The Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation established in 1925, is committed to supporting organizing and leadership of young people and communities of color in dismantling structural inequity based on race and class.





April 30, 2020

CONTACT: Kari Hudnell, 609-668-0560, kari@abpartners.co 




NEW YORK – Today, the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation supporting communities of color fighting for educational equity and racial justice, announced grants of more than $2.8 million to 24 organizations. The foundation is announcing and distributing grants that would have been made in the summer in order to provide organizations with resources as they ramp up programming to respond to the pandemic. This early announcement of funding comes at a pivotal moment for many of the organizations who are quickly adapting their programs to respond to on-the-ground conditions, particularly in communities of color hit hardest by the pandemic across the country, and where the Hazen Foundation prioritizes grantmaking. 


“Our grantees and their communities are our priority, especially in this moment of crisis,” said Lori Bezahler, President of the Hazen Foundation. “This crisis has made clear the deep inequities throughout our country. We see many organizations scrambling to respond to immediate, critical needs that are the result of unjust policies and systems. Youth Justice Coalition, for example, has been instrumental in getting 1,700 people released from incarceration in LA County, championing alternatives to detention and demanding changes in conditions to protect the health of those still inside. With so much at stake right now, we saw no reason to delay much needed funding.” 


This grantmaking comes in the midst of calls for philanthropy to step up spending  as the pandemic and concurrent economic downturn hit those most vulnerable.  The grants represent a nearly five-fold increase in committed funding compared to its spring 2019 docket. As a foundation in the process of spending down, the Hazen Foundation has already committed to distributing all assets by 2024.


The grants will support parent and youth-led organizing efforts on a range of issues, including equity in funding for public schools, ending police presence and punitive discipline policies in schools, and securing affordable housing for low-income families. The Hazen Foundation is particularly committed to support grantees comprised of and led by people of color: 83% of the executive directors of these organizations are Black, Latinx, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or Native American. Further,  75% of the organizations are led by a female executive director; and 36% of these organizations report having LGBTQ senior staff in a supervisor role or board members. The Foundation is also committed to supporting organizations across a geographical range: twelve of the 24 organizations are based in California (three of which are focused on building youth organizing capacity in the often overlooked Inland Empire and rural Central Valley), while others are distributed across the country in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Seattle, Phoenix and Salem, Oregon  (see full list of grantees below). 


“General support funding from Hazen will support our parent leaders to continue to push their policy agenda for education justice and funding equity for public schools at the local level and the state level,” said Regina Elmi, Executive Director of the Somali Parents Education Board in Seattle. 


“Through the support of the Hazen Foundation, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos will be able to expand our fellowship program, creating a truly distributed organizing approach. Moreover, we will be able to support our members with the digital training and tools that we will all need to build community and power in an increasingly remote world,” said Jake Cousins, Deputy Director at Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, based in Denver. The Hazen Foundation has supported Padres y Jóvenes Unidos since 2003.


“Our hope is that this funding allows our grantees to have more room to maneuver and adapt their programming to suit the needs of this moment,” said Lori Villarosa, chair of the Hazen Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “Strong organizing is going to be critical as this pandemic evolves, to put pressure on governments and society to deploy resources equitably. We’re already seeing the disproportionate impact this crisis is having on communities of color. The early release of this funding is our way of stepping up and ensuring that our grantees have the resources they need to protect their communities.” 


The full list of grantees include: 


  • Grassroots Asians Rising, National
  • Urban Peace Movement, Oakland CA
  • Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles CA
  • Khmer Girls in Action, Long Beach CA
  • Youth United for Community Action, East Palo Alto CA
  • Black Organizing Project, Oakland CA
  • Community Asset Development Re-Defining Education (CADRE), Los Angeles CA
  • Communities United, Chicago IL 
  • Innercity Struggle, Los Angeles CA
  • Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Chicago IL
  • Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Chicago IL 
  • Padres Y Jóvenes Unidos, Denver CO 
  • Gender & Sexualities Alliance Network – California
  • Gente Organizada, Pomona CA
  • Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), Milwaukee WI 
  • Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS), Salem OR
  • Somali Parents Education Board, Seattle WA
  • California Native Vote Project, Statewide
  • Poder in Action, Phoenix AZ 
  • Power California 99 Rootz, Atwater CA
  • Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality, Salem OR 
  • Todec Legal Center Monarcas Luchadoras, Perris CA
  • New Mexico Dream Team, Albuquerque NM
  • Southside Together Organizing for Power, Chicago IL


The Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation established in 1925, is committed to supporting organizing and leadership of young people and communities of color in dismantling structural inequity based on race and class.

Click here for a PDF version of this press release


March 19, 2020

As social justice funders, we all focus on the root causes of social, gender, racial, economic and environmental injustices. We also aim to make the field of philanthropy more accessible, accountable, transparent and responsive to the grantee partners with whom we work. We strive to be allies to social justice movements. It is in that spirit, that we reach out now to share our commitments during this incredibly troubling time.

As COVID-19 drastically affects the world and the communities you serve, we know that many of our grantee partners and other organizations face unprecedented challenges and concerns. We want you to know that we, your philanthropic partners, are in this together with you. We know that many of you have had to cancel in-person meetings and events, fundraising efforts and political actions. Schools are closed and many of you are being asked to step in and support young people and vulnerable older populations, providing critical social services that are beyond your current capacities. And we know you do it because of your deep commitment to your work and your communities. Many of you have understandable concerns that raising funds, making payroll, and meeting grant benchmarks may be deeply impacted.

We want you to know that we hear and share these concerns, and we plan to act. As foundations and funders committed to social justice, we have a responsibility to support our community and to help your organizations and your communities. We have been in touch with many of you and are grateful that you shared your immediate challenges and anticipated future needs. We welcome these conversations and know there will be many more.

We don’t have all the answers. We do, however, want to share some of the ways we are approaching our role as philanthropic funders who need and want to help our grantees. We echo some of the same principles shared by a coalition of 19 foundations that published a similar open letter to grantees on the eJewish Philanthropy website:

  • Maintaining our funding levels: We will honor all committed grants by maintaining funding levels regardless of adjusted programmatic and other activities.
  • Adjusting our expectations: We welcome a conversation to talk about adjusting timelines or grant objectives or other foundation-related work that gets in the way of your ability to focus on emergent needs in your communities. We will adjust our expectations to reflect the reality of the times. We also commit to advocate on your behalf to other funders for practices that support your work in these trying times and provide flexibility.
  • Giving you time to plan and respond to the crisis: We understand that normal grant reporting requirements, site visits, and other commitments to funders take away from the time you need to plan and respond appropriately to the current crisis. We will be flexible around deadlines and we will work with you and make adjustments to ensure your time can be used in the most effective ways.
  • Being nimble: As the situation evolves, and as we learn more about your needs, we will strive to offer support as quickly as possible. We will work with you and each other to help make funds available to address and respond to the COVID19 and global economic scenarios in strategic ways and to focus on building sustainable organizations.
  • Staying coordinated: Wherever possible, we will coordinate our efforts and communication. If you need to talk to more than one funder, we will try to speak with you at the same time. We are committed to streamlining the flow of information between your organization’s leadership and the multiple funder contacts many of you have. In short, we will make these communications easier and more efficient for you.
  • Taking a people-centered approach: Beyond and regardless of grants, we know that every person is being impacted by this situation at a personal level in ways that threaten the stability of many people’s health, physical safety, food security, mobility, housing, mental and emotional wellbeing, among other challenges. We affirm that human lives and the well-being of the communities you serve are of paramount importance at this time and we will only get through the worst of the challenges ahead by checking in, looking out for, and offering mutual aid support to one another. Times like this call on all of us to show up and step up as our best selves.

As we talk with you more over the coming days and months, we will take what we learn and do our very best to turn it into meaningful actions that support your work and your communities.

Thank you for your commitment to solidarity and social justice.

Sincerely, your philanthropic partners: 




December 17, 2019

CONTACT: Christina Peña-Brower, 917-584-3530,  christina@abpartners.co


Edward W. Hazen Foundation announces fall 2019 grants 

totaling $5.45 million as part of 5 year spend-down plan 


The grantees are a collection of grassroots organizations working 

across the United States, with a focus on youth, educational justice, and racial justice


NEW YORK – Today, the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation supporting communities of color fighting for educational equity and racial justice, announced grants totaling $5.45 million to 18 organizations as part of their fall 2019 grantmaking, with some grants deploying over four years. These grants are part of the Hazen Foundation’s commitment announced in March to spend out their full assets over the next five years to take advantage of the current political and cultural momentum for social and racial justice.

“The organizations selected for funding this year are among the most passionate and effective grassroots groups operating in the country today,” said Lori Villarosa, Chair of the Hazen Foundation Board of Trustees. “Our nation is in a moment of crisis, and we must rise to meet the unique challenges of the day by supporting outstanding advocates for racial, educational and social justice. The young people who lead these organizations and are fighting for change in their communities will continue the legacy of the Hazen Foundation long after the funds are spent.”

Ahead of the new round of grants, the Hazen Foundation conducted an assessment of their grantmaking process this year as part of their ongoing efforts to operationalize anti-oppressive practices. This included interviews and focus groups with more than 42 participants, with feedback then incorporated into the 2019 grantmaking process. Key issues that arose during the review included increasing transparency and accessibility, cutting extraneous information from applications and developing relationship-based opportunities for applicants to communicate with the foundation. 

In response to the findings, the Foundation shifted their application process, replacing written proposals with an interview protocol designed to gather the required data in combination with site visits and a review of materials submitted by the organizations, including newsletters, social and earned media, reports, videos, and podcasts. The Foundation spoke with over 70 organizations before selecting the final grantees, a result of their desire for broader and more open access. 

“Throughout our relationship, I have sincerely appreciated The Hazen Foundation’s steadfast commitment to us and other grantees. The level of responsiveness regarding the process and direct feedback regarding our organization’s work this year was refreshing and something I wish more funders would do,” said Rapheal Randall, Executive Director of Youth United for Change who received $500,000 in this round of funding, divided over four years. “Having a funder who is so deeply committed to our mission and practices what they preach when it comes to racial equity is crucial to continuing our work in Philadelphia.”

“The Hazen Foundation’s commitment to their grantees is unparalleled. This year’s new grantmaking process really centered around building on our relationship and the impact of our work. It was straightforward and transparent,” said Ashley McKay-Dandridge, Founder of Tunica Teens in Action who received $400,000 in this round of funding, spread over four years

Of this year’s grantees, 82% are led by people of color. In addition, the organizations are all grassroots, community-based groups, with 77% operating on less than $1 million per year. Three quarters of the organizations received multi-year grants of two, three, or four years. These longer-term grants allow the groups to invest in infrastructure and strategies to build their communities and grow their organizations in a sustainable, durable way.

“Our goal at the Hazen Foundation is to fund truly transformational work that supports young people, parents, and communities of color in their fight for racial and educational justice. In order to achieve this and live up to our ideals, we knew we had to interrogate our own grantmaking practices,” said Lori Bezahler, President of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation. “By striving to operationalize anti-oppressive practices in our own process, we hope to serve as a guide for others in the field who share our commitment to justice and to transparency in philanthropy.” 

Fall 2019 Grants



The Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation established in 1925, is committed to supporting organizing and leadership of young people and communities of color in dismantling structural inequity based on race and class.

We should be alarmed by schools’ creepy plan to monitor students

By Lori Bezahler

This year, students in Florida headed back to school for reading, writing and a new Big Brother. The Florida Schools Safety Portal, a statewide database, will collect, sort and analyze sensitive data about students to share with law enforcement. Created in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, the portal is described as an early warning system to identify and assess potential threats. But responding to legitimate concerns about school shootings with a system that invades student privacy and labels children as threats will not make schools safer.

Click Here for Full Article


Hazen Welcomes New Board Members



July 18, 2019


Contact: Kari Hudnell, kari@abpartners.co, 609-668-0560



Alberto Retana, Rukia Lumumba and Lorella Praeli join the Hazen Foundation’s board of trustees, bringing new experience and energy as the Foundation goes all in for racial and education justice

NEW YORK – The Hazen Foundation, a private foundation supporting communities of color fighting for education and racial justice, has elected three new members to the board of trustees: Alberto Retana, Rukia Lumumba and Lorella Praeli, who will begin their terms immediately.


They will join the board leadership at a critical time when the foundation is going all in to support young people of color, their families, and communities rising up to challenge racist, homophobic, and xenophobic sentiment and policies. As long time campaigners and community organizers, these new board members will provide insight and guidance to align the foundation’s grantmaking  with insights from the field. All of these new board members are younger leaders of color who stand out from typical foundation trustees: a national survey of Foundation board members found that 85% of board members were white and 68% were over the age of 50.


“The Hazen Foundation is committed to sharing leadership with the field, and the selection of Rukia, Alberto and Lorella as trustees is an important testament to our institution living out our values,” said Lori Bezahler, president of the Hazen Foundation.  “All three new trustees have been personally affected by the issues central to our work, and they are impressive leaders, organizers, and advocates for racial justice.”


As young people and communities of color continue to build their power to fight against structural inequity based on race and class, those who oppose them continue to scale up their attacks.  Hazen’s new board members are leaders in their communities and the national movement for racial and education justice, and their appointment to the Hazen Foundation board comes at a crucially important moment both for the foundation and the country.


“As the foundation moves into this phase of intensifying & expanding our giving, we are fortunate to engage each of these highly strategic movement leaders with the level of depth,  intersectional expertise, and demonstrated commitment to our shared values,” added Lori Villarosa, Chair of the Board of Trustees and founder and executive director of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.


A community organizer and champion for educational justice, Alberto Retana has worked in Los Angeles and across the country to advance racial and economic justice for marginalized communities. A former youth organizer with Hazen Foundation grantee Community Coalition, he currently serves as President & CEO of Community Coalition Los Angeles, and was the Director of Community Outreach for the U.S. Department of Education in the Obama Administration. 


Lorella Praeli, a long time advocate for immigrant justice, is currently the Deputy National Political Director and Director of Immigration Policy & Campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union. A formerly undocumented person herself, Praeli previously served as director of advocacy and policy for United We Dream and as national Latino vote director at Hillary for America.


A legal professional who has built her career supporting young people and fighting for improvements to our justice system, Rukia Lumumba will be a formidable addition to the board. She currently services as the Executive Director of the People’s Advocacy Institute and Co-Lead of the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives allowing her to work at the intersections of criminal justice and electoral justice to make transformative system change. 




The Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation established in 1925, is committed to supporting organizing and leadership of young people and communities of color in dismantling structural inequity based on race and class.



The Edward W. Hazen Foundation is entering its final period of work, choosing to put all of our resources into the field in this time of challenge and possibility.

Across the country, young people of color, their families, and communities are rising up to challenge racist, homophobic, and xenophobic sentiment and challenge discriminatory policing, mass incarceration, punitive school discipline, immigrant detention and deportation, privatization of education and other public systems  For Hazen’s grantees, the rhetoric and actions in this moment are not new, although the broad public attention may be. Hazen believes that our fundamental support of organizing for racial justice is needed now, perhaps more than ever. We have determined that now is the time to put resources into the hands of the communities that must be in the forefront of the struggle.  Thus, the Foundation will spend out its full assets over the next 5 years.

Please read our plan for the culmination of the Foundation’s work here.

For more coverage of Hazen’s plans, read this piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy  and PND Blog

The Special Olympics are safe, but what about other programs DeVos would cut? | The Hill

By Lori Bezahler

Many were shocked by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s recent plan to defund the Special Olympics. This is a well regarded, much loved program, so the outcry was appropriate and hardly unexpected. While it is important that this damaging cut be restored, where is the outrage over the cuts being proposed for other critical educational programs?

Click Here for Article

What Happens When You Put Young People of Color at the Center of #NeverAgain | The Nation

Gun control becomes only one part of the larger solution to violence in our communities.

By Lori Bezahler

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have catalyzed a social movement demanding an end to gun violence. While their leadership and moral authority have undoubtedly taken the movement to another level, youth-led activism against gun violence is not, in fact, new.

Click Here for Article

Are We Criminalizing Our Students | Education Week

An overemphasis on criminal justice undermines K-12 education

By Lori Bezahler & Allison R. Brown

It’s been said that a budget is a statement of policy, the surest way to determine the values and priorities a society embraces. How then should we interpret the extraordinary spending spree that the United States has engaged in for the past three decades, investing trillions of dollars to expand a criminal-justice system that has incarcerated millions while states struggle to provide adequate funding for education?

Click Here for Article

How Our Schools Are Holding Black Girls Back | TIME

We need to make changes that put all of our students on the path to success

By Lori Bezahler, Cassie Schwerner and Kavitha Mediratta

Click Here For Full Article