Education Initiative Cohort

Year In Review: The Education Initiative

The inaugural year of the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund’s (Fund) Education Initiative wraps up this month. Amy Huang, Program Officer for the Fund, Providence’s grantmaking foundation, reflected on her excitement over the partnership’s cultivation and opportunities for evolvement. The Education Initiative launched in Washington state, led by all-BIPOC s leaders with whom the Fund had a unique opportunity to build relationships over the year.

Throughout the initiative, we understood how education goes beyond K-12 and extends outside the classroom. The 13 grassroots community-based organizations (CBO) in the cohort shared that established systems and curriculums reflecting the white-dominant culture don’t work for marginalized communities. Addressing the gap where schools and government systems fail, these organizations wrap around harmed communities, youth, parents, siblings, and neighbors, and to address educational inequities through a modality of comprehensive support.

Capacity Building Projects

Each of the cohort CBOs examined different organizational capacity building opportunities to strengthen their reach towards addressing the school-to-prison pipeline, advocating for prenatal care for stronger childhood development, and developing educational wellness and healing spaces for community power building.   Some of the capacity building projects that our partners identified include:

  • Development of a data collection/management tool to build robust reports for stakeholders and funders, leading to sustainable funding for educators and curriculum developers for BIPOC youth and young adults ages 12-24 focused on civic engagement and leadership development. Mobilization of state-wide BIPOC members to defend legislation, like the Fair Starts for Kids Act designed to eliminate large racial disparities in access and offer support to providers serving children 0-5.
  • Support the existing formation and nourish community relationships to strengthen and build an inter-neighborhood network of community response groups in the city to build a collective of public safety and community care practices.
  • Expansion of immigrant and refugee parent support groups for culturally responsive and linguistic prenatal care to strengthen early childhood development.
  • Building a collective of BIPOC doulas to celebrate Indigenous knowledge and learnings to ensure love and care is nurtured for pregnant persons and passed on to child.
  • Professional staff development who are formerly criminal legal system involved individuals to strengthen reentry services for the Indigenous community.

Earlier this year, we refined our Fund focus areas and outlined community-building opportunities. While “Lifelong Education that Opens Doors” is one of the four, when nearing the end of the Education Initiative, we understood how “Community Healing and Resilience” is a thread that ties many of these CBOs together. From young people to adults and need community healing spaces to address collective trauma from intergenerational violence and oppression.

Education Beyond K12

As we cultivate and grow our relationships with the CBOs beyond the life of the initiative, we continue to look at how to support not just the education initiative but the community healing and to further build capacity for their community-led agendas. In doing so, we hope to eventually be able to uplift and have a laser focus on supporting policy, systemic changes, and moving towards upstream movement building.

Through the privilege of becoming more acquainted with these leaders over the last year, we can honestly say that we believe in the power of the community. They are remarkable individuals, disrupting and challenging systems practices to make our communities more whole, more healed, and more able to flourish, hope, love, and grow.

To stay informed of Fund news, follow us on LinkedIn as we share stories about our partners, like the ones in our Education Initiative.