Archives of Carry it Forward, the RFC's newsletter, is published twice a year in March and September. Each edition describes every grant made in the most recent granting cycle, as well as recent events and other RFC news. View recent issues below.
“Things have been so insane and hectic here,” a parent wrote to us recently. Maybe you can relate. The old adage that the only constant in life is change resonates especially deeply right now, as we are repeatedly stretched - individually and collectively - beyond what we would have recently considered “normal.” The evidence is all around us, from kids who are continuing their education online, to those exploring new hobbies indoors or practicing soccer in the backyard instead of with their teammates.
Unprecedented. Extraordinary. Global Crisis. Pandemic. How quickly these terms have become clichés as we all try to capture the current moment. And yet, despite how overused they already are, they remain sadly accurate.
While we wish we it would have been possible to gather safely with members of our community to celebrate the RFC's 30th anniversary, we were thrilled to be able to offer a virtual program to mark this milestone.
Available at on a new 30th Anniversary page on our website here, the program consists of:
By Robert Meeropol, RFC Founder
The COVID-19 pandemic has sadly taken the lives of two vibrant, long-time supporters with special ties to the RFC; and a third beloved member of our community died this spring after battling numerous health issues. While we mourn their loss, we celebrate their remarkable lives and commitment to the fight for a more just world
Mom Assaulted $4200 for recreational activities, a computer and a Carry it Forward (CIF) award for the five children, ages 12 to 23, whose mom fought against the construction of a pipeline. She was physically attacked multiple times and received death threats against herself and her kids; eventually she moved to keep her family safe, which resulted in losing her income. NM
After more than 20 years on staff, the RFC’s Communications Director, Amber Black, left the organization this summer. Originally hired as the Public Relations Coordinator, Amber was an integral part of presenting the RFC to the public for the past two decades. She generated media coverage; produced hundreds of events around the country; wrote or edited the majority of our external-facing communications; and was very involved in fundraising.
1990 – 2010 (by Robert Meeropol)
In September 1990, I founded the RFC and became its first Executive Director. In the previous year, three dozen donors responded to my effort to raise start-up funds by taking a leap of faith and pledging to contribute annually for four years to enable me to work on this project full-time. The RFC made its first awards in May 1991. Two grants of $402.50 enabled two children of a political prisoner to attend summer camp. At that time, the RFC’s mailing list was under a thousand households.
The RFC will mark our 30th anniversary with a festive celebration on May 9th, 2020, headlined by our Advisory Board member, Angela Y. Davis, at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA. Poet Martín Espada (also an Advisory Board member), folk rockers The Nields, Robert and Jenn Meeropol, Board of Directors member José Ayerve, and former RFC grant recipients Leah Grady Sayvetz and Davíd Morales, will round out this very special evening honoring activism, resistance and the power of community, across generations.
As my father and I shared in The RFC at 30, this year is the RFC’s 30th anniversary. That means it’s also the 25th anniversary of one of our signature granting programs, our Attica Prison Visits, which began in 1995. In its first 10 years, we awarded a total of just over $87,000 from this program. In the last decade and a half, we awarded more than three times that amount, bringing the total for these grants to over $300,000.
Suspicious Fire at Social Justice Organization $5000 for a group grant for 19 kids from seven families to attend programming focused on leadership, justice and equity. Their parents are employees of a center for grassroots organizing and radical movement building that was attacked last spring. TN
We’re busy working on the final stages of a completely redesigned website. Not only will it have a sleek, contemporary look and be mobile friendly, it will also showcase exciting new tools and content including an interactive Rosenberg Case timeline, and an extensive archive of Strange Fruit-related material that we hope will become the premiere online spot for information about this iconic song. Look for an email announcement about the launch, or check www.rfc.org later this spring.
May 3, 2019, was the 100th anniversary of Pete Seeger’s birth. Pete was a beloved part of the RFC community, a generous founding member (with his wife Toshi) of our Advisory Board, and prior to that, a courageous supporter of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
To honor the centennial of this activist and folk music hero, we dug into our archives and also invited the public to share their memories and photos of Pete with us. We received hundreds of submissions including the sampling here, and compiled the recollections and images into a document you can view or download. In addition, you can find photos and stories on our Facebook or Instagram by searching for #PeteSeeger100.
The RFC turns 30 next year. Many of our supporters have been with us for most, if not all, of the past three decades but I bet even some of them may not know about a small but vital grant program: our group grants. The RFC has awarded over $7 million in our history. Of that, significant amounts went to support prison visits, young activists targeted for their own organizing efforts and Gathering programs.
During the past year, three new members joined the RFC Board. Claudia Quintero came to us last fall. A recent law school graduate, Claudia is a staff attorney for migrant workers at Central West Justice Center, which focuses on “cases involving humanitarian-based immigration law, employment rights, housing and homelessness issues, and access to public benefits.”
In celebration of the 2019 centennial of Pete Seeger's birth, fine art photographer Robert Floyd has produced a limited edition of nine, 13” x 19” prints of his candid 1979 photo of Pete Seeger at a protest at the Shoreham Nuclear Plant on Long Island. Sales will benefit the RFC.
Pipeline Protestor Imprisoned $4500 for school tuition for four children, ages seven to 13, whose environmental activist father shut down a pipeline to bring attention to the harm perpetrated by the fossil fuel industry. Their dad was charged with a felony and is currently awaiting trial. WI
In their final letter to my father and uncle, my grandparents wrote that they were comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after them.
More than 65 years later, the Rosenberg Fund for Children honors that trust by offering our community’s support to the children of targeted activists. As increasingly repressive forces take aim at those fighting for economic, racial, gender, environmental and social justice, our aid is more vital than ever.