Seeding Advocacy: Our new policy and advocacy grantmaking program

Funding advocacy is a crucial component of movement building—without it, organizations cannot engage in systems change at a large scale.

In 2022, our partners started bringing to Seeding Justice’s staff’s attention that advocacy funding was direly needed. 

Over the last year, staff has been working to connect with community partners, general fund grantees and advocates to more specifically identify needs of 501(c)(3)s and 501(c)(4)s that are doing policy and advocacy work and define how they would leverage these lobbying dollars.

We are excited to finally announce our new grantmaking program, Seeding Advocacy, which granted out $200,000 to 10 statewide organizations shortly before the new year! 

All 10 organizations are engaged in community-driven public policy, advocacy and community organizing that is focused on systems change.

In addition to grant funding, Seeding Advocacy grantees also receive:

  • Membership to Alliance for Justice:  AFJ works with members to navigate the legal pitfalls of nonprofit advocacy and protects members’ missions by ensuring that the justice system is not used to roll back decades of progress on constitutional rights.
  • Access to Bolder Advocacy, a program of the Alliance for Justice. Bolder Advocacy conducts workshops and training, and provides one-on-one technical assistance. They also provide coaching that helps nonprofit leaders become stronger advocates for their missions, and  accessible information, resources and tools to help navigate complex advocacy rules and regulations.
  • Other support: Seeding Justice is willing to provide other support to organizations ranging from convening space, photographic support or other logistical support.

Meet our Seeding Advocacy grantees:

Beyond Toxics

Beyond Toxics will lead regional and statewide climate policy action and toxics reduction policies. They also support the Oregon Just Transition Alliance Steering Committee, Fossil Free Eugene, OCEN, Plastics Coalition, and others  to advance environmental justice and climate justice policies, create updates on strategic approaches, and carry out strong communication tactics. Beyond Toxics will carry out an interconnected body of research and advocacy to end exclusionary land use policies, shift away from fossil fuel use, achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gasses and reduce waste by-products that pollute the air and water of Oregon’s communities. 

Next Up Action Fund

Next Up will be building out a youth power agenda, supporting an advocacy platform that is decided by the base that will use  participatory practice.  This will inform the legislative agenda, ballot measures and how they activate youth across the state. One being HB 2004 Rank Choice Voting 

Northwest Workers’ Justice Project

NWJP will be working on developing a number of major potential legislative concepts. NWJP is watching to see what priorities might grow out of the Worker Power Summit and is in the research and development phase of state policy that will address the historic and racist exclusion of farmworkers from labor organizing protections under the National Labor Relations Act. NWJP will also be investing in its worker committees and training to help current and former clients be the agents of change in its policy work. 

Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP)

OCPP plays a central role in the state’s growing economic justice movement by centering the priorities of communities, applying research and analysis, and devising effective policy solutions. Action Plan for the People: How to Build Economic Justice in Oregon is the result of more than a year of conversations with dozens of community organizations. Using the community-centered approach, OCPP worked closely with core partners on economic security (more than two dozen organizations, including organizations representing communities of color, labor organizations, rural communities, and the faith community). Oregon more than has the resources needed to build a state where everyone lives in dignity and the Action Plan provides a road map to get there. 

OCPP will continue its work through the Action Plan, and will seek to do the following.  People need the resources to meet their basic needs, workers must have the power to collectively fight for a better future, and our tax structures must advance economic and racial justice. 

Oregon Futures Lab Education Fund (OFL) 

OFL plans to host BIPOC Legislator School for the short session and long session, as well as launching a new onboarding program for newly electeds, council staffers and Community Based Organization (CBO) partners to the new Portland City Council. This will leverage secured funding and expand OFL’s capacity to build BIPOC political power in the Portland area and around the states.

Oregon Rural Action 

In 2024, the diverse, rural community-led initiative seeks to engage state legislative leaders to advocate and advance public policy change to 1) secure immediate and permanent sources of safe and affordable drinking water for rural constituencies, 2) restore the groundwater of the Lower Umatilla Basin, and 3) advance Oregon’s environmental justice principles to more meaningfully include vulnerable populations and center community members directly impacted in the decision-making process. 

With a framework of safe water as a fundamental right, this work seeks to advance systems change through engagement in state public policy. The 2024 initiative is built on the successful cross-cultural organizing in 2022 and 2023 that built a diverse base of rural people who are directly impacted by nitrated contaminated ground and drinking water, multiple town halls, community listening sessions, and tours with federal and state elected and agency leaders, and amplified the community’s voice through an earned media campaign to reach local, regional and state media platforms.

Pueblo Unido

Pueblo Unido introduced legislative proposals during Oregon’s 2023 session in an effort to address these issues and secure language justice for Indigenous Oregonians. In July 2023, the State of Oregon ultimately appropriated $2 million to Pueblo Unido to support the development of language proficiency evaluation mechanisms for Indigenous languages. Additionally, the State appropriated $500,000 to Oregon Worker Relief, Inc to compensate interpreters of “languages of limited diffusion,” including Indigenous languages from regions presently known as Mexico, Central America, and South America. Collective work to implement these proposals is currently underway.

Residents Organizing for Change  (ROC)

Residents Organizing for Change (ROC) is a statewide network of residents of affordable housing, those in need of, and front-line staff of affordable housing providers that are committed to advocating for safe, stable, and affordable housing for all Oregonians.

ROC members are currently engaged in research to identify what is the best next step for their communities including  1) how to increase landlord accountability; 2) safety and security; and 3) solutions to high rents for tenants.  During the grant period ROC members will continue its work on affordable housing policy and advocacy efforts.

Sexworker Advocacy Affirming Advocates (SWAA)

Sex Worker Affirming Advocates (SWAA) is a gender-expansive, BIPOC-majority, and sex worker-led effort. Their mission is to expand the rights of people involved in sex work in Oregon by cultivating community-based leadership and developing intentional programs and strong narratives to support sex work decriminalization. By investing in these efforts, the leaders envision a future where all sex workers in Oregon are supported, affirmed and respected, and ensure the diversity of people within the sex worker rights movement.

Over the next 18 months SWAA will be Preparing to introduce a comprehensive decriminalization policy in the 2025 Oregon Legislative Session. SWAA will also be advocating for a major investment in  new programs developed and staffed by current and former sex workers to provide immediate safety via a hotline, and ongoing support for sex workers and victims of sex trafficking who have been impacted by violence or other forms of abuse. 

Safety & Justice Oregon

Transforming Justice Coalition, a project of Safety & Justice Oregon, will play a central role in implementation of SB 581, which requires the Department of Corrections to make tangible moves toward helping supervised individuals earn reduction in supervision. They also want to serve as an entry point to policy work for participants in its Advocacy Academy, which provides trauma-informed leadership development to Advocacy Leaders by providing monthly coaching meetings and training, retreats, and group projects.

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