Grantees Receive Valuable Capacity Building Training

Social justice groups need more than direct grants to carry out work that is often hard and slow-going.  Public Interest Projects and its collaborative funds also powerfully invest in building the capacity of grantees to ensure their sustainability. Recently, two of PIP’s sister funds — Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER) and the Just and Fair Schools Fund (JFSF) — teamed up with grassroots fundraising expert Margie Fine to train grantees in CPER sites across the country, including Jackson, MS; LA and San Francisco; Denver; Philadelphia and Chicago), giving groups critically needed tools to diversify their funding base for the long haul.

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In the slideshow above, groups in Jackson, MS, learn how their grassroots organizing skills prepare them to carry out a donor campaign. Photos by Al White of Action Communication and Education Reform.


“Getting to Outcomes:” New Publication on Tracking and Measuring Change

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 3.55.30 PMPSTGrassroots campaigns take strategic smarts and stamina.  What’s our “theory of change” for how community-led campaigns yield positive outcomes?  How can we capture hard-won changes achieved in policy reform, individual leadership skills, and building community social capital?

Getting to Outcomes [PDF] provides funders, community groups and researchers with a blueprint for how to understand, track and measure the critical changes we seek.   Though focused specifically on campaigns for educational justice, the theoretical frame, indicators and measures suggested here [PDF] are widely applicable to other community-led social justice campaigns.

Just and Fair Schools Fund January 2013 Newsletter Highlights

Open Call for Letters of Interest

The Just and Fair Schools Fund (JFSF) is pleased to announce an open call for letters of interest (LOI) from base-building organizations in the U.S. that seek to eliminate harsh school discipline policies and practices and to uphold the right to education for all youth. The Fund aims to spark positive reforms at the local, state, and national levels that keep all children safe and learning in school. To learn more about this funding opportunity including the submission requirements, please refer to the JFSF webpage found here. LOIs are due February 1, 2013.

Partner Spotlights

On December 15, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network hosted a Youth Empowerment Summit for 700 youth leaders. One plenary panel featured students sharing their experiences with school systems that push out LGBTQ youth, youth of color, and youth with disabilities through harsh discipline policies, lack of school safety, and lack of academic supports. Read more>

Shaping the National Conversation

Mourning the Victims of Sandy Hook Elementary, and Taking Common Sense Approaches to School Safety

  • Alliance for Educational Justice, Advancement Project, Dignity in Schools Campaign, and NAACP Legal Defense Fund release an issue brief. Read more>
  • The Labor/Community Strategy Center (LCSC) calls for an end to the national surge towards police and soldiers in schools. Read more>
  • More than 200 school violence prevention researchers and practitioners, plus 183 associated organizations, have issued the statement A Call for More Effective Prevention of Violence calling for a thoughtful approach to safety in and around schools. Read more>
  • The California Endowment and Los Angeles youth leaders demand more counseling, mentoring, and health services for students. See more>
  • The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers find arming educators with guns is the wrong approach to school safety. Read more in the Washington Post>


For more news, resources and upcoming events, please read the complete Just and Fair Schools Fund newsletter here.

Filling a Void Left by the New York Times

Marizta Guzman

By Maritza Guzman: Director, Fiscal Sponsorship and Project Management

I recently learned that the New York Times will be closing its environmental desk.  This announcement came the same week the New York Times posted a graphic of historically higher than normal temperatures across the majority of the United States. While environmental issues are increasing in importance, a respected newspaper can no longer afford to dedicate staff to cover them.   This means the work of InsideClimate News is more  important now than ever.

Since it began in 2007 InsideClimate News, a fiscally sponsored project of Public Interest Projects,  has established itself as a unique and well-regarded voice in the national conversation on energy and climate policy, and the emerging clean economy. Their goal is to produce clear, objective stories that give the public and decision-makers the information they need to navigate the heat and emotion of climate and energy debates. Articles on InsideClimate News reach the media, the general public,  Congress and the White House, policymakers, and academics.  They work with  three of the largest media entities in the world (Bloomberg, McClatchy and Associated Press) to reach a global audience.

As the mainstream media faces declining subscribers, and a fierce competition for advertising revenue, InsideClimate News is a rarity – a news organization devoted to in-depth, nonpartisan, honest reporting on one of the most important issues of our time. To see their work, visit


Public Interest Projects offers fiscal sponsorship and fund management to affinity groups and other projects that do not have a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status which, in turn, broadens the funding avenues available to them. We offer a comprehensive package of services including: day-to-day management, fiscal oversight, budget planning and administrative support.

Our fiscal sponsorships are structured individually to accommodate each organization or individual. In all cases, Public Interest Projects acts as an umbrella organization to accept and administer funds on behalf of an organization or project. Public Interest Projects bears fiduciary responsibility for the funds received, ensuring they are used for charitable purposes and that all donor-reporting requirements are met. By providing a turnkey “back office,” Public Interest Projects helps advocates and funders get to the real work of accomplishing their social justice goals.

Learn more about Fiscal Sponsorship by reading the FAQ here.



Public Interest Projects Condemns ICE Raid on Immigrant Activist’s Home [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Erika’s Family Released From Detention after Furious Social Media Outcry

Late last night, Arizona-based immigrant rights activist Erika Andiola posted the following Facebook update: “My house just got raided by ICE and they took my mom and my brother. They had no reason to do this!! … I can’t believe that this is happ[en]ing to me!!!”

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided Erika’s home and detained two of her family members.  Now her mother, Maria Andiola, and brother, Heribierto Andiola, face deportation.

Erika is a nationally recognized immigrant rights leader in Arizona and co-founder of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, who has championed efforts to create greater access to educational opportunities for immigrant students.  She was an honors student who enrolled at Arizona State University with dreams of becoming a high school counselor, but lost her scholarships when Arizona passed a slew of anti-immigrant laws.  Instead of losing hope, Erika became involved with Promise Arizona, a grassroots civic engagement organization, to organize a new generation of leaders and register Latinos to vote in Arizona.  Despite losing her scholarships, Erika graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. degree in Psychology in spring 2009.

In 2010, Erika was arrested inside the U.S. Senate Office Building after participating in a civil disobedience action in support of the DREAM Act in 2010. She has also stood up to politicians who oppose the DREAM Act, including Kris Kobach and Mitt Romney.  In 2011, she was a recipient of Public Interest Projects’ first Freedom from Fear Award that honors ordinary people who have committed extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees – individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to awareness or action.


Most recently, Maria Andiola stood with her daughter Erika at the United We Dream Congress in Kansas City and pledged her support to a crowd of more than 600 undocumented youth, “I have learned so much from my daughter, Erika. . .  She is my idol. I admire her so much, because she was born with a gift of being a leader, a fighter and a warrior.” Read more here.

Public Interest Projects condemns the ICE raid on Erika’s home.  We call on ICE to cease all deportation proceedings against Maria and Heribierto Andiola immediately and to grant them formal administrative relief. We also call on the President and Congress to enact genuine immigration reform.  Far too many children and young people, like Erika, live in fear that their families will be torn apart.  Far too many parents live with the constant threat of losing their homes, their families, and their children due to a well-financed enforcement bureaucracy that is not deploying its resources and personnel appropriately.  We owe it to hardworking parents who come to this country seeking the American Dream for their families and children to create a pathway to citizenship.  The time is now to stop the mass deportation of immigrants. We also encourage you to please help stop the deportation of Maria and Heribierto Andiola, Erika’s mother and brother, by signing this petition from the United We Dream Network.

Last year, the Obama Administration set yet another all-time record for deportations, with removals rising from 30,039 in 1990 to 409,849 in 2012.  Recent data from found that in two years, 23 percent of all deportations – or 204,810 deportations – were issued for parents whose children are US citizens.