Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice Grants 2015 Awards: $31,000 to Western Massachusetts Grassroots GroupsPosted: April 22nd, 2015
In its sixth year of granting, the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice awarded $31,000 this spring to sixteen small grassroots groups working for peace, social and economic justice, and environmental sustainability in Western Massachusetts. And it is proud to be partnering with the regional chapter of a national group of progressive young donors, Resource Generation, in identifying and providing financial support for local grass roots organizing work in need of financial support.
The bulk of the 2015 grants went to organizations in Hampden County, but groups in Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire Counties also receive contributions. The following groups received grants:
- Arise for Social Justice in Springfield (http://arisespringfield.org/) – Project for criminal justice in Mason Square
- The Berkshire Environmental Action Team in Pittsfield (http://www.thebeatnews.org/) – Northeast Climate Organizers Conference
- Climate Action NOW! (http://climateactionnowma.org/) organizing efforts for environmental justice in western Massachusetts
- Just Communities/Comunidades Justas (http://wmjwj.org/just-communities) – immigrant-led civil rights group in Springfield
- The Living Wage Coalition of Western Massachusetts (http://www.livingwagewesternmass.net/) hire workers to organize in Springfield
- Neighbor to Neighbor (http://www.n2nma.org/) – action for a Healthy Holyoke and climate justice
- Out NOW! (http://outnowyouth.org/) organizing for GLBTQ rights aimed at youth in Springfield
- Pioneer Valley Project (http://www.pioneervalleyproject.org/) – work with formerly incarcerated and at risk youth in Springfield
- The Pioneer Valley Workers Center in Northampton (http://www.pvworkerscenter.org/) - organize low wage immigrant food workers
- The Prison Birth Project (http://theprisonbirthproject.org/)- educating and supporting incarcerated mothers and pregnant inmates
- The Rise of Holyoke Schools for resisting state takeover of that education system
- Springfield NoOne Leaves/Nadie Se Mude (http://www.springfieldnooneleaves.org/) -People’s School & Advanced Movement Leaders Academy
- Traprock Center for Peace (http://traprock.org/) – Peace Net for Girls & Women Building Peace
- Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice (http://wmjwj.org/)- organizing conference for economic justice and the rights of workers
- Veteran’s Education Project (http://vetsed.org/) – allows soldiers to tell their stories to adults and young people throughout the area.
- Voices from Inside (http://www.voicesfrominside.org/) – encourage writing and commication from incarcerated women
The Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice started in 2009 by Rose “Arky” Markham and Marty Nathan MD to honor their husbands, activists George Markham and Michael Nathan MD, in its first year it was able to raise and grant just $5,500 to eight groups. The maximum grant was $1.000 and the money was derived from small donations from Pioneer Valley residents. Every year since then the amount raised and distributed has grown and the size and number of grants has increased as well. The maximum grant has increased to $2,500. The board of directors attributes the growth to broadening concern about racism, income inequality, the plight of immigrants and the deterioration of the environment. “More groups are being formed and expanding in the face of worsening conditions and a need to address them,” state Marty Nathan MD, Fund Convener. “And the awareness in our area of responsibility to support progressive change is growing to meet the demand of new organizers. The Markham-Nathan Fund is pleased to be one of the conduits of that support.”
Earlier in the year, the Markham-Nathan Fund facilitated a funding project by members of Resource Generation Western Massachusetts. Resource Generation is a national membership organization organizing young people with wealth to become transformative leaders working toward the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. The Western Massachusetts chapter’s member-organized giving circle moved over $60,000 to eight grassroots social justice organizations in the area, seven of whom were previous MNF grantees.
“The partnership with Resource Generation was unusual for MNF,” stated Marty Nathan. “We have constructed and grown the Fund by soliciting small donations from hundreds of progressive donors around Western Massachusetts. This is a region with a big heart and a sophisticated understanding of the complex issues of today. Couple that with a belief that local work can effect change and you have outlined our work. We are deeply grateful to all our donors and friends who have made our granting possible.”