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A Request for Proposals to Build Power Among BIPOC Communities in Mississippi and Louisiana

We believe every individual should be able to live with dignity and have autonomy over their body, including their decisions about if, when and how to create and sustain a family. Systemic racism – both past and present – has deeply impacted Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) from accessing quality sexual and reproductive health care and from exercising these basic human rights. This is especially true for BIPOC women, LGBTQ+, and other gender-expansive people. For instance, in the U.S. and around the global there is a long history of forced sterilization, including as recently as 2020 at an ICE facility in Georgia. Likewise, systems of oppression contribute to the disparate health outcomes in BIPOC communities: Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women, and Black children have the highest infant mortality rate, followed by American Indian/Native Alaskan. As a result of intersecting oppressions, Black trans women are disproportionately victims of fatal violence.

Grantees and other stakeholders, especially those in the reproductive justice movement, urged us to use U.S. Reproductive Health grantmaking funds to provide additional support to build power in BIPOC communities, as those most deeply impacted by injustices are best situated to define and create sustainable solutions. Grantees also urged us to utilize more equitable grantmaking structures.

With grantees’ advice in mind, and in line with our commitment to Louisiana and Mississippi, the U.S. Reproductive Health team is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for one-time funding opportunities to strengthen civic engagement through organizing in Mississippi and Louisiana among BIPOC communities, low-income communities and/or rural communities. We are looking to support projects that are building and supporting the power of these communities to determine their own destinies.

This RFP is funded as part of the Packard Foundation’s commitment to support justice and equity. We hope that these funds will help the Foundation learn more about how to approach power-building efforts in Mississippi, Louisiana, and beyond. This will likely include organizing activities themselves, and also coaching, infrastructure upgrades, testing and evaluating new approaches, and expanding into new and rural places, any and all of which could build organizations’ capacity to build power in BIPOC communities.

By utilizing an RFP process and an evaluation committee made up of Foundation staff and external partners, we hope to make access to the Foundation’s resources more equitable and practice sharing decision-making power with those outside the Foundation.

Letters of Inquiry are due by July 9, 2021 More information about this opportunity and how to apply can be found here.

If you have any questions about whether your work or program is a fit for this RFP, please join us for an information session on June 8 (register here) or June 16 (register here). Those who register will receive a calendar invitation with a link to join the session. If you cannot attend an information session, a recording will be available.