Racial Justice and Eviction Prevention Dominant Themes in $15 million in Grants Awarded by Trinity Church Wall Street

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Racial Justice and Eviction Prevention Dominant Themes in $15 million in Grants Awarded by Trinity Church Wall Street

NEW YORK, NY, June 17 – Trinity Church Wall Street has awarded more than $15 million in grants to 100 grantees to support their work, with a focus on social-justice initiatives.

Most of the grants, which range from $40,000 to $750,000, are going to organizations that are focused on fighting for racial justice through breaking the cycles of mass incarceration and homelessness in New York City. These groups are working on priorities from immigrant rights to restorative justice to Black-led community organizing to eviction prevention.

“While it was inspiring to see thousands of New Yorkers last year take to the streets united on the call for racial justice, it was also a reminder of all the organizations that have been doing this work for years,” said the Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Priest-in-charge of Trinity Church Wall Street.  “Trinity supports these nonprofits and hopes to further their work, especially as we respond to a racial reckoning and a looming eviction crisis.” 

These grants continue Trinity’s commitment to focusing its funding in New York City, including its own downtown neighborhood. For example, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility will use a $300,000 grant to partner with Trinity’s neighbor, Leadership and Public Service High School (LPSHS).

The high school is grappling with the effects of the pandemic on its school population. A small school with 361 students, LPSHS’s school population is 60% Hispanic, 25% Black, and 8% Asian. Over 80% of students receive free or reduced-cost lunch. As students return to in-person learning, school leaders want to strengthen teacher and staff capacity to foster a more collaborative and equitable school, where students feel they belong and can learn the skills they need to thrive. 

Freedom Agenda, a project of the Urban Justice Center, is receiving $150,000 to support their community organizing and mobilization to ensure the equitable and timely closure of the Rikers Island jail complex, alongside decarceration and community investments. Freedom Agenda is engaging New Yorkers who have been directly impacted by criminalization to advocate to reduce the total jail capacity by 75%, improve conditions of confinement, and make direct investments in community-led public safety alternatives.

“As a faith-based institution, we at Trinity understand decarceration is a moral imperative and we must end the brutal treatment of poor and underserved New Yorkers of color at the Rikers jails.” said Susan Shah, Managing Director for Racial Justice at Trinity. “We support the work of advocates who are on the frontlines of the movement to close Rikers. Our next mayor and city leadership must keep the commitment to permanently close Rikers Island on the fastest timeline possible and be accountable to communities most harmed by the jail system.”

More than $4.5 million in grants are going to organizations focused on housing and homelessness in New York City, including groups that help people impacted economically by the COVID-19 pandemic to access federal rental assistance and stay in their homes once the eviction moratorium expires.  

For example, a $150,000 grant will allow Chhaya to establish the Housing Security Emergency Fund, a program that will combine direct financial assistance with case management and wraparound services to prevent evictions and foreclosures for low-to-moderate-income South Asian and Indo-Caribbean households in Queens. The Center for New York City Neighborhoods will use its $100,000 grant to help landlords of small buildings stabilize their properties and keep their tenants in their homes. 

“More than 300,000 renters are at risk of eviction and tens of thousands of homeowners are at risk of foreclosure. Even before the pandemic, 76,000 people in New York City were homeless on any given night,” said Beatriz de la Torre, Managing Director, Housing and Homelessness at Trinity.  “In these funding awards, Trinity’s Housing and Homelessness initiative focused on keeping people in their homes and breaking the cycle of mass homelessness and instability in New York City that disproportionally impacts communities of color.” 

Among the 100 grants awarded by Trinity, 24 will support Episcopal and Anglican communities in the U.S. and around the world...