The Boston Globe:

Boston Foundation invests more than $4 million in six local social justice leaders

Each nonprofit organization and “movement” leader will receive $675,000 over three years as a part of the Shifting Power, Advancing Justice focus area.

Lauren Booker

April 9, 2024

The Boston Foundation has identified six community partners in a new Shifting Power, Advancing Justice initiative, and will invest more than $4 million in their organizations to support their work on social justice efforts, according to an announcement this week.

Each nonprofit organization and “movement” leader will receive $675,000 over three years as a part of the Shifting Power, Advancing Justice focus area. The funding would support general operations, wellness, technical assistance, capacity building, and can be used for emergencies.

“These six movement leaders each play a central role in their organizations and in the broader community. They are difference makers, shaping collective action that improves lives and drives social and economic change,” said M. Lee Pelton, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation.

The selected leaders are Darian Burwell Gambrell, executive director, DEAF, Inc.; Gamaliel Lauture, co-executive director, Brockton Interfaith Community; Mike Leyba, co-executive director, City Life/Vida Urbana; Noemi Mimi Ramos, executive director, New England United 4 Justice; Shanique Rodriguez, executive director, Massachusetts Voter Table; and Dwaign Tyndal, executive director, Alternatives for Community and Environment.

As part of the Shifting Power, Advancing Justice initiative, the community leaders will partner with the Boston Foundation to craft their work plans, with the goal of tailoring the funding directly to that work, “to ensure [the funding] serves their needs, goals and long-term vision,” according to the announcement.

“We … know that our most valuable role can be played beyond the grant itself, providing a space and platform for these movement leaders to connect, plan and build community with each other to create a stronger, networked ecosystem for change,” said Vetto Casado, director of Shifting Power, Advancing Justice at the Boston Foundation.

With extensive resumes marked by years of pushing for social justice, the grant recipients have made impacts beyond their current organizational role.

For instance, Mike Leyba, with City Life/Vida Urbana, has fought for equal marriage rights for LGBTQ people. And, for four years, Shanique Rodriguez, with Massachusetts Voter Table, worked as the manager of mobilization and BIPOC organizing at the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.

“They each have unique approaches to that leadership and, with this new effort, we strive to create a partnership that respects and supports each of them and the organizations they represent to continue and amplify their transformative work,” said Pelton.

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