I love making grants to help the children of targeted activists, but the story behind each award can fill me with a wide range of emotions. The Rosenberg Fund for Children’s (RFC) Board made a grant last month that produced a stew of intense responses in me.
(Guest blog by Jenn Meeropol, RFC Associate Director)
It’s been a very busy few weeks at the RFC. My father has been on the road (to Portland, OR for a successful RFC party and then to Paris for international anti-death penalty work). Meanwhile, the postmark deadline for fall applications is today (October 13th) so I’ve been busy fielding inquiries from potential new and current beneficiary families.
In my first blog as executive director of the RFC I reflected on Michelle Alexander’s commitment to “getting out of [her] lane” and broadening her focus from mass incarceration to the systems (racism, classism, militarization, etc.) that support and sustain the growth of the prison industrial complex.
We’re in the midst of making our fall grants. During my six-plus years as granting coordinator this was both a favorite and difficult time of the year. I enjoyed hearing from the families we support, especially since many of them include updates about both their situations and their children with their requests for funding. But it’s also difficult to read the stories of hardship and on going trauma to children and families.
My most recent blogs have focused on possible new directions for the RFC. I also shared a lovely letter from a beneficiary family expressing their appreciation for aid for their young daughter. And they explained why, now that the crisis had passed for them, they chose to not request support this fall in the hopes that it would leave funds available for other families in more immediate need of assistance.
We’re in the midst of our spring granting cycle this month at the RFC. We’ve made our first of two sets of awards. Already, three families and one targeted activist youth have joined our community as new grant recipients. These new grantees include:
In July 2012, my father wrote a blog about the post-9/11 militarization of the police and the seemingly endless instances of them turning their arsenal on peaceful protestors. He concluded that this police assault, “amounts to the United States government’s declaration of war on a portion of its population” and went on to note the ways that racism and classism influence the individuals and communities most likely to suffer these attacks.
We just completed awarding our last grants of 2014 at the RFC. In all, seven new grantees joined the RFC community this fall (five families and two targeted activist youth). I described some of these families in an earlier post here). The additional new grantees include:
We just completed awarding our first grants of 2015 at the RFC. In all, seven new grantees joined the RFC community this spring (five families, one targeted activist youth and one group). The new grantees include:
In the fall of 2015 four new families received their first RFC grants. Including the seven new recipients in the spring, almost a dozen families and targeted activist youth joined the RFC community last year. With the $370,000 we awarded in 2015, our total granted since our founding has reached almost $6 million!
The new beneficiaries include:
Today is the anniversary of my grandparents’ executions. As it approached, I prepared the statement below reflecting on the date’s significance. Many members of the Rosenberg Fund for Children network have firsthand memories of the grief and fear the executions elicited among left-wing progressives at the time – a community that felt very much under attack in that moment in history. Sixty three years later I still hear from people who were shaken to their core, but whose response was to resist the repression they were experiencing.
We’re in the midst of awarding our first grants of 2017 at the RFC. To date, four new grantees have joined the RFC community this spring and additional new applications are pending. So far, the new grantees include:
We just finished awarding over $190,000 in grants for the first half of 2017. In addition to the four new beneficiaries discussed in my previous blog , three more new families have joined the RFC community this spring. These new grantees include:
On this 64th anniversary of the execution of my grandparents, I’m struck by a related milestone that passed without fanfare a few months ago: the 60th anniversary of my dad and uncle’s adoption by Anne and Abel Meeropol. Taken together, these events capture the spirit of the Rosenberg Fund for Children. My father founded the RFC to honor his birth parents’ resistance and to repay the community which allowed him and his older brother to flourish despite the devastation visited on their family.
We’re in the midst of awarding our fall 2017 grants. To date, six new grantees have joined the RFC community and additional new applications are pending. So far, the new grantees include:
On today’s anniversary of my grandparents’ execution, I’m thinking about two-year-old Angel and his big brother Bryan, who don’t understand why they can’t live with both parents anymore.
Everyone at the RFC sends their love and sympathy to those of you who are experiencing hardship or loss related to the current crisis. I also want to thank the many of you who have sent us messages of solidarity and concern or continued to donate to support our work. I’m so grateful to you for being part of the remarkable community we have relied on for three decades.
I want to provide an update on the RFC, our plans for our 30th anniversary, our spring grants, and our general operations.
This spring the RFC awarded:
67 grants totaling $149,610 to support 151 kids from 75 families, including a group grant for a music therapy program
An additional, special grant of up to $18,400 for$200 individual grocery gift cards to all current families who are eligible for our grant funding. So far, we’ve sent cards to 57 families to help support 116 kids.
That brings to total granted by the RFC to over $7.5 million!
This has felt like the longest, most monumental election of my lifetime. While I am enormously grateful that Trump was defeated, the level of support for him and his hateful, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, anti-science policies shows how much remains to be done to create a more just and equitable society. The impact of these policies will linger into 2021 and beyond despite the election results.