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All the things that truly matter: love, kindness, creativity, beauty, joy.
We are Honored to Present Our 2021 KABF Grant Recipients!
Orange County Civic Engagement Table
"The fight for the right to vote is something that should cut across every demographic, every ideology, every community. We are a stronger nation when we allow people to participate." — Stacey Abrams
KABF wanted to support racial justice efforts in Orange County, which is the third largest county in California with over 3 million residents. In 2021, KABF gave a grant to Orange County Civic Engagement Table (OCCET) in support of their get-out-the-vote and voter engagement efforts. Founded in 2012, OCCET works hard to ensure that low-income communities, people of color and underrepresented groups have a seat at the table.
For more information on OCCET, click here.
“It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected, all over the world.”
— Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, former Icelandic Prime Minister and the first openly gay head of state
Since our inception in 2011, KABF has been actively supporting nonprofits committed to social justice. In 2021, we were happy to award a grant to the nonprofit Equality Arizona. Arizona has the fourth largest LGBTQ+ population in the United States. Equality Arizona envisions an Arizona freed from abuse and oppression of the LGBTQ+ community. They see empowered members of their community thriving in all sections of society.
For more information on Equality Arizona, click here.
"80% of blindness is treatable or preventable." — Violet Sees
Violet Sees is a nonprofit organization started by the family of Susan Whitford, a childhood friend of KABF Director Debra Hannula. After being born blind, Susan’s granddaughter Violet was able to have two surgeries to correct the bilateral cataracts that were in both of her eyes at birth. She sees her specialist every six months and her parents report that “she’s a happy, healthy, energetic little girl.”
Since her diagnosis, Violet’s family has come to understand that one in four children are affected with vision issues. Despite how common vision issues are, less than 20% of children have a comprehensive eye exam by the first grade. Formed in 2016, Violet Sees is “working to eliminate preventable blindness from childhood by helping families connect with programs and services so that all children get the best vision care possible.” This includes funding eye exams and glasses; working to expand early detection and improve vision screening programs; and supporting research on the best treatments possible for childhood vision conditions.
For more information on Violet Sees, click here.
"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came. " ― John F. Kennedy
By KABF Director Eric Martincavage
For me, the ocean is everything. That’s why I live as close to it as possible. My first memory of a field trip in school is looking at creatures in tide pools. It’s the sandcastle my sister helped me build on the beach that I live near today. I wanted to be on the ocean, which made deciding to serve in the Coast Guard easy for me. Sailing from the Arctic to the Antarctic, I saw the most beautiful oceans and stunning beaches. They captivated my heart and soul and continue to bring me peace and joy today. Unfortunately, no matter how far you travel by boat and wherever your destination, you will find garbage washed up on a beach or floating in a harbor. Even at the ends of the earth, there is no escaping plastic. Our friends at the nonprofit 5 Gyres are dedicated to researching the impact of plastic on oceans and the environmental damage that it is causing.
For more information on 5 Gyres' important work, click here.
Father Roy Bourgeois
“Without fail, she reveals her presence. Without fail, she brings us to our own perfection.” — Tao Te Ching
Billboards and newspaper ads in neighborhoods throughout the United States proclaim: “Stop Male Supremacy in the Catholic Church! Ordain Women Priests!” The ad and billboard campaign is just the latest effort by human rights advocate Roy Bourgeois in his never ending quest for justice and equality through nonviolent action. Undeterred by the pandemic, Roy brainstormed with like-minded activists, including women priests, on how to continue to advocate for women’s ordination when travel and in-person town halls and gatherings were deemed unsafe. The ad and billboard campaign struck them as a perfect way to continue to get their message out and abide by their belief that “silence equals consent.” It is a belief that has guided Roy throughout his life; when he sees an injustice, Roy is never silent.
For more information on Roy's history and work, click here.
Law Forward Inc.
"As we move into 2022, Law Forward will remain true to its mission to protect and advance democracy. We will remain focused on the active fights for fair maps and maintain safe and fair elections while also standing at the ready to fight any potential future attacks on democracy in Wisconsin."
— Jeff Mandell
Wisconsin is a state that swings politically from the very progressive to the Trumpian ultraconservative. The worst example of the Trump influence was the crusade in Wisconsin to destroy democracy by undermining and challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Joe Biden won. Once Trump lost, Republican operatives went into overdrive to contest the results. Republicans are working hard to pretend to correct an election problem that does not exist. Their focus includes intimidating election workers and changing voting policies until they come out ahead. Republican lawyers have filed multiple lawsuits attempting to destroy the voting reforms that made it easier for people to vote in Wisconsin during the pandemic. In the midst of all of this, Jeff Mandell, a Wisconsin attorney, founded the nonprofit litigation firm Law Forward. Their mission is to “preserve fundamental democratic principles; revive Wisconsin’s traditional commitment to clean and open government; and promote a progressive vision through impact litigation, administrative process, and public education.”
For more information on Law Forward, click here.
Michigan Civic Education Fund
"Right now, voting rights are under attack in states across the country, including right here in Michigan. Our democracy works when everyone can be heard, when every eligible voter – no matter where they live or who they support – has safe, convenient, and secure access to the ballot. In states across the country, people's voices are being silenced. Since the last election, [November 2020] legislatures have introduced 389 anti-voting bills and counting across 48 states. Protecting the right to vote is not a political or partisan issue. It is foundational to who we are."
— Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
The Michigan Civic Engagement Fund (MCEF) is a nonprofit whose mission is to “defend and improve government accountability, ethics and transparency” throughout Michigan.
Though most Michigan residents believe that the 2020 presidential election was a free and fair election, progressives still fear that Trump’s lie that it wasn’t could take root and more and more people may begin to doubt the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory. MCEF works to combat Trump’s Big Lie by refuting his misinformation campaign and strengthening voting rights.
For more information on MCEF, click here.
Rural Democracy Initiative
"I am a rural Latina. I was born, raised, and live in a rural community in Ohio, and I know what the perception is of rural America — that it's white and male. The reality is that there are many people of color who live in communities like mine, across the country. — Mónica Ramírez, attorney, activist and founder of Justice for Migrant Women
Sarah Jaynes has been a strategic political advisor to the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation since 2016. When we met her, she was working at the Progress Alliance of Washington. In 2021, KABF gave a grant in support of the Rural Democracy Initiative, where Ms. Jaynes now serves as executive director. Founded in 2018, the Rural Democracy Initiative recognized the need for progressives to invest in rural America where communities had been ignored and stereotyped as consisting only of conservative white voters. Ms. Jaynes informed us that 24% of rural residents are people of color. To invest in rural communities, Ms. Jaynes said they focus on racial justice and “seek partnerships with groups working in rural communities of color and with young people.” The Rural Democracy Initiative’s purpose includes empowering leaders in rural communities who care about social justice by connecting them with regional and national funders.
For more information on Rural Democracy Initiative, click here.
PA Alliance Foundation
"Since taking office, I've fought to expand voter access and investments in election security in Pennsylvania. We can't go backward. Now, more than ever, we must build on the progress we've made to protect voting freedoms, not tear them down for a big lie." — Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Pennsylvania Alliance Foundation (PAAF) is a nonprofit whose mission’s focus is voter engagement and advancing democracy throughout Pennsylvania. Since its formation in 2017, PAAF engages similar institutions to bring in grassroots partners with an emphasis on organizations led by Pennsylvanians of color.
While working with their partners, PAAF hopes to accomplish its goal “to expand access to the ballot through non-partisan voter education and mobilization.” To succeed, they focus on expanding voter registration across the state, especially voters of color, as well as educating people on when and how to vote.
For more information on the work that PAAF is doing, click here.