This is the holiday news you want to hear: local non-profit Anti Police-Terror Project has created a Radical Redistribution Fund powered by a $3.5 million donation by an anonymous source. The money will go to organizations, individuals, and families in the spirit of supporting self-determination in the Black community.
“We wanted to put forth this model of not using a donor advisor fund and simply giving money to these organizations with no strings attached as a necessary approach to radical giving,” said APTP executive director and co-founder Cat Brooks in a press statement. Brooks is an experienced anti-state violence activist whose father was separated from her family by the Nevada Penitentiary System when she was eight years old. She also received funds from the gift as one of the 35 individual and family grantees who have been impacted by state violence themselves.
In addition to those and the 26 $25,000 to $200,000 organization grants, the Black-led, multiracial coalition APTP has created a mutual aid stream to the tune of $400,000.
Notably, grantees did not have to submit a detailed plan for how they would use the money, which was donated to the APTP by an unidentified Bay Area family. That leeway, says some recipients, comes as a relief.
“With support like this, it feels like there is no limit to what we can accomplish,” Brenda Grisham said in a statement. Grisham is the executive director of the Christopher LaVell Jones Foundation, an Oakland group that provides support to the families of murder victims. “Meaningful funding without strings attached allows us to really do what we know we need to do, without restrictions or distractions, in order to reach and support more families who have lost their loved ones to violence.”
The money came as a welcome surprise to some of its recipients. In an interview with Bloomberg, grantee Gwen Woods (whose son Mario was killed by SFPD in 2015) told of receiving a call from the Anti Police-Terror Project’s executive director Cat Brooks in which Woods was told she’d be receiving a $14,000 gift from the organization. It came at just the right time: financially exhausted by her full-time activism around police violence issues, Woods had been dreaming of putting a down payment down on a home.
Indeed, though the money may have been unexpected, many of its recipients knew just how to put it to use. For the Black and Queer-led community forest and retreat center Shelterwood Collective, the funds will go to power its innovative and urgent disability justice campaign.
In 2021, Shelterwood bought 900 acres of forest in unceded Kashaya and Southern Pomo territory in lands also known as western Sonoma County. This year, the group is embarking upon the mission to make their facilities accessible to all with the help of conscious design firm Mithun. For that project—in addition to its mission to restore its woodlands and offer BIPOC and Queer folks access to nature—the funds that the APTP grant provides were sorely needed.
“Disability Justice is at the core of our land justice project because ecological realignment and climate adaptation is for all of us,” Shelterwood Collective’s Yomi Sachiko Wrong; an Oakland-based Black disabled freedom dreamer, writer, trainer and organizer; said in a press statement. “As a queer black and indigenous [sic] collective we do not aim to perpetuate a culture of ableist exclusion. We will not leave our disabled kin behind.”
The APTP is using $400,000 of the donor’s gift to bolster its own activities as well. $400,000 will be split between two projects, the first being MH First Oakland, APTP’s non-police crisis response program in whose techniques thousands of people based across the country have been trained since the program was founded in 2020, and that operates on weekend nights when other mental health services are shut down. Funds will also be funneled towards the construction of a new mental health clinic.
Got some of your own wealth to distribute through the Anti Police-Terror Project? You can donate to its mission here.