Liberty Fund to Support Urgent Initiatives to Preserve Constitutional Protections
March 6, 2017   |   By The New York Community Trust
3/6/17 – New York Community Trust Announces $1 Million Fund To Preserve Constitutional, Social Protections for New Yorkers

“Liberty Fund” will support 21 groups to provide legal assistance and citizen action workshops, advocate for sanctuaries, and safe havens

New Fund created in anticipation of changes to federal policy around immigration, rising fears of hate crimes, deportation, discrimination

(3/6/17) New York, NY— Expecting changes in federal immigration policy, The New York Community Trust has established a new “Liberty Fund” to support urgent initiatives to preserve constitutional protections for City residents, the Trust announced today. The Trust is giving $1 million to 21 nonprofits to provide on-the-ground help to individuals threatened by federal changes, especially immigrants. The groups organize legal assistance for immigrants; self-defense and citizen action workshops; and provide resources for safe havens.

The Trust put together the series of well-timed grants to get money to groups fast. Checks are being issued right now to help groups respond to it all—from new policies from Homeland Security to Executive Orders calling for the restriction of immigration from six key nations.

“This dynamic fund aims to make sure that all New Yorkers, regardless of country of origin or any other characteristic can thrive here,” said Lorie Slutsky, president of New York Community Trust.  “The goal is to provide rapid response even before we know exact changes to the safety net or immigration, environment or health care policies. We want to address these changes from a place of strength and preparedness.”

In addition to The Trust, contributors to the Liberty Fund include the New York Foundation, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, and three Trust donor advisors. The Trust intends to support these causes in coming months and years, as it has during its 93-year existence as New York’s only community foundation serving all five boroughs, Westchester, and Long Island.

Grantees from the Liberty Fund include:

  • African Communities Together/ACT: $50,000 to train and engage 100 African community leaders in advocacy related to immigration policy and enforcement, provide know-your-rights workshops, and connect African immigrants to legal services;
  • BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance: $30,000 to preserve the rights of LGBTQ artists and residents of the Bronx, a borough without an active LGBTQ center;
  • Brooklyn Movement Center: $60,000 to work with Repair the World, the Society for Ethical Culture, and Congregation Beth Elohim to provide know-your-rights workshops and anti-oppression/racial justice training to students and adults, and create a rapid response for direct action and rallies;
  • Center for Urban Pedagogy: $45,000 to develop advocacy materials for Hollaback! and Justice Committee training bystanders on how to safely intervene in incidents of discrimination and hate violence, and how to monitor and document abusive policing and immigration enforcement;
  • Chhaya Community Development Corporation: $50,000 to expand its immigration legal clinics for South Asian immigrant populations of Queens, train community ambassadors to disseminate know-your-rights information and encourage victims to report crimes, and conduct town hall meetings;
  • Children’s Defense Fund-NY: $50,000 to analyze and provide information about reductions in health care services and advocate retention of Child Health Plus in New York State. It will create issue briefs for community leaders and policymakers and convene stakeholders to discuss how changes at the federal level may impact local communities;
  • Churches United for Fair Housing: $50,000 to work with member churches to combat discrimination, provide immigration services, and become sanctuary spaces for at-risk immigrants in Brooklyn;
  • DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving: $100,000 to establish a Hate Free Zone in four neighborhoods in Queens, including Jackson Heights, Woodside, Corona, and Kensington;
  • #GetOrganizeBK/Congregation Beth Elohim: $50,000 to organize residents of Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington to address human rights and social justice issues. #GetOrganizeBK will coordinate the work of 15 community working groups dealing with a range of issues, including hate crimes, immigrant rights, and racial justice;
  • Hollaback!: $60,000 to prevent and address discrimination and hate crimes by race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity through bystander intervention trainings, and the distribution of 10,000 copies of accessible infographics that can help bystanders prevent discrimination;
  • Immigrant Defense Project: $75,000 to build the capacity of NYC legal service providers and community-based organizations to defend and protect immigrants most affected by changes in immigration policies;
  • Justice Committee: $28,000 to build the capacity of affected New Yorkers to recognize, monitor, document, and de-escalate hate and community violence;
  • Make the Road New York: $60,000 to organize immigrants and allies in key neighborhoods to mobilize with legal services, advocacy, and direct action on behalf of people threatened by deportation and hate crimes. Make the Road will train 5,000 on how to respond if approached by immigration; how to get documents in order; and how to arrange for child care in case of deportation;
  • Masa-MexEd: $50,000 to scale up its existing campaign to build knowledge of immigrant rights and provide access to legal services for vulnerable Latino immigrant families in the Bronx;
  • Muslim Community Network: $12,000 to provide self-defense workshops to 400 Muslim women at risk of anti-Muslim bias, in collaboration with the Center for Anti-Violence Education;
  • New York City New Sanctuary Coalition: $40,000 to recruit and train twelve congregations in immigrant-heavy neighborhoods to protect and defend immigrants, including know-your-rights workshops and safe-space provision;
  • New York Immigration Coalition: $60,000 to mobilize 20,000+ New Yorkers to participate in direct actions in response to changes in federal immigration law and policy;
  • Peter Cicchino Youth Project at Urban Justice Center: $20,000 to help undocumented homeless youth from being incarcerated and safely file for immigration relief with legal clinics, education opportunities, and legal representation for homeless youth across the city;
  • Restaurant Opportunities Center: $60,000 to protect and support restaurant workers and employers against attacks on immigrants, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and other vulnerable populations in the restaurant industry;
  • Sikh Coalition: $10,000 to educate the City’s Sikh community about their rights and resources available to them to address civil rights violations. Working with Sikh houses of worship, the Coalition will provide know-your-rights workshops, information and resources on hate crime prevention, school bullying prevention, equal employment protections, and immigration enforcement to 1,000+ Sikhs in NYC;
  • Staten Island Community Job Center-La Colmena: $40,000 to organize Latino immigrant day laborers in Staten Island to address anti-immigrant harassment and violence, and provide information on deportation and family separation including know-your-rights workshops and training on what to do when faced with aggression by civilians or law enforcement, and how to avoid scams. It will disseminate an emergency response packet for families with information on what they need like passport numbers, medical records, contact numbers, etc.

The Trust also has invited 14 Liberty Fund applicants not funded above to submit proposals to its regular competitive grants program, and made one aligned grant of $20,000 to the City Bar Justice Center to coordinate pro bono attorneys for victims of discriminatory harassment.

About The New York Community Trust
Through the generosity of New Yorkers who have set up charitable funds with us, we are able to make grants for a huge range of charitable activity so important to the well-being and vitality of our city.  We are New York City’s community foundation, and one of the largest funders of City nonprofits.  Since 1924, The Trust has helped make donors’ charitable dreams come true by funding the nonprofits that make our city a vital and secure place.

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