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Rosenberg Foundation Announces COVID Related Rapid Response Grants to Fight Mass Incarceration and Protect Immigrant and Farmworker Rights

The Board of Directors of the Rosenberg Foundation unanimously approved drawing from the foundation’s assets to increase its giving in 2020 to support organizations working to protect Californians most vulnerable to COVID-19 and its impacts. The foundation is awarding more than $550,000 in its initial round of rapid response grants in the areas of mass incarceration, immigrant rights and farmworker rights.

“The communities Rosenberg focuses on — undocumented immigrants, farmworkers and other low-wage workers, and incarcerated people — are being hit like never before by the health and economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Tim Silard, Rosenberg Foundation’s president. “They are at very high risk of infection, often cannot social distance, lack access to sanitation, PPE and health care, and have been the first to face job losses. Most cannot access any federal stimulus relief or unemployment benefits. Dipping into assets is a difficult decision for any foundation, especially when investments are down. Our Board of Directors took a courageous step in approving extra spending from the foundation’s assets to support our communities.”

As part of the rapid response grants, the foundation is awarding $150,000 to five organizations that are supporting workers who have been among the hardest hit by this crisis – the state’s 500,000-800,000 farmworkers. Those organizations are the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Faith in the Valley, Farmworker Justice, Lideres Campesinas, and the United Farmworkers Foundation. Rosenberg Foundation is making an additional $140,000 in grants to organizations supporting immigrants and low-wage workers, including a contribution to the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, which is distributing cash support to undocumented Californians.

The foundation is also awarding $260,000 in grants to eight organizations advocating to end mass incarceration, speed COVID-19 related releases from adult and juvenile prisons and jails, and provide emergency reentry support for those released. Grantees include Silicon Valley DeBug, Reform LA Jails, Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples, Young Women’s Freedom Center, Khmer Girls in Action, Starting Over, Inc., Initiate Justice, and the Safe Return Project. 

“Organizations that advocate for justice and opportunity for hard-hit communities are facing crisis-level strains,” said Silard. “Every organization we have spoken to is now in the business of providing some level of direct emergency support. Organizers and advocates are stepping up in courageous and tireless ways to protect lives and livelihoods. Extraordinary times call for an extraordinary response. Philanthropy, too, must do all it can to meet the demands of this moment.”

Since the COVID crisis began, the foundation has been connecting grantee partners to emergency resources. The foundation also has collaborated with peers in philanthropy in immigration, low-wage worker rights, and criminal justice to speed foundation funding to groups on the ground, and to push for public funding and changes in state and local policies.

For a full list of our grant partners, please visit the Rosenberg Foundation’s website:

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