At the Family Independence Initiative (FII), we believe that self-organized groups of families, friends, and neighbors can serve as a model to achieve social and economic mobility. When people work together to pool ideas, resources, and efforts to create positive and lasting change, the sky is the limit.
To that end, we are happy to announce the finalists of our third annual Torchlight Prize, an award that recognizes and rewards everyday people who come together to better the lives of their families and communities. By spotlighting their work, the Torchlight Prize encourages others to invest in these resident-led solutions and amplify their impact.
Four winners will be selected later this month, and each will receive a $10,000 prize as a small recognition of their work to strengthen their communities.
Here are the ten 2014 finalists:
Bhutanese Artists of Georgia (Atlanta, GA)
A community based arts and culture organization established by refugees from Bhutan who resettled in Atlanta.
A hub for self-directed community responses, focusing on community organizing around policy advocacy issues related to healthcare, anti-discrimination, and fairness for COFA communities in Hawai’i and America.
Egleston Community Orchard (Boston, MA)
A group that aims to strengthen community resilience by engaging the diverse neighbors of Egleston Square through the practice of sustainable agriculture.
El Valle Women’s Collaborative (Ribera, NM)
An organization that emerged from the informal gatherings of a group of women, who work to enhance the lives of local women and their families in the areas of economic and environmental sustainability and mental and physical health.
Hola Ohio (Ashtabula, OH)
This grassroots organization, which focuses on community organizing, advocacy, and civic engagement, began as a small, informal group of northeast Ohio Latino immigrants looking for ways to protect themselves and their families from destructive policies.
KhushDC (Washington, DC)
A volunteer-supported group that provides a safe and supportive environment, promotes awareness and acceptance, and fosters positive cultural and sexual identity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) South Asians.
North Oakland Restorative Justice Council (Oakland, CA)
The council is comprised of various North Oakland community stakeholders organizing to address institutional and interpersonal violence in North Oakland and to create a culture and process to curb future violence through campaigns, initiatives, and practices around community safety and economic development without displacement.
Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality: Northside (Chicago, IL)
A mixed income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that unites diverse communities on the north side of Chicago.
Sama Sama Cooperative (Berkeley, CA)
Pilipino language, arts, and ecology summer camp for children that aims to bring together the cultural resources of the Pilipino and Pilipino-American community of the Bay Area.
Solutions for Women (San Francisco, CA)
A group of women who came together to help each other overcome obstacles they faced in life. The group aims to boost self-esteem and confidence, promote sisterhood, and encourage personal responsibility for women in a nurturing environment.