Home Local News Dane County awards more than $50,000 in racial equity, social justice grants...

Dane County awards more than $50,000 in racial equity, social justice grants to 5 organizations

The Literacy Network, a local non-profit that serves adults in Dane County with English as a Second Language (ESL) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs, was awarded $10,000 for ABE Student Services Support. (Photo by David Dahmer)

Five Madison-area organizations have been selected to receive the Tamara D. Grigsby Office of Equity and Inclusion’s 2023 Partners in Equity (PIE) Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Grants, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced on Wednesday. The grants are intended to address systemic racial inequities in one of the following areas as it relates to criminal justice: health, education, employment, and criminal justice.

“The PIE Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Grant Program creates the opportunity for Dane County to partner with local organizations and help address racial inequities in our community,” said County Executive Joe Parisi in a statement. “Congratulations to this year’s recipients, whose efforts will work to ensure opportunity for all.”

“Proposals from the 2023 selected organizations demonstrate great promise,” said Greg Jones, OEI advisory chair. “They build on our mutual dependence of community and government, while providing deep insight into what equity, diversity, and inclusion looks like in Dane County.”

The 2023 PIE-RESJ Grant recipients include:

  • Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin – Free Afterschool Programming at Title 1 Schools ($10,715)

Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin serves all of Dane County and currently offers programming to about 1,500 Dane County youth annually. Girls on the Run’s physical activity-based positive youth development program is designed to strengthen participants’ social, psychological, and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The intentional, research-based program design will help participants develop competence, confidence, connection, character, care, and contribution through lessons that creatively incorporate running. The PIE Grant will help to ensure full implementation of the free programming model to all of Dane County’s highest-need school communities. The PIE Grant will have a direct and immediate impact on programming access and closing the county’s out-of-school-time opportunity gap at Anana, Gompers, Hawthorne, Lindbergh, Mendota, Sandburg, or Schenk Elementary Schools in Madison and Northside or Westside Elementary Schools in Sun Prairie.

  • Literacy Network – ABE Student Services Support ($10,000)

The Literacy Network serves adults in Dane County with English as a Second Language (ESL) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs. The program individualizes tutoring and helps participants build their reading, writing, and digital skills. Participants work one-on-one with a volunteer tutor to advance their reading, writing, and computer skills. The program serves both native speakers and high-level English-learning adults as they work toward their education, employment, and personal goals. The ABE Student Services conducts outreach, enrolls new students, provides persistence support, and offers advising and mentoring to participants.

  • Madtown Mommas & Disability Advocates, Putting Disability Back Into Diversity ($10,000)

This grant will provide funding to support activities, programs, and services for disabled students and their families. It will help to ensure the sustainability of projects as the program expands outreach to more families and advocates in need of support for special education and disability-related needs. The project is dedicated to advocating for the rights and needs of parents and students with disabilities through a comprehensive approach, by offering assistance to individuals who are navigating complex legal and educational systems, providing information on available services, resources, and community support, and connecting families to relevant programs. In addition, the program supports families through Special Education PTA, offers peer counseling and a shared perspective unique to families of students with IEPs/504 plans.  Educational workshops are conducted on a variety of topics including Special Education law and IEPs.

  • Tenant Resource Center (TRC) and JustDane / Bridging Boundaries Action Lab ($10,000)

The Tenant Resource Center and JustDane will implement practical strategies with Dane County to support housing stability for recently incarcerated individuals on probation or parole who are experiencing homelessness. The funds will be used to cover personnel costs to participate in the project, prepare outreach and educational materials, and provide direct assistance to households served by the project.

  • UNIDOS – Renacer Support Group (for Men) ($10,000)

Support groups offer the opportunity for participants to support each other in a safe, empowering, and controlled environment. Through support groups, participants are empowered to overcome their feelings of isolation and frustration and adjust to cultural norms to be part of society and strengthen family ties. The goal of every support group is to educate, empower, offer a healing space, and create safe havens for families. Groups provide members an opportunity to support those impacted by violence, a chance for victims to have their voices heard, and the empowerment needed to become community ambassadors against violence. By working to create a more informed population, building leadership, and encouraging self-advocacy, UNIDOS creates a ripple effect that promotes the health of all communities in Dane County.