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To Our Michelson 20MM Community,  

In this time of civil protest, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic which has disproportionately devastated minority communities, the Michelson 20MM Foundation stands proudly with demonstrators, community leaders, and organizations across the world in affirming that Black Lives Matter. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and others are both heartbreaking and frustrating, but we find hope in the global outcry for accountability and justice. It is encouraging that policymakers, and leaders in the public and private sectors, are listening and taking action, recognizing that this must be a moment leading to substantial and long-lasting change. 

For over a decade, we at the Michelson 20MM Foundation have supported marginalized communities through grants, investments, and initiatives aimed at improving access and equity in higher education. Last year, we made Smart Justice one of our key focus areas with the mission of expanding educational and employment opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals. Events remind us that our nation has a long way to go in achieving equality, which is why we are redoubling efforts to address structural failures, racial disparities, and inequities of our justice system.        

President Obama notes, “the more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away.” 

To that end, we have identified organizations that are actively involved in criminal justice advocacy, police reform, and community investment. We are proud to add Color of Change, Justice LA, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color at PolicyLink, and Homeboy Industries to the nonprofits we are supporting with financial donations and hope others will join us. 

In addition, we are announcing the next round of Michelson Spark Grants (our rapid response funding vehicle) will begin July 13. We are seeking to make grants to organizations advancing our approach to Smart Justice, with a specific focus on anti-racism initiatives. To learn more join us on Thursday, June 18th at 10 am PST for an informational webinar

And finally, we will continue to collaborate with current Smart Justice grantees Impact Justice, Root and Rebound, Vera Institute of Justice, RAND Corporation, 2nd Call, and the Campaign for College Opportunity to leverage higher education as a catalytic force for transforming the lives of system-impacted individuals. Please reach out to our Smart Justice Program Officer if you’d like information on our programs or the important work of these organizations leading the charge. 

The extrajudicial killings of people of color reveal that inequality remains a systemic problem in the U.S. justice system, one that requires our collective attention and action to resolve. That’s why our commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement will be ongoing, and we remain thoroughly engaged in the fight for justice, racial equality, and a more equitable future. 

In Solidarity,

The Michelson 20MM Foundation