August 13, 2020

City of Portland’s Cannabis Program Awards $548,000 to Reinvest in Communities Impacted by Prohibition

August 13, 2020
SEED grant from City of Portland

The Office of Community & Civic Life’s Social Equity & Educational Development (SEED) Grant Fund has announced its 2020 grant recipients. Six local organizations will receive a total of $548,000 to provide economic opportunity and education to communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. The grant is funded from a portion of Measure 26-180 which directs a 3% tax on Portland’s recreational cannabis.

“I’m really excited to be supporting the work of our grant recipients and the direct impact on the communities they serve”, said Kimie Ueoka, SEED Grant Fund Coordinator. “The accountability to restorative justice built into this grant fund is a new space for government and a step in the right direction, especially now.”

“The Cannabis Program is really excited to be supporting the work of these organizations. We know the projects receiving these grants are having a direct impact on the lives of the people they serve. It’s important work, especially now. We also know that repairing harm and creating a framework for lasting change will have to happen at many different levels. The accountability to restorative justice that’s built into this grant is a new space for government and a step in the right direction. It’s a good step, but we still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. I invite Portlanders and community organizations to join us for future talks to continue to shape the grant and the City’s decisions about the cannabis fund.” 

-Kimie Ueoka, SEED Grant Fund Coordinator.

Collectively, the following six organizations are working to address disproportionate need-gaps for BIPOC communities across legal services, workforce development, re-entry housing, and criminal justice reform:

  • Beyond Black CDC focuses on building community engagement, policy awareness, and social justice, including community-led discussion around cannabis policy and equity.
  • Clear Clinic, a Portland Community College program, hosts free legal clinics offering a variety of needed legal supports including civil, immigration, and housing.
  • Construction pre-Apprenticeship Program & Workforce Development, managed by Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. (POIC), offers construction-specific job skills and industry certification to lower income youth and adults.
  • Justice Involved Portlanders, an initiative of Worksystems, Inc., provides emergency housing assistance funds for individuals exiting incarceration.
  • Mink’a Program, a Latino Network initiative, provides youth and family wraparound service to address youth gang involvement.
  • Voz provides workforce development and education for communities unlikely to have access to federal emergency support programs.

Ximena Ospina-Todd is the Dir for youth empowerment and violence prevention of the organization of Mink’s program, which is an initiative of the Latino Network. She said:

“Mink’s program is a brand new program that we are just launching. We wrote the grant application to enhance the variety of programs we are able to offer youth and their families. The cannabis money we will be used specifically for families that are justice impacted, particularly for youth who have been arrested for minor offenses or youth who are already in criminal justice system. This grant money will help with legal fees immigration fees, and other ways that help families heal such as access to therapy, attorneys , mentorship, and after school programs. The money we are receiving from the cannabis program is going to communities that are most criminalized, and I see it as going full circle to where it is most needed. A lot of our youth have minor offenses and this allows us to help them stay safe and out of the system and have a path to a positive, successful future.”

The 2020 grant funds will also continue to support two 2019 grantees, Constructing Hope and Green Hop.

“The SEED grant provides critical restorative justice funding to BIPOC Portlanders,” said Commissioner-in-Charge Chloe Eudaly. “I am committed to continuing significant City investments in communities that have been disproportionally harmed by our racist drug laws. Congratulations to the 2020 SEED Grant recipients! I look forward to seeing the results of your vital community-driven efforts.”

Four students in protective gear from Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center + Rosemary Anderson High School practicing using saw machines as part of the funded project Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program – Workforce Development

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