Hester Street strives for a radical imagination for racial justice, where community-led solutions address historic racial injustices alongside the urgent issue of our time, climate change.

Since 2020, we have partnered with the Surdna Foundation for the Radical Imagination for Racial Justice (RIRJ) Initiative and are excited to launch our public search for a second year of grantees. Our initiative funds projects by New York City and Puerto Rican community-based organizations (CBOs) that explore and co-design climate-focused solutions with residents of the communities they work in. RIRJ projects address place-based issues and incorporate creative ways to integrate local artists or cultural practices into the process. Projects funded by our RIRJ initiative work at the intersection of environmental, racial, and social justice, and engage low-income communities of color in the idea generation, creation, and execution of the work.

We are excited to wrap our inaugural 2021 cohort – Casa Pueblo, Friends of WHEELS, The Point, and WEACT– who have tackled environmental justice issues through community-driven solutions, from green corridors to community shared solar. Throughout 2021, our grantees have engaged hundreds of residents and used arts and cultural practices as a vehicle to connect their communities around climate justice issues and solutions.

To learn more about our Year 1 grantees, please view our grantee projects in English or in Spanish.

We are embarking on Year 2 of our RIRJ initiative and have released a Request for Letters of Interest (LOI) from community-based organizations in NYC and Puerto Rico. For Year 2 of RIRJ, we seek projects that can achieve three core objectives:

Build collective impact through place-based projects to create or deepen the work of an organization, and reinforce existing social networks and community assets.
Utilize an interdisciplinary approach where arts and culture practices support and expand climate justice work to reimagine existing injustices and racist systems.
Develop models, pilots, or examples that explore ways communities, organizations, and/or governments can pursue longer-term system change to address racism and pressing environmental issues.

For Year 2, we anticipate selecting up to four (4) nonprofits. Grantees will:

Obtain $50,000 to execute their project.
Receive tailored technical assistance (TA) by Hester Street to augment project implementation. TA will be co-designed with Hester Street and approved by each grantee.
Participate in three to four cohort convenings to share resources and learnings, and build networks with fellow grantees for collective impact.

If your organization is interested in submitting a Letter of Interest, please review the following document to understand the requirements and process for submission.

The LOI submission period will be open on August 18th and close September 9th, without exception, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

All applications must be submitted through Google Forms at this link by September 9th at 5 p.m. EDT. Late applications will be disqualified.

All questions pertaining to your application may be submitted to RIRJ@hesterstreet.org.