PAST & CURRENT GRANTEES

Learn more about the past and current projects and organizations that have received Sparkplug grants.

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2021 Spring Symbiosis PDX The Rose City Radical will be a monthly, locally based, cooperatively operated newspaper for and by working class community organizers in Portland, OR. The newspaper encourages anyone to contribute articles or even artwork on their experiences with the local movements for justice, liberation, and autonomy. While engagement with social justice organizing has recently blossomed in Portland, we lack a centralized space for dialogue, critique, and inspiration. Our radical newspaper project aims to fill that void by publishing articles that reflect on, debate, challenge, and create transformative action. Symbiosis PDX has established multiple mutual aid programs and collectively controlled grassroots initiatives in Rose City, demonstrating many opportunities for radical organizing not reliant on the capitalist economy and resistant to government co-optation. Through both physical newspapers – distributed by street vendors – and online supplements, the Rose City Radical facilitates constructive interaction and collaboration amongst local, working class community organizers. Website
2021 Spring U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) The U.S. Palestinian Community Network’s (USPCN’s) Palestinian Political Prisoners Advocacy Group is a national organizing project launched to organize communities around the issue of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. Two prominent activists in Palestine -- one a women’s rights organizer and the other a cultural worker -- are currently amongst the close to 5,000 Palestinians who have been jailed by Israel for their human rights work. The project will educate, organize, and mobilize Palestinian, Arab, and solidarity communities here to pressure the U.S. State Department to demand that Israel release them and all Palestinian political prisoners. Website
2021 Spring Donkeysaddle Projects (Abolition Learning Circles) Donkeysaddle Projects’(DSP) Abolition Learning Circles is a political education series, which teaches the history and praxis of prison, police, and death penalty abolition. We will utilize popular education pedagogy via facilitated, virtual workshops to guide artists, cultural workers and cultural organizers in sharpening their understanding of abolition, with a specific intent that their artistic platforms will then be used to elevate abolitionist visions. DSP will collaborate with ALC participants after their cohort’s workshops conclude to design creative community offerings around abolition. Website
2021 Spring Justice for Muslims Collective Our project is titled “Internalized Islamophobia: Unlearning the Oppression from Within,” and encompasses trainings designed to help Muslims understand and dissect the ways that they have been impacted by external Islamophobia. Specifically, the these trainings will focus on examining pervasive messages ranging from the inherent criminality of Muslims, to the idea that terrorism is inherent to Muslims, to the need for specialized interventions to deal with the Muslim threat. Using these and other messages as a starting point, the trainings will guide Muslim participants through a process of interrogating the specific ways that their beliefs may have been shaped by them, such as for example, condemning acts of terrorism as an act of collective responsibility prior to leveraging any criticism against the government or other actors invested in perpetuating Islamophobia. Website
2021 Spring Gathering Ground Theatre The Sparkplug Foundation grant will support Gathering Ground Theatre to develop, facilitate and implement the ArtsReponders project. The ArtResponders is a team made of people impacted by homelessness in Austin, TX who devise and perform relevant and timely interventions for housing justice advocacy events. Through a rapid process of campaign strategy assessment and socially-engaged performance making, the project aims to educate, uplift, and engage the public at events such as demonstrations, rallies, press conferences, and more. The arts-based training will focus on craft (writing, improvisation and facilitation), scholarship (growing critical consciousness within the group), and community engagement (with a focus on art making as a social practice that is adaptive, iterative, and responsive). The ArtResponders Project aims to maximize the impact of Gathering Ground’s popular education expertise to support organizing around housing justice issues in Austin, TX. Website
2021 Spring Copwatch Media COPWATCH.MEDIA is a community-based project that publishes articles and videos about law enforcement's effects on New York City's hyper-policed Black, Latinx and non-white communities. It also serves as a media watchdog for local and national news reporting that is deferential to law enforcement (copaganda and is building a grassroots-based police misconduct database. Website
2021 Spring Rural Women's Association The project seeks to protect the environment through education and practical trainings with children, youth, and women in the South Hebron Hills. We will: Create awareness about the environment Change the harmful environmental practices of the local community Enhance the spirit of initiative and innovation among young people and children to contribute to making a change, each according to his/her location, with focus on restoring the environment as much as possible Educate and train about waste exploitation, recycling and upcycling (converting waste into useful tools) Instill the importance of ​​agriculture because of its positive impact in promoting the sense of belonging to the environment, the land and the homeland. Increase communication, cooperation, and learning with local institutions concerned with the environment Make an impact in the local community and public spaces to draw everyone's attention to the fact that preserving the environment is our collective responsibility. Website
2021 Spring Change Comes Now CCN focuses on women in Florida impacted by the criminal justice system, poverty, mental health issues, addiction, and violence. Clemency is a case-by-case basis for correcting judicial system failures. We will be training women inside Florida’s five correctional facilities and on the outside to serve as point people for our inter-related work to reduce the number of women in prison. Our Clemency Quilt Tour highlights 175 women who are eligible for clemency as a method for raising visibility. Formerly incarcerated women are bringing the quilt to all 63 legislative districts – where state representatives have agreed to put it on display in their local offices. In addition to court fees, women are assessed enormous fines and penalties upon conviction. Once released, formerly incarcerated women are unable to vote or get a driver’s license if they owe any money – but converting debts to civil liens changes all the dynamics. Website
2021 Spring Baladna - Association for Arab Youth Through the use of innovative, popular education tools, Baladna’s Hawiya project aims to combat the systematic depoliticization of youth in the Palestinian society in Israel by enabling them to explore their identity, history, and the political forces depriving them of their individual and collective rights. The tools—which include board games, videos, and hiking tours—facilitate critical consciousness development while appealing to the interests of youth. Baladna will promote the application of these tools by holding board game workshops with 450 high school aged youth; training educators to lead discussions on videos that offer an alternative to the hegemonic colonial history in the Israeli curriculum; and mobilizing 10 youth leaders who have been trained in archeology, popular history, indigenous plants, and Palestinian history to build and lead tours of Palestinian locations for 220 young people in the community. Additionally, Baladna will develop a new board game, two new educational videos, and 5 virtual tours. Website
2021 Spring Alliance for Commuity Services / RPCAN Sparked by lack of response to COVID deaths in long-term congregate care (LTC) facilities, people with disabilities, current and former nursing facility residents are organizing a multi-facility group to enable facility residents to have a voice in policies that affect them, improve health, safety and autonomy of facility residents, while reducing isolation and increasing opportunities for independent living. Website
2021 Spring Women Against Mass Incarceration In the space of reentry and the criminal justice reform/abolition movement, women living with violent convictions are ignored, overlooked, and underrepresented. Frequently we are told the topic is too controversial or unpopular, or the climate is not right for "that kind of reform." The time is now to be inclusive of women and their stories / or struggle around living with a violent conviction. The movement has failed to include us in conversations or the decision-making process. As women living with violent convictions, we are the face of this project. Our goal is to build a coalition of diverse women to boldly use their voices and lived expertise to raise awareness of the collateral consequences and discrimination women living with violent convictions experience on a daily basis. Our goal is to change the policies, programming and perceptions that impact our reality via public education, advocacy, and social media campaigns, Website
2021 Spring Portland Empowered In 2020, students across Southern Maine came together to advocate for anti-racism in schools. Youth Engagement Partners (YEPs), a program of Portland Empowered (PE), responded to student leadership and began building a plan to create an antiracist school environment in Portland Public Schools (PPS). In 2021-2022, YEPs youth leaders began a campaign to engage educators, community partners, and students to reimagine harmful school discipline and mental health policies and practices. YEPs worked to rebuild relationships and heal with school-based conversations that created space for dialogue and transformative change in these areas. Additionally, PE supported the creation of intergenerational partnerships between YEPs and adult educators who are responsive, accountable, and will act on the recommendations of youth leaders. These partnerships ensure youth are supported by adults who can contribute equitable passion, drive, and dedication to anti-racist structures in schools. Website
2021 Spring Dave Meder “Unamuno Songs and Stories” is a jazz chamber music album consisting of original compositions inspired by the poignant and timely works of Spanish Civil War-era philosopher and poet Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936). By musically recounting Unamuno’s work, and the social and political context surrounding it, the album aims to spark critical thought and dialogue on the importance of maintaining our American democratic institutions during a tenuous period in our nation’s history. Website
2021 Spring Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE DC) Funding from Sparkplug Foundation will support Organizing Neighborhood Equity’s (ONE DC) DC Cancel Rent Campaign. Our campaign launched in August with the formation of the DC Cancel Rent Coalition, a partnership with ten organizations. We use a multipronged approach to work towards our goal of securing sustainable and affordable housing for the community. Much of our work involves base and relationship building, ensuring that we are following the leadership of those most affected. This involves phone banking, social media outreach, coalition building, and holding one-on-ones to create relationships with new members. In December, the coalition went through with our first action, delivering our petition with over 4,000 signatures to the homes of five DC councilmembers. The next Cancel Rent action was collecting selfies from affected Washingtonians, along with written testimony. This strategy aims to build popular will around canceling rent and to pressure council members via social media. Website
2021 Spring New Profile: Movement for the Demilitarization of Israeli Society Since 2001, New Profile’s Counselling Network has assisted over 20,000 youths in obtaining military exemptions, with an average of 1,000 youths annually. Generous support from the Sparkplug Foundation will allow New Profile to digitize our Counselling Network’s extensive information into a secure, accessible, and free online format for public use. The initiative supports a diverse group of Israeli youth seeking military exemption, and acts as a central resource for teachers and professionals who support youth in schools and other contexts. Website
2021 Spring Rafah Life Makers Center This grant will help cover start-up costs to re-establish the Life Makers Center. It will be used for teacher workshops and preparation, a portion of first year rent, special school break and summer programs (including on-site activities, field trips, after-school programs and group therapy sessions.) It will also fund educational materials and supplies including (flashcards, ESL books and print, smart board, mothers workshops and trainings. Finally, it will fund children’s trauma and healing workshops. Website