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Congratulations to the 2019 Seed Fund grantees!

The RSF Seed Fund offers small grants of $500 – $3,500 to nonprofits/new initiatives that offer innovative solutions to furthering the field of social finance or addressing issues in one of our three focus areas: food & agriculture, education & the arts, or climate & environment.

The fund is advised by a rotating group of staff members each Spring who review the proposals and decide which projects will receive grants. These cross-departmental committee members get a chance to participate in the grantmaking process, and our diverse professional backgrounds and expertise ensure that we have a fresh perspective in each grantmaking cycle.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing my reflections in a blog post on this year’s grantmaking cycle. As a new member of the Philanthropic Services team, it was encouraging to see the incredible diversity of projects across the country. Congratulations to this year’s recipients and thank you to all the wonderful organizations who applied –we are grateful for your work in your communities!

National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3)

Durham, NC

NC3’s mission is to democratize financial systems, where empowered citizen investors catalyze the growth of locally-rooted ventures creating economic opportunity for all. NC3 is part network, part think-tank, and part collaborative formed by a group of entrepreneurs, investors, legal and financial professionals, educators, journalists, researchers, and committed citizens, who have come together to address specific gaps in the shift towards a more sustainable economy. NC3 is specifically committed to the intentional inclusion of communities and entrepreneurs historically excluded due to class, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. The Seed Fund Grant will be used to begin building an online library of community capital resources, including how-to-guides, case studies, and sample offering documents to support community investment and local economic development movements around the country.

Just Bakery of Atlanta

Atlanta, GA

Just Bakery of Atlanta is a non-profit that partners with their community’s refugee neighbors on paid job training, professional certification, and a living wage towards their long-term economic security. Just Bakery of Atlanta provides Financial Literacy training programs and professional credentialing to meet the needs of those in the long-term resettlement process. They bake with local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible, and aim to build a more diverse, compassionate, and connected community. The Seed Fund Grant will support costs for the ServSafe Food Handlers Certification program and Financial Literacy training.

The Arete Project

Gustavus, AK

The Arete Project is an educational nonprofit that trains a diverse generation of leaders for lives in environmental and civic leadership. Based at the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park, their programs immerse young people in Southeast Alaska’s natural and human communities, endowing them with meaningful responsibilities, and empowering them to create positive change in the world. All students participate in for-credit college coursework, perform 20 hours of service each week, and help craft their own educational experience through a democratic self-governance program. The Seed Fund Grant will help expand and enrich the new Tlingit Traditional Ecological Knowledge curriculum to help young leaders think expansively about their commitment to their communities.

San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition

Alamosa, CO

Since 2009, the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition has been working to create a stable and equitable local food system in the San Luis Valley of Colorado by supporting small-scale producers and cultivating connections between local food and the community. In performing this work, they have found that a consistent obstacle hinders progress: access to information. Whether it is a school’s food service director in need of knowledge around local procurement directly from farmers, or a resident’s lack of understanding around vegetable preparation to support their dietary needs, this lack of information guides much of what they do. The Seed Fund grant will respond to this need for access by supporting the construction of a bilingual resource guide for small-scale producers in the San Luis Valley.

The Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City (CEANYC)

New York, NY

The Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City strengthens and expands community-led, democratically-controlled initiatives — from worker, financial, and consumer co-ops to community land trusts and gardens, mutual housing, and low-income housing co-ops. They provide support for cooperatives and solidarity enterprises through training, leadership development, technical assistance, micro-grants, research, and advocacy. The Seed Fund Grant will support CEANYC in delivering anti-racism and gentrification training for food co-ops.

Native Women Lead

Albuquerque, NM

Native Women Lead’s mission is to revolutionize systems and inspire innovation by investing in Native Women in business.  One way they do this is through the launch of The Native Women’s Business Summit. This convening provides a comprehensive platform for Native women to come together and share their collective experiences through leadership panels, networking, and hands-on skill building breakout sessions. The Seed Fund Grant will be used to provide childcare for attendees of the Native Women’s Business Summit so that all mothers can attend.

Phat Beets Produce

Oakland, CA

Phat Beets Produce aims to create a healthier, more equitable food system in Oakland and beyond by providing affordable access to fresh produce, facilitating youth leadership in health and nutrition education, and connecting small farmers to urban communities. They achieve this through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), community farm stands, markets, and youth entrepreneurship programs. The Seed Fund Grant will support 8 East Oakland Youth in creating and launching their own healthy food business through the Green Eatz Youth Entrepreneurship Program.

Teach By Tech

Arvada, CO

Teach by Tech is an organization that empowers vulnerable populations, especially women and girls, by using innovative technology to increase the accessibility of business education, entrepreneurial skills, and financial literacy proficiency. Through financial literacy classes and mentoring, Teach by Tech equips individuals with the resources they need to attain economic empowerment and realize self-sufficiency. The Seed Fund grant will support a financial literacy training program serving newly arriving female immigrants in the Denver metro area.

Emma is a program associate on RSF’s philanthropic services team.

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