Established in 2002 as an initiative of Public Interest Projects, the Racial Justice Collaborative (RJC) was an umbrella alliance of charitable foundations and individual donors whose philanthropy was founded on the premise that nonwhite minorities in America continued to be oppressed by the institutional racism inherent in the nation’s political and economic systems. To address this problem, RJC funded “partnerships of lawyers and community organizations to use legal and other tools to achieve equity and fairer policies for communities marginalized by race, ethnicity and immigrant or citizenship status.”
All told, RJC made multi-year grant commitments totaling $6.1 million to 43 organizations in the U.S. These recipients advocated such measures as: increased spending on inner-city public school systems; major reforms to an allegedly racist criminal-justice system; a government-run, single-payer healthcare system; unfettered access to all welfare and ancillary benefits for legal and illegal immigrants alike; an easing of restrictions on immigration to the United States; civil-rights protections and higher wages for illegal immigrants in the underground work force; “economic justice” initiatives to redistribute wealth; “environmental justice” programs designed to compensate minority communities for the pollution that allegedly affects them disproportionately; race preferences, in the form of affirmative action policies, to counter the purportedly widespread employment discrimination that exists in the U.S.; and the protection of “voting rights and democratic participation” (i.e., eliminating Voter ID laws, making it easier for voters to register, and increasing opportunities for early voting).
RJC’s grant-making structure consisted broadly of two primary components:
(a) The National Fund was composed of foundations that, without any geographic restrictions, pooled their resources “to support partnerships between community organizations and lawyers working to address structural racism across the United States.”
(b) The State and Regional Funds — based in California, North Carolina, and Massachusetts/Rhode Island — sought to “seed local racial justice innovation in key geographic areas” while facilitating, like the National Fund, a synergy between community activists and attorneys.
In addition to its grant-making activities, RJC administered an intensive peer learning program designed to help grantees and donors alike to:
Their donors included the Ford Foundation, the Levi Stauss Foundation, the Maurice Falk Fund, the Open Society Institute, Philanthropic Collaborative and the Rockefeller Foundation. To view a list of additional funders of RJC, click here.
RJC has been inactive since 2008.