When I started working at the RFC more than a dozen years ago, in July of 2007, my first role was the granting coordinator. I spent six years in that job, which focuses on working with beneficiary families: helping them apply for grants and answering their questions about the process, sending payment to providers of the services we fund, doing outreach to potential new applicants and presenting applications to the Board for their review. I enjoyed the work and my father – RFC Founder and Former Executive Director Robert Meeropol – and I both thought it would be critical hands-on training for me to take over for him as Executive Director, which I did in the fall of 2013.
The core work of the RFC is supporting the children of targeted activists and young activists who faced harassment for their own organizing efforts, so spending time getting to really know the families who make up our grantee community was a critical part of understanding what the RFC is and what we do. As a bonus, I met so many amazing people and made strong, meaningful connections.
I was reminded of how much I enjoyed those connections this spring when I provided some coverage of the granting work. I stepped back into this role while our current granting coordinator, Tori, traveled to Honduras to reconnect with friends and colleagues she had to leave when the program she was working with abruptly shut down in the spring of 2020 due to the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
The majority of my granting work this spring involved following up with a few applicants who were either submitting new applications or faced unique challenges in requesting renewed support. At the RFC we often talk about how we try to treat our beneficiary families as individuals, understanding that no one form or process will work for everyone. While we put time and energy into crafting applications and other materials for the families we fund which are as user friendly as possible while providing the information we need to make funding decisions and process grants, we also are small enough to be able to make exceptions as needed and try to meet people where they are.
This spring, that meant that when I spoke with a potential applicant about applying for funding for her grandchildren based on her own and her son (the boys’ father’s) activism and targeting and she confessed that she just couldn’t bring herself to document her son’s experience on the application, I was able to schedule a time for us to talk on the phone so I could talk through the application with her. It was a simultaneously painful and inspiring experience; I felt horrible asking questions which had her reliving the pain her son and their entire family experienced when he was targeted by police and others in their small town, but I also heard how hopeful she was that grant support could make a real difference in the lives of her grandchildren and perhaps provide some healing for the entire family.
I experienced similar emotions corresponding via phone and email with an activist father whose children have received support for a number of years. The targeting he experienced, which included being severely beaten by police, left him partially paralyzed and unable to complete an application by himself.
Taking parts of the application over the phone and hearing the appalling treatment the family and especially their children were dealing with was really hard; I found myself at a loss for words several times during our conversation. But as with the new applicant, I was struck by how committed this dad was to continuing to fight for his children; his insistence on doing so in collaboration with other individuals and organizations working to change the system that was failing and traumatizing his family; and his hope that grant funding for the children's therapy and education could make a real difference for the entire family.
I’m grateful for the time I was able to spend this spring reconnecting with some of the strong, resilient, caring people who are part of the RFC beneficiary community. I’m glad that I spent my first years at the RFC getting to know so many of them and learn from their experiences. And I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to find ways to stay connected to the people at the center of our work. They’re such a big part of why I continue to feel like I have a fabulous job.
I think that’s wonderful, Jenn.
If I can be of any help to you either in person or telephonically please just call me.
Good luck xoxo
Your most recent blog
Your charity is one of my favorites, and the grants you give to families are invaluable!
The Continuing Work
I was becoming politically aware and a beginning activist at the time your grandparents were being targeted, so my memories of the time are vivid. My history is as an organizer and supporter rather than being on the front lines, so I have been delighted to be able to send more substantial support your way recently as my work at The Resistance Center winds down. The stories you hear are a reminder of the brutality that "civilization" is founded upon. Your work is part of our hope for a better future.
Thank you so much for all do! RFC is such an amazing program, that helped family like mine. My family was targeted my ICE, lead me and husband Clive with our 2 younger children to hide out in 2 different churches for almost 3 years. This program help us a lot. Please keep up the great work, because folks like us need great people like you guys in our corner!…
Jennifer Ethel Meeropol, Stepping Up Her Noble Cause Commitments
My 3-special needs minor autistic children are very blessed that they are merely 3-children among thousands of other very satisfied and forever grateful grant recipient clients of Rosenberg Fund For Children.
I, as the totally disabled father of my much beloved 3-children I had been all along for many years very observant and have been witnessing of all the supports and services that this THE MOST GREATEST America's charity organization of "Rosenberg Fund For Children" have been achieving and providing to the most vulnerable children through their MOST admirable America's charity organization through their totally praiseworthy missions, goals and objectives.
Equally so, it is applaudable that this VERY NOBLE human rights charity organization of "Rosenberg Fund For Children" commitment of all along been advocating to the vulnerable children with its greatest legendary and legacy of the each and every single one of their very honorable, reputable, distinguished and very respectable immediate family members of all the Founder of RFC, Robert Meeropol, his wife Ellen Meeropol, his brother Michael Meeropol and his daughters of Jennifer Ethel Meeropol and Rachel Meeropol, as well as all other honorable child advocates public servants of all the RFC-Board of Directors, all the RFC-Advisory Boards and all the other RFC-Staffs.
It is heroic what this noble cause RFC organization and foundation has been providing all along for over 3-decades for the educational and emotional needs of children in this country whose parents have been harassed, injured, jailed, lost jobs or died in the course of their progressive activities.
It is also equally so commendable that the RFC grants and funds also supports youth who have been targeted for their own activism. It is distinctive that RFC has awarded almost $6 million in grants to benefit more than a thousand vulnerable children with their various wide angle noble cause supports and services.
So dear Honorable Jennifer Ethel Meeropol, your multi task oriented of being both an outstanding, caring and loving RFC-Executive Director Founder proof RFC and also your Praiseworthy Grant Work is doubly good and is actually a stepping up to your all along steadfast commitment to this all along noble cause of RFC of providing vital programs and services for vulnerable children that you and RFC has been all along for more than 3-decades.
Dear Jennifer, we, your client's vulnerable children and their targeted parents are forever grateful to you and all others at greatest public servants and child advocates at the RFC. We the RFC beneficiary community are forever appreciative from you and all others at RFC.
Every single one of the RFC recipient children are indeed SO blessed to know you dear Jennifer and others grassroots public servants RFC staffs with all your all along caring, loving and noble causes whom every single one of you had been just like a family to us the beneficiary of RFC.
Dear Jenn, many many thanks what you and all others RFC heroes stands for, have done, are doing and will surely continue to be doing. May GOD continue blessing you and all your whole families.
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