Our Movement’s Love, Resiliency, and Fight

Akonadi Newsletter

December 20, 2018

From the President
$1.3 million awarded to Arc Toward Justice Grantees
Oakland, A Beacon of Cultural Brilliance
Investing in Healing and Safety


2018 proved to be a difficult year, challenged by untimely deaths of dear community members and an onslaught of repressive policies from the White House. In spite of these challenges, we remain in awe of our movement’s love, resiliency, and fight. Amidst indiscernible tragedy, Oakland continues to fight for its soul.

In 2018, the Akonadi Foundation was honored to partner with over 160 Oakland based organizations, giving grants totaling $3.2 million dollars. These investments supported efforts to curb criminalization of people of color through organizing and policy work, cultural work, healing, and integrated voter engagement strategies. 

As community members continue placing their bodies on the line for a just Oakland, Akonadi Foundation is committed to sharpening our investments in formations dedicated to ending the over policing and incarceration of people of color in our city. We look forward to building with our colleagues in philanthropy and our partners on the ground to advance racial justice in 2019.

Cheers to a New Year.

With gratitude and solidarity,
Lateefah Simon


Akonadi Foundation awarded over $1.3 million in grants to 12 organizations to advance racial justice movement building in Oakland through the Foundation’s Arc Toward Justice Fund. Launched in 2013, the Arc Toward Justice Fund has focused on long-term efforts to advance racial equity in Oakland and create a climate of compassion, respect, and dignity for young people in the city. This cohort of Arc Toward Justice grantees are driving policy and systems change to remove barriers to opportunity for communities of color in Oakland, in areas such as juvenile justice, the school-to-prison pipeline, and barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people, and build responses to harm that nurture wellness and well-being.

With a proven record of building power and local leadership in Oakland’s most marginalized communities of color and participating in coalitions and alliances, Arc Toward Justice fund grant partners are challenging structural racism through strategic policy and systems change and direct action. See full grantee list:


Studio Grand’s Under Oakland Skies
Photo: Jean Melesaine

By: Vanessa Camarena Arredondo, Program Officer

Oakland is a beacon of cultural brilliance and resistance, with communities of color and immigrant communities largely at the lead. As I look back at a year full of cultural vibrancy, purpose, and collective struggle, I am reminded that it is through these cultural movements that we build a racially just city together.

Through the Beloved Community Fund, Akonadi Foundation supported several projects and events to reclaim public space in Oakland. Urban Peace Movement’s youth led this year’s 510 Day March, kicking off a beautiful resurgence of Black presence and belonging at Lake Merritt. Studio Grand’s Under Oakland Skies showcased the talent of young Black musicians, along with the deep African legacy of the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, with beautiful outdoor concerts at Lake Merritt. Poet Marvin K. White curated the Sanctified Mic Series, a radical poetry and writing series to ‘re-frame and reclaim the sacred’ at the Oakland Peace Center. Oakland’s festivals, led by people of color, overflowed with love and pride. Festivals like the Pan African Festival, Umoja FestivalJuneteenth, the Black Eyed Pea Festival, and Malcolm X Jazz Festival are inspired by our city’s movement makers who lead the way as cultural ambassadors.



So Love Can Win Grant Partners with Akonadi Staff 
Photo Credit: Jean Melesaine

By: Iris Garcia, Program Officer

Akonadi Foundation is deeply committed to investing in and supporting community-based organizations and initiatives in Oakland that are on the front lines of racial justice movement building. In 2016, we launched the So Love Can Win fund in response to critical national and local events that challenged a sense of safety for communities of color. The intention was to spark imagination and seed a vision of a safe, healed, and racially just Oakland. In 2018, our people continue to face attacks — physical, mental, and spiritual — from systems, structures, and narratives of oppression. Through this fund, we have supported efforts to use cultural practices to create a sense of belonging, to offer restorative practices to replace a frame of fear and punishment, and to fortify racial justice leaders with spiritual nourishment for the long haul.

Akonadi awarded $5,000 grants to 23 groups between August and November 2018, totaling $115,000. We are proud to support organizations working to increase safety and provide healing to immigrants, queer and trans communities, youth of color and families harmed by police and gun violence. Neighborhood-based efforts to enhance community cohesion and solidarity are underway in East and North Oakland, and women of color are defending and healing themselves from gender-based violence. Frontline organizers are receiving ancestral wisdom to support sustainability in trying times. Over the past three years, we have witnessed ideas blossom into regular community offerings and seen culture bearers and community leaders build and deepen the ways they care for our people. Since 2016, we have granted $325,000 to grassroots efforts to create healing justice and a liberated vision of safety. In 2019 and beyond, we are committed to leveraging more resources to enhance belonging for communities of color in Oakland, to invest in healing alternatives to policing and criminalization, and to supporting our resilient movement leaders. Look for updates to our fund in early 2019.

See 2018 Grant Awards Here

Akonadi Foundation & Jordan Real Estate Investments Staff wishing you safe, restful, and happy holidays!


See more photos here from our 2018 Holiday Party
Credit: Jean Melesaine



Akonadi Foundation’s mission is to support the development of powerful social change movements to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society. We work to support and nurture racial justice movement building in Oakland by funding organizations and leaders fighting on the ground through grassroots organizing, culture shift, and policy change. Find out more about Akonadi Foundation here