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Between 2005 and 2009, the Dream Fund awarded over $12 million in grants to 43 organizations. Some of the Fund's projects are highlighted below. For more information on each particular grantee's Dream Fund-supported work, please visit their profile page in our Grantee Directory.
The National Dream Fund supported a diverse set of projects, including those providing affirmative action trainings and assistance to grassroots groups, as well as organizations that developed innovative local models capable of replication in other regions. Examples include:
- A joint project between the national ACLU and the African American Policy Forum to provide trainings on effective communications strategies to advance race- and gender-conscious policies.
- The production of a documentary film by Firelight Media entitled ARISE: The Battle Over Affirmative Action, which included a digital toolkit addressing the history and ongoing debates surrounding affirmative action. The toolkit, consisting of three DVD modules and a website, was designed to direct affirmative action supporters to organizations engaged in affirmative action advocacy.
- Advocacy efforts by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area to preserve public programs that promote racial and gender diversity in California despite the passage of an anti-affirmative action state ballot measure, Proposition 209.
- A project by the Gamaliel Foundation that monitored the implementation of first source and affirmative action hiring requirements of federally-funded transportation contracts in six localities.
- An advocacy campaign by the Center for Community Alternatives to document employment and education barriers experienced by people with criminal records in three states, and to advocate for policy changes on issues that disproportionately affect communities of color.
- Research by the University of Pittsburgh's Center on Race and Social Problems to identify strategies for public agencies in Boston and Chicago - including cities, counties, and school districts - to increase their contracting with minority- and women-owned businesses.
The Strategic Opportunities Fund provided ten grants to address challenges to equal opportunity at the state level. These included supporting public opinion research to inform communications and organizing strategies; communications trainings for Dream Fund grantees and allied organizations; and meetings of national and regional advocates to develop strategies for preserving and expanding affirmative action programs.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Dream Fund provided over $1.7 million in grants to two large-scale projects between 2006 and 2010. The first project, a school finance reform campaign, resulted in the State of Pennsylvania changing its education funding formula to reduce inequities between school districts, and to increase state expenditures for K- 12 education. The second project supported a community organizing effort to establish and implement a community benefits agreement for a large-scale private development in Pittsburgh. The agreement requires the developer to provide training, employment and other economic benefits to nearby residents, who live in a low-income neighborhood with a large African American population.
The California Dream Fund awarded close to $1 million between 2005 and 2008. Funding supported collaboration that documented the impact of the state's Proposition 209, advocated for policies to mitigate its harmful effects, and educated the public about the need for reform. Other grants from this regional fund included support for an effort to increase the number of Latinos in the health profession, the development of a parent organizing network in Greater Los Angeles to address public education issues, and a higher education program for incarcerated individuals in San Quentin State Prison.
The Minnesota Dream Fund provided $500,000 in grants between 2005 and 2009 aimed at eliminating systemic barriers to educational achievement by people of color, tribal communities and women. The grants went to members of two large collaborations. The first, known as the Brown Power Base Project, was a coalition of grassroots, research, policy, and legal advocacy groups that pushed for broad systemic changes in the state's education system and greater racial integration. The coalition attempted to link the interests of African American and Latino communities, using applied research, organizing, and legal advocacy strategies. The second collaboration was the Education Equity Organizing Project, which increased participation in school reforms by leaders and parents in the Native American, Somali, Latino, Hmong and African American communities. The project addressed a range of issues, such as the quality of teaching, overcrowded classrooms, low expectations of students, and inappropriate referrals to special education.
The North Carolina Consortium provided grants to four organizations to increase access and opportunities in education, housing, and employment.
The Colorado Consortium funded organizations to conduct a statewide public education campaign on affirmative action, training spokespeople and volunteers, and providing support to a wide range of groups to support the preservation of these programs.
The Chicago Consortium provided a grant to a legal organization to address discriminatory and exploitative work conditions faced by Latino and African American workers. The grantee filed class action lawsuits to challenge systemic discrimination and provided pro bono representation in individual cases.
Finally, the Michigan Consortium supported activities to engage African American alumni of the University of Michigan to help carry out the university's efforts to maintain a diverse student population.
Photo: The 2008 National Fulfilling the Dream Fund Convening in Denver, CO.