The mission of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund is to achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty.
Following the adoption of this mission in 2015, we entered into a two year long Exploratory Phase to determine how we should focus our grantmaking priorities. During that time, we sharpened our understanding of the role that philanthropy can have and should take in addressing the root causes of the intersectional challenges of racism and poverty within the education system and communities at large.
We now grapple with this fundamental question:
What actions will be disruptive to deeply entrenched, institutionalized systems of racism and poverty so that true transformation toward antiracism and full inclusion will occur in our schools, communities, and society to allow in education to become a reality?
As we seek answers to this question in partnership with the communities we serve, the Memorial Fund now offers grant opportunities within three specific Program Focus Areas: Building Community Power, Disrupting Institutional Inequity, and Transforming Key Systems.
The Program Focus Areas incorporate the approaches that helped to guide the Exploratory Phase. We continue to believe that these approaches are a necessary and vital part of any strategy that aims to build communities where equity in education can come into being.
Build assets within children’s homes, schools, neighborhoods, and society to reverse the effects of structural racism and poverty
Invest in a small number of highly distressed neighborhoods as the center of our work against poverty and racism
Support people most affected, especially parents, to navigate and change the barriers they see
Promote greater awareness and understanding of the disparities resulting from structural racism, the effects of poverty and the intersection of the two
Encourage healing in our society by supporting dialogue, action, policies and practices that advance racial and economic equity