By Daniel McGee, NLG Foundation Managing Director
In 2014, the National Lawyers Guild Foundation (NLGF) launched the Guild Grants Program to support NLG chapters, committees and projects through small grants. The Foundation’s main goal in providing these grants is to build the Guild by funding innovative projects that will lead to an increase in membership while also strengthening programmatic work and enhancing coordination across the Guild as a whole.
In the latest grant cycle, eight projects received small grants up to $5,000 each. A total of $25,000 in grants was awarded. These projects were selected from a total of 15 requests for funding. Applications were carefully reviewed by the NLGF Grants Selection Committee, which considered how well each proposed project would increase membership in the NLG, whether or not the project would serve as an example to other parts of the NLG, and the project’s ability to raise matching funds and to carry out and promote the proposed work. The Selection Committee also prioritized projects that could serve as an example for other chapters and committees and those that would encourage membership growth in under-resourced areas.
These small grants aim to enhance the effectiveness of the Guild in supporting movements for social change. Whether it’s by working collaboratively with community partners, providing resources to the broader community, or recruiting law students and facilitating deeper involvement, each of the selected projects are finding creative ways to build the Guild.
The NLGF is proud to support the work of the following projects, committees, and chapters through this small grants program.
Guild Grants Recipients:
NLG California Central Valley Chapter to develop immigration Know Your Rights radio spots to air on farmworker radio stations in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The radio spots will increase the visibility of the Guild while providing practical information to communities that have limited access to legal resources.
NLG Los Angeles Chapter to migrate member database and website to the National Office’s CiviCRM platform. Rather than duplicating storage of data in two places, the merged database will store member data in one place and allow the chapter to more effectively engage with members, supporters and legal observers.
NLG Los Angeles Workers Rights Committee to print and distribute workers’ rights booklet in English and Spanish. The goal of the project is to provide tools for labor allies to expand the ranks of union workers and protect workers’ rights.
Parole Preparation Project of the NLG New York City Chapter to hire a Director of Community Engagement to build relationships with and support applicants who have been granted parole and are returning home from prison after serving long sentences. The Director of Community Engagement will hold NLG registration drives at volunteer trainings and meetings.
NLG Penn Law Chapter to conduct a two-hour CLE panel discussion on sex workers’ rights and the increasing criminalization of sex work. The panel will educate people about how local and federal laws are jeopardizing the rights and safety of sex workers and offer ways to support organizing work and policies that would provide justice for sex workers.
NLG Sacramento Chapter to produce and air Know Your Rights television commercials to educate under-represented and police-targeted neighborhoods about what their rights are under the law. Each commercial will highlight a different basic right and will be aired on local networks.
NLG SF Bay Area Chapter to conduct a regional day-long Activist Self-Defense Clinic for lawyers, legal workers, movement activists, and community-based organizations. The clinic will include workshops on political strategy and tactics, defense campaigns and mobilization, de-escalation and self-defense in street-based attacks, and doxing prevention and response.
NLG SF Bay Area Chapter to produce a “Know Your Rights” toolkit for transgender communities in their interactions with police and when in jail or prison. SFBA NLG is partnering with videographer and media activist April Martin and the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, the Transgender Advocacy Group, the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Young Women’s Freedom Center and Black and Pink. The toolkit will include a series of videos along with on-line and community resources.
(Above: Parole Preparation Project at the June 5, 2018 Emergency Action for Parole Justice in Albany, NY to demand parole reform.)