Photo / Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
More than 70 percent of Washington State’s low-income households experience at least one civil legal problem each year on matters affecting the most fundamental needs of their daily lives, including accessible and affordable health care, the ability to get and keep a job, and the security of safe and stable housing.
That’s why this year’s SVP Youth Philanthropists chose to fund legal aid as a critical system that provides support for people who cannot otherwise afford it. Specifically, the group focused on programs that offer legal resources around immigrant rights, domestic violence and other challenges faced by marginalized communities. SVP Youth Philanthropists did research, raised money, invited and reviewed grant proposals, visited local nonprofits and ultimately gave $5,270 in grants to Colectiva Legal del Pueblo.
Colectiva Legal del Pueblo is a non-heirarchical collective organization founded for and by undocumented immigrants working to build a more inclusive movement for migrant justice. They seek an end to the criminalization and detention of the migrant community and believe that oppressed people, when empowered with the skills and tools to fight for their own liberation, will organize towards justice and self-determination for all.
Colectiva has provided direct legal services and community education to build power since 2012. Currently, Colectiva has over 1,200 open cases in two offices, located in Burien and Wenatchee.
Since the 2016 election, Colectiva has been in rapid response mode, providing needed information and resources to empower communities in fear. In partnership with schools, places of worship and community centers, they conduct know your rights presentations and have developed a legal clinic model that builds upon their workshops. In addition, in 2017, Colectiva started Breaking Barriers: Developing Leaders through Collective Organizing, a leadership development program that trains 60 emerging leaders to expand capacity for organizing and outreach.
SVP’s Youth Philanthropists group has given more than $150,000 in grants since 2000 to organizations focused on a range of issues such as literacy, mental illness, domestic violence, child abuse, teen depression and suicide, quality childcare and the environment.
If you know of a teen who is interested in giving back, or looking to complete their community service requirement, SVP Youth Philanthropists could be a great fit! Besides the 30-50 community service hours, Youth Philanthropists provides the opportunity for teens to participate in a grantmaking cycle, collaborate with their peers to complete projects, interact meaningfully to reach consensus, and lead their peers in activities.
The Youth Philanthropists program begins again in September and members meet twice a month throughout the school year. For more information or to get your family involved, email Ben Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.