The mission of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is to engage Ben & Jerry’s employees in philanthropy and social change work; to give back to our Vermont communities; and to support grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice around the country.
The Foundation awards about $1.8 million annually to eligible organizations across the country and in Vermont. The philanthropy of the Foundation is led by Ben & Jerry’s employees who serve on committees that review grants.
Here are several grant recipients who are making strides to change the world:
Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is a statewide coalition of grassroots organizations working to reduce the number of people in prisons and jails, reduce the number of prisons and jails in the state and shifting state and local spending from corrections and policing to human services. CURB amplifies the work of community leaders on issues of conditions of confinement, fighting prison expansion, as well as sentencing reform. CURB bridges movements for environmental, social, racial and economic justice. Their work highlights familial impacts of imprisonment on communities in California and across the nation.
Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa
The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJ) organizes and unites low-wage workers across race, ethnicity and immigration status to pursue social and economic justice through education, leadership development and issue-based organizing. CWJ is in the midst of a multi-pronged campaign focused on combating wage theft while ensuring that immigrants who speak out about abuses do not face retaliation or threats of deportation.
Clean Air Coalition of Western New York
The Clean Air Coalition (Clean Air) is an environmental health and justice organization in Buffalo, New York. Clean Air organizes low-income and working people to win policies that protect public health, the environment and advance equity. Clean Air values leadership development, democratic decision-making and justice. The Climate Justice for Tonawanda campaign’s goal is to ensure a responsible retirement of the coal plant in Tonawanda, New York, which has contributed to high levels of air pollution and cancer rates in the area.
DRUM - South Asian Organizing Center
DRUM - South Asian Organizing Center (formerly DRUM - Desis Rising Up & Moving) is a multi generational, membership-led organization of low-wage South Asian immigrant workers, youth and families organizing for immigrant, workers and education rights locally and nationally. DRUM builds the power of people directly affected to win institutional change for immigration, education, economic and racial justice through leadership development and grassroots policy campaigns. DRUM organized people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Guyana, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, and the South Asian diaspora.
Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement
Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA) is a member-led organization with 333 members (the majority of whom are ex-prisoners) along with allies, friends and family coming together to create resources and opportunities for those who have paid their debt to society. EPOCA’s Jobs NOT Jails campaign is a coalition-building effort to create a public groundswell to stop Massachusetts from building new prison units, by enacting a package of criminal justice reforms. Along with coalition allies, EPOCA are petitioning the MA government to halt prison construction until these reforms can take effect and re-direct the $2 billion saved into jobs creation and training, targeting communities with the highest rates of long-term unemployment, poverty and crime.
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) utilizes community organizing, leadership development, political education and media campaigns to develop grassroots leadership within the immigrant community in Georgia. GLAHR's mission is to continue to build a powerful network of informed and engaged community members through base-building strategies that defend and advance the civil and human rights of Latinos, immigrants and all people of color living in the Southern United States.
JuntosJuntos is a Latino immigrant community-led human rights organization that builds power in the Greater Philadelphia area for the community. Juntos addresses issues ranging from education reform, college access, youth organizing, immigration and public safety. By combining leadership development, community organizing and focused collaborations with other advocates, Juntos works to help the Latino immigrant community develop the necessary tools to become active participants in civic life and socially-conscious leaders in the fight for human rights.
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) is a grassroots community-based organization that strives to improve the environment and lives of Little Village residents and Chicago residents at large. LVEJO accomplishes this through an inter-generational model of democracy in action. It involves and mobilizes families, workers, and neighbors in community efforts to improve the local environment, while building their knowledge and skills in participating in democratic processes. LVEJO’s ongoing efforts for environmental justice in their community engages fellow community members in a series of conversations and popular education projects aimed at developing a grassroots vision for increased open spaces and a renewable energy economy in Little Village.
New York State Tenants & Neighbors Information Service
Tenants & Neighbors is a grassroots organization that helps tenants build and effectively wield their power to preserve at-risk affordable housing and strengthen tenants' rights through organizing, education, leadership development, grassroots mobilization and policy and legislative advocacy. The Tenant Leadership Institute is a four-month intensive pilot leadership development training program for a core group of low to moderate income tenant member leaders, giving them skills to fight against displacement and gentrification. Participants will carry out specific leadership to get rent laws renewed and strengthened before their scheduled sunset in June of 2015. Strengthening the rent laws is critical in preserving neighborhoods and addressing the underlying causes of loss of affordability.
Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER)
Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER)’s mission is to build the power of poor and working class families in Philadelphia to address poverty, inequality and injustice through grassroots organizing. POWER achieves its mission via leadership development, skills training, bridge-building between diverse communities and specific organizing campaigns aimed at amplifying the voice of low-income communities and winning concrete policy changes that will improve lives in significant ways.
Student Immigrant Movement
The Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) is a statewide, immigrant youth-led organization based in Massachusetts. They identify, recruit and develop leaders in local cities and towns who are invested in ending discrimination and roadblocks for immigrants, creating pathways to higher education for undocumented students, and improving communities through relational building, leadership development, electoral organizing and using both strategic and motivational campaigns that build movement. SIM was founded by and for undocumented students who were facing the challenge of growing up in a country that doesn’t recognize them, and trying to imagine and create a future for themselves despite being shut out of opportunities. SIM holds a space for these young people to lead campaigns, to act together to transform their communities and improve their lives through public narrative, relational building and hands on issue organizing.
United Workers Association
The United Workers Association (UWA) is a human rights organization led by the poor to end poverty. UWA is run by low-wage workers who develop leaders and organize for systemic change through community-driven accountability campaigns altering power structures and impacting workers’ lives. UWA builds membership across multiple issues and barriers to transform economic development in Maryland from a failed trickle down approach to a Fair Development model based on meeting basic human needs. The work is focused on bringing low income communities together to win living wage jobs, permanently affordable housing, and securing healthy, sustainable communities through a variety of strategic campaigns
Western Lands Project
The goal of Western Lands Project (WLP) is to keep America’s public lands public. Public lands include National Parks, National Forests, Wilderness Areas, National Monuments and many other designated open spaces and wild lands. WLP is currently addressing the environmental impacts of siting Industrial Solar plants in the dessert. WLP scrutinizes public land trades, sales, giveaways and any project that would cede public land, as well as the impacts on habitat and wildlife, natural resources, land use and communities. Their strategy to stop the privatization of public lands varies from reacting to harmful proposals, to proactively advocating for national reform.