Racial Justice Grantees 2023/24

Racial Justice Grants Committee
2023 Grant Recommendations Totaling $40,000

Approved by FUMCSD Church Council on 12/16/2023

In our fourth annual grant cycle, after reviewing 9 applications, the Racial Justice Grants Committee recommends to the Church Council the following three grants, totaling $40,000. The organizations were chosen in alignment with the 2023 Racial Justice Grant Focus Area of: Health care equity/mental health, with special consideration for organizations working in the areas of Violence Prevention, Recidivism Prevention, or Reproductive Health Care Access.

$15,000 to Rise Up Industries

Rise Up Industries minimizes gang involvement through an integrated approach of gang prevention, intervention, and post-detention reentry services. RUI’s Reentry Program is an 18-month, full-time program where formerly incarcerated individuals receive employment, job training in high-tech machining and manufacturing, mentoring, tattoo removal, and mental health services. Graduates of the 18-month Reentry Program have only a 5% recidivism rate, compared to the national average of 66%. Additionally, 100% of graduates were employed at a living wage immediately upon graduation by local manufacturing companies. Grant funds would support the Reentry Program, which has provided a path forward from gangs and incarceration since 2013. Rise Up Industries would welcome First Church volunteers and event volunteers at their annual gala, long-term mentors for program participants, and even as potential members of their Board of Directors.

$15,000 to Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego

The Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego provides a unified front for advocacy and action against all forms of discrimination and unequal treatment, particularly in our underrepresented and underserved communities. They specifically strive to challenge and transform the abusive law enforcement practices used in communities of color and to work to change the laws, policies and unlawful police practices that allow for such abuses and inequities. The RJCSD has been advocating most recently to reduce the number of in-custody deaths in our local jails and prisons, and has also been pushing for more Mobile Crisis Response Teams, who are staffed with trained mental health practitioners and respond to mental health crises instead of armed police officers. Grant funds would support part-time organizers who would increase advocacy and public education on these issues. First Church members are always welcome to join at events and rallies, and RJCSD would be happy to explore other volunteer opportunities with our congregation.

$10,000 to Epiphany Women in Focus

Epiphany Women In Focus runs a neighborhood resource center in southeast San Diego that provides services centered around restorative justice, trauma-informed care and mental health education throughout their community. Epiphany’s mission is to help community members heal from adverse childhood experiences and other trauma, to live fruitful and empowered lives. Grant funds would help expand their extensive 12-week after-school social-emotional learning program in partnership with the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative. Epiphany is happy to collaborate with our congregation on volunteer and partnership opportunities moving forward.


Respectfully submitted by the 2023 Racial Justice Grants Committee: Dione Tayler (Chair), Francine Dewitt-Haynes (St. Paul UMC), Susan Ladrido, Maggie Hundley, Lyn Hayes (St. Paul UMC), Marian Hart.

Meet the 2023/24 Grantees

Presentation during the Feb. 11, 2024 worship service at First Church in San Diego.