October Newsletter



Akonadi Newsletter

We can’t believe it is already October. This year is flying by, and as we begin to wrap up 2017, we are reflecting on wins, both local and national, but also on the challenges we face as a nation. Throughout it all, we are diligently staying the course along with our grant partners in the fight against racism. As a family foundation, since 2000 we have been investing in place-based organizing, racial equity policy advocacy, and culture shift to dismantle structural racism and build community power. We are excited to share our recent news and updates with you.

Akonadi President Lateefah Simon’s op-ed, entitled ‘Oakland must band together in fight against racism’ was published in the East Bay Times on Sept. 28. In it, Lateefah highlights Akonadi Foundation’s ‘So Love Can Win’ Community Response Fund, which opened on Aug. 31 and remains open through Nov. 15, 2017; applications are accepted on a rolling basis. One-time grants ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 are intended to spark imagination and seed efforts that contribute to creating healing and safety in Oakland’s communities of color. We encourage you to stay in touch with us as we continue our work for racial justice in Oakland.

In light of recent events, and at a time when the actions and rhetoric of national leaders threaten local communities of color, we want to support new ways to bring love, opportunity and power to everyone in Oakland, especially communities most affected by inequity and injustice.


We are excited to announce the first round of 2017 Grants Awards for #SoLoveCanWin! We are 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 response to this critical moment in Oakland and nationally, Akonadi Foundation launched the #SoLoveCanWin Community Response Fund, intended to advance opportunities for safety and healing in the Oakland communities most injured by racial inequity. Building safe and healed communities is a precondition for the sustained transformative change we seek. Today, we remain as committed as ever to racial justice movement building that strengthens the solidarity and intersectionality of our struggles.

Running from August 31-November 15, 2017, Akonadi Foundation’s#SoLoveCanWin Community Response Fund awarded the first round of ten grants in October, totaling $48,825. Many of the grants were given to organizations working with communities at the intersection of multiple oppressions including gender, sexual orientation, and age.

So Love Can Win 2016 Grantee Convening with Akonadi Staff
Photo Credit: Jean Melesaine

I’m already going into my fourth month here as Akonadi Foundation’s Beloved Community Fund Program Officer. It has been wonderful to dive deeply into learning more about how communities are using art and culture to advance racial justice in Oakland, and how the Beloved Community Fund can continue to support this important work. We know that cultural work is core to supporting our spiritual sustenance. Through trying times this work sustains us, and in good times, it continues to lift our spirits with joy as a reminder of our purpose. We hope that the Beloved Community Fund will continue to elevate the cultural work and voices of people of color and immigrant communities as a means to fortify our movement to create a just world. This work starts in our imaginations, with art and culture sowing hope and offering new ways of seeing. From here, we can build new systems that honor each of us and dismantle systemic racism.

As we near the end of 2017 we are wrapping up this year’s funding cycle for theBeloved Community Fund. This year we were honored to have supported somewonderful events here in Oakland. Our final BCF funding deadline is Oct. 20, and we look forward to kicking off another year of cultural funding in 2018.

In the meantime, I want to share a piece that was featured in the Dancers’ Group publication, In Dance. In this interview, I was asked to share a bit about myself and some thoughts on Oakland. We invite you to read the interview here.

BAY-Peace Interns Photo credit: Jim Best

The 16 racial justice organizations that are currently part of Akonadi Foundation’s Arc Toward Justice Fund (ATJ) are building collective power to shape the policies and systems that affect communities of color in Oakland. We at Akonadi lift up the work of our ATJ grantees through our monthly spotlight series; for our September installment, we featured Urban Peace Movement and BAY-Peace. Urban Peace Movement’s Prince White and BAY-Peace’s Leilani Salvador-Jones described their organizations’ work in Oakland.

Urban Peace Movement Members
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