After the death of Michael Brown, Jr. on Aug. 9, 2014, “Ferguson” came to symbolize racial strife and inequality in the United States. Throughout this country, the circumstances surrounding and following his death have sharply defined the challenges that demand transformation. The alternative to change is to accept an untenable environment that is fraught with inequities and continued conflict. The Governor asked a group of regional leaders — The Ferguson Commission — to study the situation and prove a path toward change.
Forward Through Ferguson (FTF) was established as a 501(c)3 to be a catalyst for lasting positive change in the St. Louis region as outlined in the Ferguson Commission Report. Embracing the Commission’s mandate, FTF centers impacted communities and mobilizes accountable bodies to advance racially equitable systems and policies that ensure all people in the St. Louis region can thrive.
On June 11, Forward Through Ferguson joined Deaconess and Missouri Foundation for Health to launch the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing Fund to invest in healing community trauma and changing the conditions that reinforce systemic racism.
Recognizing the longstanding need to convert plans to support community wellness and resilience into action, a broad table of organizers and institutions helped develop the concept of the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing Fund. The collaborative, clear that the work of the fund must be grounded in community, will engage residents to participate in strategy development and grantmaking decisions.
Through this participatory grantmaking process, a cohort of grassroots leaders, artists, creatives and residents of color will identify specific funding priorities and outcomes and distribute invested funds to a combination of mid-scale and grassroots organizations. These targeted investments, guided by a shared community-driven vision, aim to (1) heal individual and community trauma, (2) engage a broader range of residents in systems change work, (3) prepare leaders of color to organize for healing justice, (4) build local capacity to nurture support, and cultivate healing assets and (5) align resources for long-term sustainability.
Forward Through Ferguson (FTF) will lead the community outreach and engagement efforts this summer to form a cohort of community leaders that will drive the development and execution of the grantmaking process. The cohort will include grassroots leaders, artists, creatives and residents of color. FTF will provide ongoing support to the cohort throughout the implementation of the grantmaking process.
For more information on the participatory grantmaking process, visit forwardthroughferguson.org/healingjustice.