EARN in the South Partnership Fund

2024/2025 Grant Recipients

The 2024-2025 EIS Partnership fund grants awarded three partnerships $63,333 per year to support policy campaigns in the EIS shared agenda. 

Think Tennessee and AWAKE 

Think Tennessee and AWAKE will lead The Tennessee Childcare Coalition project. This project will use research, engagement, and advocacy to address the significant market deficiencies in Tennessee’s childcare system to expand access to affordable childcare in Tennessee, improve economic conditions for childcare workers, and build new opportunities for entrepreneurship in the care industry.

 North Carolina Budget & Tax Center and National Domestic Workers Alliance  

North Carolina Budget and Tax Center and the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance- North Carolina Chapter aims to win state funding to increase worker compensation and build power among Black childcare workers to shape the policy agenda in North Carolina and achieve lasting policy wins. The project will fund two cohorts of NDWA-NC childcare fellows — eight in total — who will build their leadership and organizing skills and participate in legislative advocacy. The work will connect the broader context of the state budget and scheduled state tax cuts to the availability of funding for worker priorities.

Alabama Arise and Greater Birmingham Ministries

Alabama Arise and Greater Birmingham Ministries will partner together to advance paid leave policies in Alabama through outreach to primarily local governmental units in their role as labor market participants. As a currently heavily preempted state, Alabama’s policy to advance worker conditions necessarily relies on non-regulatory avenues to improve worker conditions. While localities had their regulatory powers in the labor arena severely curtailed, together the organizations will secure paid leave for city and county workers at the municipal level, then use that momentum to pass statewide paid parental leave.

2022 Grant Recipients

The Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) awarded grants between $34,000 and $68,000 to EARN members and their grassroots partners in six states based in the South. These grant awards built capacity for grassroots and worker-led organizations to partner with state EARN members to accomplish the following:
  • Promote state and local policies that improve wages and benefits; expand workers’ rights to organize, form, or join unions; ensure economic development is more equitable; and/or eliminate barriers to employment and income for people impacted by incarceration.
  • Build support for the policy issues described above by shaping the public debate.
  • Develop and deepen relationships between EARN groups and grassroots organizations that demonstrate a shared vision for partnership.
  • Organize, develop the leadership of, and build power among people with low-incomes and lived experiences of structural racism, sexism, and xenophobia, and
  • Generate research and writing products that contribute to compelling narratives about key reforms needed for worker, racial, and gender justice in the South.

Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
Arkansas Public Policy Panel (Panel) and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) recognizes that federal money flowing into the state through pandemic relief and infrastructure spending creates historic opportunities to influence how those funds are spent to improve communities. The Panel and AACF’s partnership will support building power in Black and Brown communities by educating, engaging, and organizing local organizations to influence and monitor federal dollars flowing into their communities. They will use this campaign to educate the Panel’s members about broader equity issues – creating a sustained base of power to advocate for economic justice in the years to come. Follow their work @ARpanel1963 and @AACF.

The Deep Center and Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
The Deep Center and Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s (GBPI) partnership aims to remove barriers to employment and income for people and families impacted by law enforcement policies, specifically, reducing the impact of court debt, fines, and fees on Georgians of color. Deep Center and GBPI will focus on advancing state-level policy change while building on reforms in Savannah as a model for other local communities to follow. The partners will connect the voices and leadership of affected communities with state-level policymakers and the policy process. This work will help break the harmful court-debt-poverty cycle and dissuade municipalities from tapping into funding streams like fines and fees, which continue to exploit communities of color. Follow their work @deepcenter912 and @GaBudget.

The Bail Project and Kentucky Center for Economic Policy
The Bail Project (TBP) and Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KyPolicy) will develop a public education campaign to improve understanding of the economic and social impacts of the cash bail system and reforms to address racial and economic inequities, drawing on research developed by KyPolicy. Previously, KyPolicy’s research on pretrial release helped shape the public conversation, including with key stakeholders in faith communities, resulting in considerable earned media coverage and additional public support for policy change. In this phase of their partnership, The Bail Project and KyPolicy will work together to develop the media campaign. They will also develop advocacy tools and public education materials, including hosting coalition meetings and focus groups for people who are most impacted by the pretrial system to generate ideas for media campaigns, provide ongoing feedback for developing campaigns, and monitor the campaign impact and outcomes. Follow their work @bailproject and @KyPolicy.

Mississippi NAACP and One Voice Mississippi
Together, Mississippi NAACP and One Voice seek to remove barriers to employment and income for people and families impacted by incarceration through research and analysis, community education, and advocacy to reduce the impact of court debt, fees, and fines in cities and towns throughout Mississippi. The partners will collect and analyze data concerning the amount of revenue raised through fines and fees in cities and towns throughout the state. Their work will educate and inform a diverse group of stakeholders including impacted persons, lawmakers, non-profit advocacy organizations, religious leaders, and local elected officials. By elevating the impact of court debt, fines, and fees collections for people and families impacted by incarceration and engaging key stakeholders, Mississippi NAACP and One Voice Mississippi will support reforms necessary to reduce economic challenges for families already struggling to make ends meet, particularly among rural Mississippians, Mississippians experiencing poverty, women, and Black and Brown Mississippians. Follow their work @OneVoiceMS and @MSNAACP.

UE Research and Education Fund and North Carolina Justice Center
UE Research and Education Fund and North Carolina Justice Center’s Southern Workers Justice Campaign will build a statewide labor-community-faith coalition to win local and statewide policy changes in support of workers’ voice, dignity, and safety on the job. The North Carolina Justice Center will conduct research and develop educational materials to show the local and statewide impact of workers coming together to negotiate collectively. The partners plan to share these materials and host public hearings across the state where workers testify about their working conditions, including low wages, systemic racism, and health and safety issues. The hearings will include local community and faith organizations, they will take the information back to their members to educate policymakers. Follow their work @ncjustice.

Race Matters and West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
Race Matters and the West Virginia Center on Budget (WVCBP) will partner on a project to increase access to good-paying jobs for justice-involved West Virginians.The partners will address barriers to employment and income for workers with arrest and conviction histories making it difficult for justice-impacted West Virginians to provide for themselves and their families. This project will launch a multi-pronged campaign including robust research and analysis, an outreach and leadership-building campaign among justice-involved southern West Virginians, and earned media pieces in an emerging local, Black-led publication. Impacted West Virginians will guide the partners’ policy and research recommendations, exploring policies to address barriers to income and employment such as improving community corrections practices and enacting clean slate and automatic expungement legislation. Follow their work @WVCBP.

About EARN in the South
EARN in the South, launched in 2017, was created in collaboration with southern EARN members and grassroots organizations who expressed a desire for closer partnerships, greater information, and strategy sharing among states in the region. The initiative is focused on co-creating an economic agenda for worker, racial, and gender justice that prioritizes Black and Brown workers, addressing the unique historical and political landscape in the South; strengthening the progressive research, policy, organizing, and advocacy infrastructure in the South by building transformative partnerships between EARN groups and Black-and Brown-led grassroots organizations in each state, and building strong cross-state relationships that share, strengthen, and build momentum for policy change and organizing strategies across state lines.