The Racial Justice Fund was created to advance racial justice, equity, and inclusion across Muscatine and Louisa Counties. Community members, businesses, organizations, and churches interested in changing lives and being part of the solution may donate to this fund and have their dollars doubled through a $25,000 matching pledge by the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.
Funds will be granted to qualified, charitable organizations whose work acts as an accelerator to reduce barriers towards achieving racial justice and is centered on uplifting the most marginalized in our service area. To ensure we move forward collectively, and address a broad range of opportunities, priority will be given to:
- Grants that are collaborative across a networked alliance
- Grants that connect multiple issues or communities
- Applicant organization/networks who are led by people of color
Grant applications closed.
An Advisory Committee has been established for this fund, representing various county and community organizations including: UnityPoint – Trinity Muscatine Public Health, Muscatine Community College, Muscatine Center for Social Action, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), Diversity Center of Muscatine, and Stanley Center for Peace and Security. Additional members have been identified by the Committee each year to ensure diverse and representative membership.
Muscatine County is rated the 6th most ethnic and economically diverse County in Iowa, with Louisa County rated 8th, according to Niche.com. One-half of the children enrolled in Muscatine County schools, and nearly one-third of children in Louisa County schools, in 2019-2020 were non-white.
“The bedrock of the Community Foundation is improving the quality of life in Muscatine County. To this end, one of the five core values that drives our work is fostering a deep respect for all people across the community,” said Charla Schafer, Community Foundation Executive Director. “The Racial Justice Fund will serve as a catalyst by deepening conversations, engaging bold ideas in eliminating racial disparities, and expanding learning platforms to collectively build proximity and center the voices of those often overlooked. The work done today will strengthen lives and better our tomorrow.”
Funds awarded to date have benefited:
Flickinger Learning Center plans to illustrate special programming one week a month that will include a group read of a book written with either the main character from a different culture or about an invention that was created by a person of color or a woman. The remainder of the week will include activities, stories, media, art projects, that revolve around the identified topic.
Aligned Impact Muscatine’s Postsecondary Transition Action team is working with Strive Together, Institute for Health Improvement (IHI), and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to break down barriers and improve education systems to increase the number of Black, Latino, and low-income high school graduates completing academic requirements and effectively transitioning into a postsecondary environment. Various collaborative improvement techniques will be utilized. The grant supports improved timeliness of data access to strengthen outcomes.
The Diversity Service Center of Iowa plans to use the funds for the Minority Senior Program which assists seniors with retirement process, housing, financial supports, health, immigration, and US citizenship.
West Liberty High School Band program plans to use the grant to create the Los Cometas Mariachi band. Funding will be used for students of any socioeconomic status to participate in the program by funding all necessary instruments, instruction, and sheet music.
The West Liberty Public Library plans to use the funds to collect racially diverse books, online resources, and software to stream books in various languages, and to contract a local translator to translate the website, catalog and resources into Spanish.
The West Liberty School District plans to use the funds to purchase high interest and low reading level books for the 81 Spanish speaking students in ELL and their families.
UnityPoint Health-Trinity Muscatine plans to use the funds for development of a Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager to reduce racial and healthcare inequities in the Greater Muscatine area through targeted outreach into communities of color, development of educational content/resources, and providing training to prevent discriminatory healthcare practices.
The West Liberty Citizenship Program plans to use the funds to help with naturalization application costs, supplies, and fees.
Next Level Basketball plans to use the funds to reduce financial barriers with basketball program scholarships to provide equitable opportunity and increase the percentage of minority participants.
Salvation Army of Muscatine County Pathway of Hope plans to use the funds to assist in support of a Family Advocate Case Manager and translator in West Liberty; as well as a provide some assistance for client utility, rental, and transportation.