Racial Justice Grants Call

SUMMARY:

***The Racial Justice Grants Call is now closed; however we may be issuing another call in the next year***

The Law Foundation of BC has created a $2 million grant fund focused on racial justice and the law

  • Grants available:
    • Development Grants of $25,000 for one year
    • Initiative Grants from between $50,000-$200,000 per year for up to three years
  • Initial questionnaire expressing interest in receiving a grant is due March 15, 2022

More details below

PURPOSE: 

Indigenous Peoples, Black People and People of Colour experience systemic and institutional racism in many facets of their lives. These systemic inequities and biases exist within the legal/justice system, and in the laws, policies and programs that impact people living across British Columbia. The law and the legal/justice system play significant roles in shaping the way people experience the world and each individual’s place and status within it. Inequities within these systems have a determining influence on people’s lives, and racialized individuals and communities experience this first-hand everyday. 

Long known and understood by individuals and communities facing these injustices, racial injustice and inequity are also acknowledged by federal, provincial and local governments, legislative bodies, Human Rights Commissions in BC and across Canada, and the Courts. As part of the legal profession in British Columbia, the Law Foundation shares in the collective obligation to work toward eradicating racial injustice in and through the legal system. The Law Foundation believes it needs to do more in order to meet this obligation.

The Law Foundation is also committed to supporting the implementation of the spirit, intent and content of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.  In announcing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the government and First Nations Leadership Council jointly recognized that Indigenous People in BC face enduring oppression and harm due to colonialism, and that law and legal mechanisms are a part of both the problem and the solution.¹

The Law Foundation of BC has created a $2 million grant fund to support work and develop community infrastructure intended to advance the goals of building racial justice and combatting systemic racism and discrimination. All applicants will complete a questionnaire, after which successful grant-seekers will be invited to participate in a conversation (oral application) or provide a written application.  

¹ Government of BC, First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Assembly of First Nations, BC Legislation on a Framework for Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples – A New Path Forward, Backgrounder, October 24, 2019.

WHO CAN APPLY: 

We welcome applications from:  

  • Existing non-profit organizations;  
  • Collaborative entities or groups;  
  • People who are seeking to establish new organizations, collaboratives or groups;  

if they operate (or intend to operate) in BC and/or for the benefit of people living in BC (referred to below as “grant-seekers”).  

Grant-seekers do not need to be registered charities and they do not necessarily need to be registered non-profit societies. Grant-seekers do not need to identify as specifically law-focused groups or organizations as long as the proposed work is connected with the legal system or the impact of laws and policies on people’s lives. 

GRANTING PRIORITIES:  

This granting program will consider the following factors:  

  • Does the proposal contribute to building or bridging community capacity to create lasting change of a systemic nature, targeting structural racism and oppression? 
  • Does the application offer proposed solutions aimed at building racial justice, taking into account the intersection of race with gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, other group identities, immigrant experience and migration status, and the complex way in which various systems overlap to create compounded harm?  
  • Are the grant-seeker’s senior staff or board leadership positions held by those who self-identify as Indigenous, Black, or People of Colour? 
  • Does the grant-seeker demonstrate a commitment to racial justice in its past and current work? 
  • Does the grant-seeker have experience working with communities who have direct, lived experience of racial injustice? Is the grant seeker connected with Indigenous, Black and/or People of Colour communities? 
  • If the grant-seeker is predominantly white (meaning that the group of people applying for the grant, or the board/staff leadership of the organization applying for the grant, are largely composed of people who do not identify as Indigenous, Black or People of Colour), the following factors will also be considered: 
      • Does the organization make investments from its own resources to make racial justice a priority in its work? 
      • Does the proposal actively direct resources and opportunities to people and communities who identify as Indigenous, Black or People of Colour? 

Note on Proposals relating to Justice for Indigenous People 

Indigenous People and communities in BC experience many forms of racism and racialization. The Law Foundation recognizes, however, that a racial justice framework and calls to combat systemic discrimination may not necessarily be appropriate or sufficiently expansive when it comes to initiatives or legal issues impacting Indigenous Peoples. This is because the rights of Indigenous Peoples are distinct from the rights of other communities impacted by racism and include inherent rights to land, self-determination, and self-government. The Law Foundation further recognizes that additional and unique approaches are required to support Indigenous justice and the restoration of Indigenous legal traditions and systems. 

With that in mind, this call welcomes Indigenous-led proposals and/or proposals pertaining to Indigenous justice. These proposals will be considered for funding under this racial justice funding call and may also be eligible or referred to other streams of funding at the Foundation. 

TYPES OF PROPOSALS THAT COULD BE ELIGIBLE:  

Applications may be for discrete projects but may also relate to the creation or sustaining of an organization or infrastructure to do the work – in the case of a new organization, a forward-looking version of the above considerations will be taken into account.  

This program is meant for proposals that aim to achieve an impact in building and advancing racial justice. Funded proposals will have to align with one or more of the Law Foundation’s mandate areas. If you are unsure whether your idea will qualify, please contact our staff listed below. 

There are multiple legal orders operating in the lands known as British Columbia, including Indigenous laws. Eligible proposals may target a wide range of issues within this legal context and the context of racial justice, and do not need to be aimed at the Crown’s justice system or the courts. For instance, proposals may cover the criminal justice system, human rights, and access to the courts and other decision-making bodies, as well as government decision-making across a range of systems, such as social benefits, healthcare, planning and land use – all of which involve the law.   

The Foundation invites proposals from a single group or organization as well as those that involve collaboration among several groups or organizations. The Foundation does not prefer one form over the other and trusts grant-seekers to determine whether a joint proposal with other groups or organizations will better serve the proposed work.  

Note on Ineligible Proposals 

This grant program is not intended to fund proposals whose main purpose is the production of research studies, educational resources, and reports, though proposals can certainly include publication, education, and research as part of their workplan as tools to achieve the ultimate goal of the proposal. If you are unsure whether your idea will qualify, please contact our staff listed below. 

This grant program is not intended to fund equity, diversity, or inclusion training for board/staff of organizations or program audits; if you are an existing Law Foundation grantee that is seeking support for such work with your team, please contact your Law Foundation program director/manager. 

TYPES OF GRANTS: 

The Foundation will offer two types of flexible grants under this program. Grant funding is intended to support communities in building power and capacity to advance racial justice and may be used for both projects and core operating costs: 

Development Grants – up to $25,000 for one year 

These short-term grants are meant to provide funding to develop capacity, early-stage projects, and plans that may lead to new programming, projects, or infrastructure. Types of activities that could be funded include, but are not limited to: 

  • Community consultation; 
  • Issue identification and research; 
  • Strategic planning in connection to a project or program; 
  • Assessments or feasibility studies for expanding programs and projects; 
  • Increasing group or organizational capacity through specific skills training and/or new tools. 

Pilot projects, experimentation, and new approaches to building power and capacity to advance racial justice will also be considered. Funding for existing projects and programs may be considered where there is a clear connection to the grant-seeker’s vision of advancing racial justice. 

Obtaining a Development Grant does not guarantee acceptance for an Initiative Grant. 

Development Grants will be adjudicated in a shorter period of time than Initiative Grants. Further details are below

Initiative Grants – range from $50,000 per year to $200,000 per year for up to three years. 

These grants are meant to provide funding to support grant-seekers who have developed projects, programs, or strategies that require a more sustained investment in order to create lasting change of a systemic nature and advance racial justice. 

These grants can be for operational funding, capacity-building, and substantive work in relation to a project. Start-up funding may also be considered in circumstances where new infrastructure is needed to do the work. 

These grants can range from any year to three years at a range of amounts depending on the scale of the work and activities being proposed. Depending on the scope, organizational capacity, and available funds, a longer duration or a higher grant amount may also be considered on an exceptional basis. 

HOW TO APPLY: 

Step 1Check alignment to granting priorities with a questionnaire 

Grant-seekers will fill out a questionnaire and provide information about their group/organization and proposal. Those proposals and groups/organizations most closely aligned with the priorities of the granting program will be invited to the next step. 

If you have technology or accessibility barriers, you can contact a member of Law Foundation staff below. 

Applicants for both Development Grants and Initiative Grants will complete Step 1.  

Step 2 – Development Grants: Grant-seekers whose Development Grant proposals are most closely aligned with the granting priorities will be contacted by Foundation representatives to discuss their proposal. Depending on the information contained in the questionnaire, the Foundation might ask for some additional detail, including a budget. Grant-seekers can expect decisions on Development Grants to take place in the Spring of 2022. The timeline may vary depending on the number of applications received by the Foundation, as well as the length of time it takes to obtain any additional details that are needed.  

Step 2 – Initiative Grants: Provide more information about your group/organization and proposal through a conversation or written application 

Initiative Grant-seekers whose proposals are most closely aligned with the granting priorities will be advanced to Step 2 and will have the choice between scheduling a conversation (oral application) with Foundation representatives or completing a written application form. Grant-seekers participating in the conversation will receive the questions in advance to help them prepare, including questions about the budget. Grant-seekers can expect the conversation to take place over Zoom and last between an hour and two hours depending on the scope and nature of the work being proposed.  

TIMELINE & GRANT REVIEW PROCESS: 

The Foundation expects to make multiple rounds of grants from this fund, subject to the Foundation’s finances and the availability of funding. 

Applications for the first round opened on December 8th, 2021 and will be accepted until March 15th, 2022.  

Key expected dates for round one (could be subject to change depending on volume of applications to be processed – we will communicate any such changes to grant-seekers): 

  • Step 1 (Development Grants and Initiative Grants):  

Decisions will be communicated in June 2022. 

  • Step 2 (Development Grants):  

Any additional conversations that are required will take place in April and May  2022, with an aim of making a decision on Development Grants by June 2022. 

  • Step 2 (Initiative Grants):  
      • Conversations will be scheduled and written applications will be due between June and August 2022. 
      • The advisory committee will review and adjudicate Initiative Grant applications between August and October 2022. 
      • Final Initiative Grant decisions will be communicated, and funding awarded between November and December 2022. 

Please note that these timelines are estimates and are subject to change.

While not yet confirmed, the second round is tentatively planned to begin in late 2022. We will update our website as more information becomes available. 

The Foundation will review the proposals from Development Grants that are provided by grant-seekers to determine whether those proposals advance to the next step of the process for Initiative Grants. 

KEY MATERIALS:

FAQ – Click here for frequently asked questions

Questionnaire – (Step one of application)

CONTACT: 

If you have questions about this grant program and whether your idea might be a good candidate, please contact our staff at [email protected].