Communities for Just Schools Fund is a national collaborative that links philanthropy with the power of grassroots organizing to transform schools. CJSF was started in 2010 by individuals in philanthropy who understood that, in the ecosystem of education justice, grassroots organizers are the least resourced and the most impactful. We are part of an arc that began with Black parents in Mississippi demanding change in their schools. Their children were being pushed out of school, disproportionately disciplined, and arrested for reasons that defied explanation except as symptoms of a pervasive system of racial hierarchy.
A movement was born to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
Thanks to that movement, public will began to shift. We started to see decreases in suspensions and expulsions and school-based arrests because of organizers' work and demands. CJSF is determined to make sure that public education takes the road that has been dreamt and engineered by communities, led by organizers. We are committed to doing our part to ensure that conversations about school safety center holistic safety and are grounded in organizer demands and expertise.
By community organizing, we mean the process in which communities come together to learn and to address specific challenges and build momentum for social transformation. Our partners organize around dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, demanding police-free schools, culturally affirming social-emotional learning and mental health supports, culturally responsive/sustaining curricula and pedagogy, ethnic studies, restorative and transformative justice, reproductive justice, gender justice, parent partnerships, meaningful youth engagement, participatory budgeting, and more.
Currently, the Communities for Just Schools Fund includes support and participation from: Andrus Family Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, The California Endowment, Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Grantmakers for Thriving Youth Policy Working Group (Seattle Foundation), Ford Foundation, Hyams Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, NEA Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Oak Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Tides Foundation | Advancing Girls, Stuart Foundation, Voqal, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Hill-Snowdon Foundation.
To connect the power of communities with necessary resources for the health and longevity of the nation’s schools, the nation itself, and the world.
Proliferation of the mindset and values that fuel the creation of education models in school districts and statewide that acknowledge and grapple with historical trauma and oppression, as well as affirm and nurture the genius, gifts, and expertise of young people and their communities.
We bring together the resources of philanthropy with the power of grassroots organizing to ensure that schools welcome all students and nurture their full potential.
A high-quality, comprehensive system of education in which young people are centered in the education process, treasured for their humanity and the power they carry, and their learning is valued and fostered. Schools are places where all young people are affirmed in a space that centers joy, love, and creativity. School is a welcoming, nurturing, and safe place for students where they have a deep sense of belonging and where they are challenged to grow. As such, our communities are stronger and our future is limitless.