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Racial justice in Lane County means funding more than just the "usual suspects"

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United Way of Lane County
Focus areas for assistance from the Racial Justice Fund include culturally specific programing, organizations and projects led by people of color and initiatives related to racial justice in Lane County.

In late 2021, United Way of Lane County launched the Racial Justice Fund with the goal of creating greater opportunities for people of color. Feedback from BIPOC communities will dictate where investments are made.

Donors have contributed $56,000 to the Fund so far and fundraising continues. Now, the agency is moving forward with an open call for applications starting in January 2023. United Way board member Collina Beard is co/chair of the Fund’s Advisory Council. She said communities of color have good ideas for ways to move the needle. “We heard that the United Way ‘always or only funds the usual suspects.’"

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Luis Romero
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Collina Beard (right) is a United Way of Lane County board member and co/chair of the Racial Justice Fund’s Advisory Council.

“So,” she said, “in hearing that constructive feedback, the United Way recognizes that we have to be intentional in removing any actual or perceived barriers in our investment application process.” Beard says they will now begin learning sessions targeted toward organizations or individuals who have never applied for United Way funding before.

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Luis Romero
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Collina Beard speaks during United Way of Lane County's Racial Justice Community Gathering. Sunday, August 28, 2022,

Focus areas for assistance from the Racial Justice Fund include culturally specific programing, organizations and projects led by people of color and initiatives related to racial justice in Lane County, Beard said. Issue areas include culturally specific support services, funding for unmet needs, providing spaces and connection for people of color, financial assistance for individuals navigating the justice system and funding financial literacy programs especially related to home ownership and down payment assistance.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.