particularly in communities of color hit hardest by the pandemic across the country, and where the Hazen Foundation prioritizes grantmaking. 

“Our grantees and their communities are our priority, especially in this moment of crisis,” said Lori Bezahler, President of the Hazen Foundation. “This crisis has made clear the deep inequities throughout our country. We see many organizations scrambling to respond to immediate, critical needs that are the result of unjust policies and systems. Youth Justice Coalition, for example, has been instrumental in getting 1,700 people released from incarceration in LA County, championing alternatives to detention and demanding changes in conditions to protect the health of those still inside. With so much at stake right now, we saw no reason to delay much needed funding.” 

This grantmaking comes in the midst of calls for philanthropy to step up spending  as the pandemic and concurrent economic downturn hit those most vulnerable.  The grants represent a nearly five-fold increase in committed funding compared to its spring 2019 docket. As a foundation in the process of spending down, the Hazen Foundation has already committed to distributing all assets by 2024.

The grants will support parent and youth-led organizing efforts on a range of issues, including equity in funding for public schools, ending police presence and punitive discipline policies in schools, and securing affordable housing for low-income families. The Hazen Foundation is particularly committed to support grantees comprised of and led by people of color: 83% of the executive directors of these organizations are Black, Latinx, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or Native American. Further,  75% of the organizations are led by a female executive director; and 36% of these organizations report having LGBTQ senior staff in a supervisor role or board members. The Foundation is also committed to supporting organizations across a geographical range: twelve of the 24 organizations are based in California (three of which are focused on building youth organizing capacity in the often overlooked Inland Empire and rural Central Valley), while others are distributed across the country in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Seattle, Phoenix and Salem, Oregon  (see full list of grantees below). 

"General support funding from Hazen will support our parent leaders to continue to push their policy agenda for education justice and funding equity for public schools at the local level and the state level,” said Regina Elmi, Executive Director of the Somali Parents Education Board in Seattle. 

“Through the support of the Hazen Foundation, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos will be able to expand our fellowship program, creating a truly distributed organizing approach. Moreover, we will be able to support our members with the digital training and tools that we will all need to build community and power in an increasingly remote world,” said Jake Cousins, Deputy Director at Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, based in Denver. The Hazen Foundation has supported Padres y Jóvenes Unidos since 2003.

“Our hope is that this funding allows our grantees to have more room to maneuver and adapt their programming to suit the needs of this moment,” said Lori Villarosa, chair of the Hazen Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “Strong organizing is going to be critical as this pandemic evolves, to put pressure on governments and society to deploy resources equitably. We’re already seeing the disproportionate impact this crisis is having on communities of color. The early release of this funding is our way of stepping up and ensuring that our grantees have the resources they need to protect their communities.” 

The full list of grantees include: 

  • Grassroots Asians Rising, National
  • Movement Strategy Center, Oakland CA
  • Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles CA
  • Khmer Girls in Action, Long Beach CA
  • Youth United for Community Action, East Palo Alto CA
  • Black Organizing Project, Oakland CA
  • Community Asset Development Re-Defining Education (CADRE), Los Angeles CA
  • Communities United, Chicago IL 
  • Innercity Struggle, Los Angeles CA
  • Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Chicago IL
  • Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Chicago IL 
  • Padres Y Jóvenes Unidos, Denver CO 
  • Gender & Sexualities Alliance Network - California
  • Gente Organizada, Pomona CA
  • Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), Milwaukee WI 
  • Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS), Salem OR
  • Somali Parents Education Board, Seattle WA
  • California Native Vote Project, Statewide
  • Poder in Action, Phoenix AZ 
  • Power California 99 Rootz, Atwater CA
  • Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality, Salem OR 
  • Todec Legal Center Monarcas Luchadoras, Perris CA
  • New Mexico Dream Team, Albuquerque NM
  • Southside Together Organizing for Power, Chicago IL


The Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation established in 1925, is committed to supporting organizing and leadership of young people and communities of color in dismantling structural inequity based on race and class.


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