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Mothers For Justice and Equality

Youth Focused Empowerment Breakfast Grant Proposal


Ameerah Saker, Federika Muchacho, Julie Nickerson, Kim Lopez
Table of Contents
I. Executive Summary
II. Overview of the Organization
III. Project Description
IV. Evaluation
V. Future Plans
VI. Budget
VII. Appendices
I. Executive Summary
Mothers for Justice and Equality (MJE) is a grassroots organization aimed at ending street
violence in Greater Boston, specifically in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. In recent years, the
number of homicides due to street violence have concentrated in these three areas. Since its founding in
2010, Mothers for Justice and Equality has taken great strides toward ending the high prevalence of street
violence and homicide in Greater Boston through changing the nature of communities. MJEs theory of
change states that neighborhood violence not only claims the lives of youth, but also traumatizes
individuals, families, and whole communities. In order for violence to be reduced and healing to occur,
MJE believes that people must come together to share their experiences.
MJE implements its theory of change through two distinct types of programs: Community
Engagement and Community Education. The former promotes understanding and dialogue among
survivors of violence, MJE members, community activists, and government representatives. The latter set
of programs builds off of this foundation through the development of members advocacy and activism
skills. Mothers for Justice and Equalitys two approaches are designed to have a cumulative effect on the
community: community members experiences and concerns are validated in the process of sharing and
are then directed outside the community as members harness tools to forward their cause.
The initial spark for this movement exists in one event that MJE hosts: the Monthly
Empowerment Breakfast. As a Community Engagement Program, the Empowerment Breakfast provides
all attendees (members and guests) with the opportunity to express themselves. The breakfast has been
historically hosted in a Dorchester church and offers a free hot meal to attendees. Each Empowerment
Breakfast is executed with a theme, such as Women and Mass Incarceration or Black History Month, that
explicates related social issues affecting the community. The Monthly Empowerment Breakfast is the first
moment that many attendees have to explore how community dynamics impact their lives.
While the Breakfast is crucial for attendees of all ages to develop community connections in the
effort to eliminate violence and youth homicide in Bostons communities, MJE recognizes that it is
essential to increase youth attendance to achieve its mission. Mothers for Justice and Equality plans to
address this need in three ways: diversifying advertising techniques of the Empowerment Breakfast in
Boston and making resources available to youth after the event; introducing new speakers who connect
and engage with youth; and gearing segments of the breakfast toward entertainment for young adults.
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MJE envisions that the Youth-Focused Empowerment Breakfast series will be initiated in June 2014 and
sustained until November 2014 (a duration of six months) at a projected cost of $9,600. At, or near, the
conclusion of this six-month period Mothers for Justice and Equality will evaluate the impact that the
proposed adjustments to the Empowerment Breakfast will have on youth attendance.
A portion of the evaluation process measuring the change in youth attendance will be conducted
through evaluation forms provided to (youth) attendees. MJE currently administers these forms at the
conclusion of each Monthly Empowerment Breakfast to all attendees in order to measure a variety of
qualities indicating the breakfasts effectiveness. The proposed form would be adapted to measure youth
attendance and engagement at each Empowerment Breakfast. Mothers for Justice and Equalitys current
programs provide an essential component to the empowerment of its surrounding communities, and are
funded primarily through grants received from foundations. Without this funding, a resultant delay would
have real repercussions on the organizations extensive impact on community change.
II. Overview of the Organization:
The mission of Mothers for Justice and Equality is to end neighborhood violence. By empowering our
members to be effective change-makers, we reclaim the identity of our communities and restore a sense of
hope and purpose for our children.
Mothers for Justice and Equality was established in 2010 by a collaborative of women who were
personally affected by violence or homicide and felt the need to organize after a series of 72 murders
occurred in the City of Boston. Over 50% of the victims were young men between the ages of 14 and 25
years old. Due to society's

desensitization to violence, these men become viewed as just numbers. MJE


wants to change this mindset by bringing about awareness that It Is Not Okay for children to be
murdered, to be afraid to go to the park, or to even walk around their neighborhoods because they fear
fatal repercussions. The goal is to empower communities out of their silence, fear and intimidation, and to
bring about change by ending neighborhood violence.
CEO Monalisa Smith envisions that MJE would serve families who have experienced the death of
a loved one through violence, youth at-risk for violence, formerly incarcerated youth, and leaders in the
public and private sectors. MJE serves girls, boys, young men, and parents of homicide victims in the
target areas of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. These communities are predominantly populated by
low-income residents of color. Given the context of these demographics, residents in these communities
face challenges and are more susceptible to homicide than others who do not reside in Roxbury,
Dorchester, or Mattapan.
As mentioned earlier, MJE focuses its programming in two specific areas: Community
Engagement and Community Education. MJE creates networks of members, elected officials and
community members through a series of different programs, including Monthly Empowerment Breakfasts
and Coffee Hours. These two engagements serve as platforms through which community leaders can
present speeches which motivate members to continue their work against street violence.
Community Engagement at Mothers for Justice and Equality also takes the form of policy
reform. For example, MJE facilitated the passage of the City of Boston Knife Ordinance in 2010. In 2012,
Mothers for Justice and Equality succeeded in elevating the issue of youth violence to Governor Deval
Patricks State of the State Address and collaborated with Mayor Menino on the Mayors Against Illegal
Guns Initiative in 2013. Additionally MJE has hosted events for its members, including: a Mothers Day
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Brunch, Mamie Bradley Till Mothers of Courage Awards Program in May 2013, and a Fathers Day
Honors in June of 2013. All of these events are focused on honoring parents and leaders in the community
that have worked to end street violence. In March 2013, an Educational Forum addressing Mass
Incarceration drew a crowd of more than 80 people. Many of the attendees were youth.
The second phase of MJEs work is Community Education. Community Education is crucial in
order to develop leaders and members that understand the social and political dynamics involved in
advocating for the elimination of neighborhood violence. MJE supports Community Education through
the MJE Civic Leadership Academy and the Junior Advocates Program, geared toward training women
and youth in the community. In Spring and Fall 2013, Mothers for Justice and Equality trained 29 women
in the You Matter Personal Development and Leadership Curriculum. All participants in this program,
who had been affected by violence, reported an increase in their self-esteem after completion of the
curriculum and later signed up to become mentors and coaches for future training recipients. MJEs
programming has real impact on the communities with which it works.
Mothers for Justice and Equality establishes 3-year strategic plans in order to accomplish its
goals. Additionally, the organization releases annual Community Impact Reports and Mid-Year Progress
Reports detailing its completed organizing activities and accomplishments for the year. Some of their
accomplishments in recent years include the 2012 Its Not OK Billboard Campaign sponsored by Clear
Channel Communications and the Boston Public Health Commission. The billboards served as a
memorial to children who have been lost to senseless violence to remind the city of Boston that childrens
lives have value and that murder should not be tolerated as a norm in society. These successes have
expanded MJEs membership and spread the mission of the organization throughout the City.
III. Project Description
The Empowerment Breakfast is a monthly event held at the Faith Christian Church. The
Breakfast is one of the few places in the Dorchester area to serve free hot breakfast to attendees, the large
majority of whom are local community members. Combined with a variety of social justice issues,
including community poverty, youth violence, mass incarceration, and health inequities, each Monthly
Empowerment Breakfast attracts a large cross section of the local community. Many of these community
members are survivors of violence and have experienced a level of trauma that has resulted in a rift
between the individual and the community.
In this way, the event takes a necessary and important step to facilitate the reintegration of
survivors back into the community by creating a sub-community of survivors that can relate to each
others experiences. Through inspiring speeches, testimonies and workshops, those that attend the
Empowerment Breakfast develop a strong foundation to become activists and leaders in the community.
For many, the Empowerment Breakfast is a chance to voice their opinions and engage in
member-facilitated discourse about solving community problems.
The majority of the attendees are adults, while youth attendance is smaller by comparison.
Mothers for Justice and Equality works to eliminate street violence and youth homicide, and recognizes
that it is necessary to increase youth attendance to achieve its mission. Mothers for Justice and Equality
plans to achieve the increase in youth attendance and engagement in the Empowerment Breakfast using a
three-pronged approach that will start this upcoming June 2014 until November of the same year:
diversifying advertisement techniques around the Boston area and making resources available to youth
after the event, introducing new speakers who connect and engage with youth, and gearing segments of
the breakfast toward entertainment for young adults. This new six-month Youth-Focused Empowerment
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Breakfast Series will cost $9,600.


MJE envisions diversifying advertisement in the Boston area through a variety of methods,
including expanding its social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and introducing advertisements
on public mass transportation such as buses and trains. By using these methods to publicize the Monthly
Empowerment Breakfast, Mothers for Justice and Equality expects that the organizations mission and
event information could be dispersed in a wide fashion. Diversifying advertisement techniques, and
gearing advertisement toward youth interests, has the potential to garner the interests of a large segment
of the youth population in Boston. The Empowerment Breakfast serves as the first point at which youth
are introduced to topics of concern, and greatly influences youth retention in the organization. A broad
range of advertisement is the building block to increased youth attendance.
Mothers for Justice and Equality also plans on increasing youth attendance through the addition
of youth-relevant speakers and a variety of entertainment forms. At present, Empowerment Breakfast
speakers are leaders of non-profit organizations, political representatives, or other community members
that do not necessarily work in a capacity-building manner, or have strong connections, with young
adults. In order to increase youth attendance and facilitate strong relationships between youth and their
communities, Mothers for Justice and Equality views hosting speakers and activists known for their youth
work as essential to building youth-focused dialogue.
Mothers for Justice and Equality is interested in hosting driven youth speakers, such as Jordan
Coleman and Jurnee Smollet-Bell. Jordan Coleman is a 17-year old filmmaker, actor, author, education
activist, and athlete. Recently, Children's Health Magazine designated Coleman as one the 25 Most
Influential People in Childrens Lives. Jurnee Smollett-Bell is an award-winning actress and activist. At
11-years old, Smollet-Bell received the Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Youth Performance.
Smollet-Bell is the youngest board member of Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), a non-nprofit
organization working in the U.S and South Africa to combat HIV/AIDS, advance human rights, and
educate and empower children orphaned by AIDS and other at-risk youth. Youth speakers, such as Jordan
Coleman and Jurnee Smollet-Bell, will motivate youth attendees to take action in eliminating youth
homicide and violence in their communities.
Mothers for Justice and Equality will also hire new entertainment whose content are geared
toward young adults, such as local spoken word artists, singers, and/or bands. Ideally, MJE would like to
partner with local radio stations (Jamn 94.5) to bring positive entertainment to youth during the
Empowerment Breakfast. The DJs contributing their talent to the Empowerment Breakfast will include DJ
Maverik and DJ Pup Dawg. DJ Maverik, influenced by family, can encourage youth motivation and
growth. DJ Pup Dawg is a world-renowned hip-hop DJ. He is known not only for his musical talent but
also his determination, which can be shared with youth to facilitate a dialogue around issues youth face in
their communities. Finally, MJE will partner with Berkeley School of Music and surrounding performing
art schools, local artists, churches and choirs to inspire and motive inner city youth. These individuals will
be compensated for their time via stipends from project funds.
IV. Evaluation
At the conclusion of each Empowerment Breakfast, Mothers for Justice and Equality administers
an evaluation form to attendees in order to gauge the quality and relevancy of programming. MJE regards
this method of feedback as a measurement of the Empowerment Breakfasts effectiveness. On the
evaluation forms, attendees indicate how strongly they agree with several statements: how welcomed
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attendees feel, the Empowerment Breakfasts time efficiency, and the events level of engagement. The
evaluation forms also permit Mothers for Justice and Equality to track Empowerment Breakfast
attendance across periods of time.
In order to assess the effectiveness of the proposed youth-focused additions to the Empowerment
Breakfast, Mothers for Justice and Equality will administer a designed evaluation form specifically for
young adult attendees. These evaluation forms will include space for scaled and open-ended responses to
an expanded base of questions similar to the following: How effective and engaging did you find this
Empowerment Breakfast? What would you have done differently? If given the opportunity to speak
today, what would you have said to the group? What speakers would you like to see at future MJE
events? Do you or a friend have any talents you would like to share at future breakfasts? What would you
like to learn at the Empowerment Breakfasts? MJE recognizes that youth have a large impact on
community social issues and regards their feedback as crucial to assessing program effectiveness.
Additionally, new evaluation forms will be utilized to gauge youth attendance, attendee
satisfaction, suggestions for new Empowerment Breakfast topics, speakers and workshops, and volunteer
interest. To encourage a high form return, participants will be provided with Mothers for Justice and
Equality T-shirts. Empowerment Breakfast assessment of general and youth attendees will enable
Mothers for Justice and Equality to grow and thrive as a vital organization meeting the multiple needs of
its community.
V. Future Plans
Mothers for Justice and Equality was founded by mothers, affected by violence and youth
homicide, who have become active change agents in their communities. Its members recognize, however,
that the future of MJE rests in the hands of younger generations of community members. Mothers for
Justice and Equality embraces the notion that With youth, brings fresh ideas. MJE recognizes the vital
role youth play in facilitating change in neighborhood culture and influencing the response of their peers.
The future of Mothers for Justice and Equality depends upon the empowerment and capacity-building of
young adults facing violence/homicide in their communities.
Mothers for Justice and Equalitys programs are funded through grants, fundraisers, and private
donations. Upon the completion of the six-month Youth-Focused Empowerment Breakfast Series, MJE
will evaluate the series effectiveness on youth impact and attendance, and will seek new sources of
funding to sustain a strong-youth focus for a longer time period of time. New funding sources will
include: foundation grants, organizational sponsorships, corporate donations, and collective individual
donations. Mothers for Justice and Equality has received past grants from The Boston Foundation and
Blue Cross and Blue Shield. In 2014, Simmons Colleges Scott Ross Center for Community Engagement
named Mothers for Justice and Equality Community Partner of the Year.
VI. Budget
MJE has estimated the budget associated with the funds needed to implement the six-month
Youth-Focused Empowerment Breakfast Series. These additional enhancements to the Empowerment
Breakfasts will be implemented from June 2014 to November 2014. The grant will specifically be funding
costs related to the new three-pronged approach aimed at increasing youth attendance. Among these funds
are the following:
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The cost of facility at MJEs monthly Empowerment Breakfast at the Faith Christian Church,
Dorchester, MA: $2,100.00.
Cost of print material (flyer, brochures, surveys, print advertisement) to attract more youth and
increase their attendance to the event: $1,500.00
Cost of speaker, entertainment, or facilitator stipend that will be in charge of leading workshops,
building self-esteem in youth, and education on Civic Leadership and Engagement: $3,000.00
T-shirts, with MJEs logo, to be given out to the youth as incentive to fill out evaluation forms at
the end of the event: $3,000.00 ($10.00 per shirt / Average guests per month: 50)

See attached MJE's new Youth-Focused Empowerment Breakfast Series Budget and the regular
Empowerment Breakfast Budget for a side-by-side comparison of figures.
Appendices

Please see attached documents. These documents include 501(c)3 verification, 990 Forms from
Mothers for Justice and Equality, and associated budgets.