Grants support the powerful people of color-led movement to transform youth justice in Oakland
June 30, 2020
Today, Akonadi Foundation announced All in for Oakland, a five-year, $12.5 million initiative to end the criminalization of Black youth and youth of color in Oakland. The initiative invests in an ecosystem of movement organizations that are mobilizing and organizing directly impacted people to win police-free schools, fix school discipline, close youth prisons, and realize other critical outcomes to transform youth justice in Oakland.
“Our job as funders is to support the movement leaders who have the courage and vision to radically imagine what safety looks like for our young people,” said Lateefah Simon, president of Akonadi Foundation. “This movement is vibrant and ready. We must invest for the long haul in the leaders and organizations that are making Oakland a racially just city where Black youth and youth of color can live healthy, free, and full lives.”
The eleven 2019-2020 grant partners are: Black Organizing Project, Urban Peace Movement, Young Women’s Freedom Center, East Bay Community Law Center, Youth Law Center, Dignity in Schools Campaign California, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, Justice Reinvestment Coalition, Flourish Agenda, Haywood Burns Institute, and Forward Change.
Each organization works to cultivate the power of young people and families who have been criminalized by the education and juvenile justice systems and to hold people in power accountable. The initiative resources people of color-led movement and base-building, organizing, and policy advocacy. It also supports culture and healing, data and research, legal strategy and communications — levers that movement-building organizations need to fuel and win transformational systems change.
All In for Oakland grant partners are working to resist and dismantle systems of punishment and criminalization that are harming Black youth and youth of color in Oakland, and to reinvest resources into youth development. For example, Black Organizing Project led the successful elimination of the Oakland Unified School District’s Police Department in partnership with other grant partners and Black youth and families in Oakland. A coalition of organizations are also pushing decision-makers to defund youth incarceration and instead invest in community alternatives.
The racial disparities in Oakland’s youth justice system are staggering and costly. While Black youth made up 26 percent of the Oakland Unified School District’s enrollment, they represented 73 percent of arrests. Of the young people detained at Alameda County’s two youth confinement facilities – Juvenile Hall and Camp Sweeney – the vast majority are young people of color. The county’s public data reflects that Black, Latinx, and Asian youth make up nearly 100 percent of Camp Sweeney’s population and 95 percent of the population in Juvenile Hall. The county spends nearly $500,000 per year to keep each young person behind bars, while Oakland spends $15,000 per child per year on public education.
Over the past 20 years, organizers have won significant victories that reverse decades of failed criminal and juvenile justice policies at the local and state levels. All In for Oakland builds on this history to meet the movement moment for racial justice by providing long-term, sustained, and comprehensive support. Akonadi Foundation is seeking philanthropic partners to join in support of movement-building and organizing, and building a youth development system in Oakland that prioritizes spending on health, education, trauma-informed care, and other youth and community needs.
About Akonadi Foundation
Akonadi Foundation supports powerful social change movements in Oakland that work to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society. Akonadi Foundation seeks to stop the criminalization of young people of color and promote responses to harm that nurture wellness and well-being. Since its founding in 2000, the Foundation has given over 1,800 grants totaling $43 million to nonprofit organizations, primarily in the Bay Area as well as across the country.