Fund for Workforce Equity Selects Inaugural Grantees to Center Workers and Learners of Color

Thursday November 17, 2022

Today, the Fund for Workforce Equity, a new pooled investment fund led by Workforce Matters, announced 15 organizations that will each receive grants of up to $75,000 for initiatives that center the perspectives of workers and learners of color in designing or implementing workforce policies and programs. The grantees – workforce development organizations from across the country – will receive flexible resources and support to pilot, innovate, or extend their strategies. As a member of the Workforce Matters funders’ network, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund is proud to have invested in this collaborative fund alongside 21 other philanthropies.

“These workforce organizations are leaders in centering workers to drive equity in workforce development efforts. We want to provide funding and support to expand their work and uplift new, innovative strategies that can lead to systemic change,” said Loh-Sze Leung, director of Workforce Matters.

The grantees are:

“As a funder focused on economic inclusion for immigrants and refugees, we believe that workers’ perspectives are critical to designing and evaluating programs that seek to create more equitable access to opportunity,” said Lauren Crain, associate director at the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. “We’re proud to support the Fund for Workforce Equity and partner with these 15 organizations as they lead the way in developing workforce solutions that center the voices and agency of BIPOC workers and learners.”

“The field of workforce development must address the evolving needs of an increasingly diverse generation of workers and learners,” said Allison Gerber, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s director of employment, education, and training. “These Fund for Workforce Equity grantees have a unique opportunity to collaborate with workers of color and develop workforce strategies that center their goals and aspirations.”

The Fund for Workforce Equity is an initiative of Workforce Matters which has pooled funding from 22 grantmaking organizations. The Fund’s advisory committee is made up  of philanthropic and workforce field leaders committed to disrupting systemic racism in the field’s practices, policies, and programs as well as the labor markets of communities they serve.

The Fund for Workforce Equity is supported by the American Institutes for Research, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ascendium Education Group, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cognizant Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Cuyahoga County Workforce Funders Group, Deaconess Foundation, Fund for Our Economic Future, the James Irvine Foundation, McGregor Fund, Northwest Area Foundation, Siemens Foundation, Solon E. Summerfield Foundation, Tipping Point Community, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation,, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, and supporting members of Workforce Matters.

Workforce Matters is a national network of grantmakers who work together to strengthen workforce development philanthropy. Drawing on expert and practitioner knowledge, Workforce Matters empowers workers, learners, and job seekers to realize their full potential; dismantles inequities based on race, gender, ability, and other individual characteristics; and advances equitable education and employment outcomes for youth and adults.

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