News & Events
From the Executive Director
Fifteen years ago (Saturday, July 23rd) was my first day of work at the RFC. I came onboard as the granting coordinator, supporting beneficiary families in applying for and utilizing grants for their children. It’s hard to believe that was a decade and a half ago; this is by far the longest I’ve ever spent at a job and I have no plans to leave any time soon.
The project began in January 2021. We’d been locked down for almost a year. My fourth novel had been launched into a pandemic-scourged virtual-only environment. Racial injustice and climate catastrophe were vying for my activist attention. I was having a hard time writing new fiction or imagining anything getting better. I certainly wasn’t considering starting an entirely new kind of literary project.
My name is Konah Brownell, and I am a former grant recipient of the Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC) and an intern at the RFC this summer. I am originally from Liberia but have lived in Massachusetts for nearly five years. My family abruptly left Liberia on October 15, 2016, to avoid the terrifying threats made to my family due to my father’s activism. I was a month away from turning 15 and old enough to comprehend the significance of his work as an environmental and human rights attorney. However, I did not fully understand the hostile nature of his career. In 30 minutes, my family collected our lives in a suitcase, relocated to Ghana, and eventually moved to the United States. When I was uprooted from my home and forced to start anew in the United States, I realized that life can be erratic and that while I have no control over what happens tomorrow, I do have control over what I do now.
On this 69th anniversary of the execution of my grandparents, I’m struck by how many new beneficiary families have joined the Rosenberg Fund for Children’s community in the past few years and how simultaneously similar and so very different their children’s experiences are to what my dad and uncle faced more than 70 years ago.
By Tori Montemurro, Granting Coordinator
Each granting cycle brings a mixture of emotions as we receive updates on current beneficiary families and welcome new families to the RFC community. This granting cycle in particular was full of highs and lows. As mass protests and the ongoing health crisis have brought more focus to the social issues facing our society, we have seen an increase in targeting of activists across the country. This spring alone, we approved grants for twelve new families; they joined the 68 families we funded as renewals.