A New Grant Supports Visions of a Racially Just Oakland

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A view of Oakland's Lake Merritt. (Pendarvis Harshaw)

Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Division, the Akonadi Foundation and the East Bay Community Foundation have launched “Belonging in Oakland: A Just City Cultural Fund,” a new multi-year program that will bestow grants on cultural practitioners of color to “radically imagine a racially just city.”

The grant defines cultural practitioners expansively, including “artists, artist-activists, traditional culture bearers/keepers, griots/storytellers, craftspeople, creative placemakers and -keepers, cultural strategists, community historians/elders, or other visionaries.” Among other requirements, grantees must be based or rooted in Oakland and have either 501(c)3 status or fiscal sponsorship.

In its first year the program will award approximately $300,000 to up to 12 grantees in amounts of $25,000 each. The theme for the first round of grants is “Reflect & Reimagine”; the organizers aim to support “dreams of the tools, methods and solutions” for protecting vulnerable communities, along with “visions for their ability to thrive.”

“We hope these awards will seed as much imagination as possible,” the grant’s application guidelines read. “We believe that we cannot build a just city without knowing what we are aiming for.”

Future funding rounds in 2021 and 2022 will address the implementation of community-centered cultural projects, with a focus on those most affected by systemic racism and inequality. Applications are due by Sunday, July 13. Details here.