Episcopal City Mission Blog

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ECM Announces Burgess Urban Fund 2009 Grantees

The Burgess Urban Fund (BUF), a grants program of the Episcopal City Mission (ECM), is intended to nurture creative, grassroots organizing in response to social injustice in Massachusetts. BUF supports organizations that are undertaking grassroots community organizing to create affordable housing, to secure workers’ rights and benefits, and to promote broad access to employment. The fund awards grants in these areas and also supports special projects in areas of interest to BUF that are aligned with ECM’s mission.

Affordable Housing

Bread and Roses Housing, Lawrence – The mission of Bread and Roses Housing (BRH) is to create and preserve affordable housing for low income families, to support their goals of self-sufficiency, education and empowerment, and to advocate for very low income households in the greater Lawrence area. BRH received a grant to support their Affordable Housing Program, in which they outreach to the community to increase the capacity of their constituents to become leaders of change in their neighborhoods, the city, and ultimately, to become role models for other cities impacted by high poverty rates. www.brhousing.org

Dudley Neighbors Inc., Roxbury – Dudley Neighbors, Incorporated (DNI) was created by the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative(DSNI) to play a critical role in the housing development portion of DSNI’s comprehensive master plan that was drafted by residents to guide the revitalization of the neighborhood. DNI was awarded a grant to maximize the stabilizing effects of the community land trust model by putting tools into the hands of land trust residents, providing financial planning and developing the leadership of DNI residents in the larger community. They also propose to advocate and organize for greater use of the land trust model in order to protect more affordable housing. www.dsni.org/dni

Merrimack Valley Project, Lawrence – The Merrimack Valley Project’s (MVP) mission is to promote the welfare of the Merrimack Valley region through the joint efforts of the organizations’ committed to the dignity and freedom of all. MVP received a grant to support their “Protecting Family Housing and Assets Project.” The goal of the project is to organize a powerful base of leaders to respond to the affects of the current economic crisis and demand justice for hundreds of Lawrence and Lowell families who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure and eviction. http://www.merrimackvalleyproject.org

WATCH, Waltham – WATCH’s mission is to build, preserve, and promote affordable housing and to enhance economic opportunities, civic participation and leadership skills of low and moderate income families in the Waltham area. WATCH received a grant to support their “Mobilizing for Affordable Housing Priorities” project. The goal is to develop and lead low-income leaders in creating and using a community endorsed housing plan to overcome political barriers and increase affordable housing in Waltham. www.watchcdc.org

CORI Reform

Boston Workers Alliance, Boston – BWA is a member-led organization of under and unemployed workers fighting for employment rights. BWA received a grant for general operating support to continue their work to build access to employment for those who have barriers due to a criminal record. They will accomplish this through member organizing, direct services support, campaigns and coalition building and economic development. www.bostonworkersalliance.org

Ex-Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement(EPOCA), Worcester – EPOCA is an organization of ex-prisoners working with allies, families and friends to create resources and opportunities for those how have paid their debt to society. EPOCA received a grant for general support to continue to build community power, particularly among youth, low-income people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the oppression of the criminal justice, correctional and re-entry systems. The grant will also support their work to lead initiatives to end the overuse of criminal records as a bar to employment, housing and education. www.exprisoners.org

Union of Minority Neighborhoods, Jamaica Plain – UMN’s mission is to ensure that trained, committed grassroots leaders of color effectively organize on issues of concern in their communities. UMN received a grant to help support MARC – Massachusetts Alliance to Reform CORI, a statewide campaign to reform the criminal justice system and reduce the adverse consequence – unemployment. www.unionofminorityneighborhoods.org

Poverty Related Organizing

Alternatives for Community and Environment, Boston – Alternatives for Community and Environment’s (ACE) mission is to build the power of communities of color and lower income persons to eradicate environmental racism and classism and achieve environmental justice. ACE received a grant to organize the T Riders Union to organize and build a base of riders from the Boston area’s most transit-dependent communities. They will continue to address the root inequalities in the system and first fight for first class service and fair share of public transportation investments. www.ace-ej.org

Brockton Interfaith Community, Brockton – Brockton Interfaith Community’s (BIC) mission is to improve the lives of the people of Brockton by building the leadership of its citizens. BIC trains and develops leaders to realize their own power and how to use it affectively. BIC was awarded a grant for general operating support to continue to pay the salary for a second organizer who will spend the next year working on foreclosure prevention as well as the resale of foreclosed homes, and increase in single occupancy rooms, CORI reform, youth violence prevention and increase in diversified teaching staff at the Brockton schools www.mcan-oltc.org/affiliates.html#BIC

Coalition Against Poverty, New Bedford – The Coalition Against Poverty (CAP) works to empower those excluded from the economic benefits of the current system, especially current and former welfare recipients, residents of public housing, single parent families, and racial minorities. CAP received a grant for general operating support to strengthen their grassroots organizing program. Funds would be used to organize effective campaigns, recruit volunteers, develop leadership and strengthen grassroots funding capacity. Issues under consideration for the coming year are: raising revenues to stop budget cuts to essential services, protecting funding for programs facing severe cuts, CORI reform, sick day legislation, increasing access to living wage jobs weathering homes and buildings, and reforming school disciplinary actions. http://caporganize.org/index2.html

Essex County Community Association, Lynn – The Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) is a non-profit, interfaith, broad based community organization on Boston’s North Shore that include churches, synagogues, a family housing project, school parents’ groups, and labor unions. ECCO’s mission is to develop leadership to build power and collaboration among families and communities on the North Shore. ECCO was awarded a grant to assist the organization in hiring additional staff to help organize congregations in Salem and to help current ECCO member congregations become more involved in the Green Jobs, youth violence prevention, school improvement and job training and readiness programs. www.eccoaction.org

Immigrant Rights/Access to Employment

Metro West Worker Center, Framingham – The Metro West Worker Center (MWWC) is a community organization dedicated to the principle of workers’ rights for all men and women, and working to secure the welfare of the community of immigrant workers through the development of worker leadership. MWWC received a general operating grant to support their programs for the next year. They will be working to expand outreach into the immigrant community, continuing to formalize their organizational structure, developing the immigrant leadership within their organization and developing and utilizing additional strategize to achieve compliance with labor laws in industries employing low wage immigrant workers.

One Lowell, Lowell – ONE is a community based organization that works to improve the life and opportunities for the culturally diverse people of Lowell. They are dedicated to increasing the integration and self-sufficiency of Lowell’s many newcomers by strengthening civic participation, developing strong leadership and increasing access to vital services. One Lowell received an award for the, “Leadership, Empowerment and Training program for Diverse Leaders.” This program will utilize the “Popular Education” organizing model to educate, inform, and empower the immigrant community in Lowell. Combined with a participatory leadership development model they will work to increase minority representation and influence in Lowell. www.onelowell.net

Student Immigrant Movement, Boston – The Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) is a statewide immigrant youth-led organization based in Massachusetts. They identify, recruit and develop leaders in local cities and towns who are invested in improving their communities through relational building, leadership development, electoral organizing and using both strategic and motivational campaigns that build movement. SIM was awarded a grant for general operating support to broaden their membership and to take an active role in statewide and national campaigns critical to the future of the immigrant community. www.simforus.com

United Interfaith Action, Fall River – United Interfaith Action (UIA) is a congregation-based community organization that over the last 13 years has empowered faith communities and their allies to address some of the serious community concerns of SE Massachusetts with a specific focus on the cities of Fall River and New Bedford. UIA was awarded a grant to support their “Immigrant Training and Organizing Project.” The goal of project is to train and empower leaders from immigrant community to move effectively address issues of primary concern to all residents of the region, such as unemployment and job training, public safety, and public education. www.unitedinterfaithaction.org

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Keynote speaker The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop the Episcopal Church

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