The People’s Fund awards $220,000 to 11 grassroots activists working on food system reform

Program aims to achieve racial equity in the movement to create a just and sustainable food system

LOS ANGELES (July 20, 2023) — As part of its work to end industrial animal agriculture, build people power, and honor its commitment to racial equity, Mercy For Animals is excited to announce the 2023 grantees of The People’s Fund. Established in October 2020 as a grant program to address racial inequity in funding and support mission-aligned advocates and organizations, The People’s Fund has awarded a total of $921,750, including $220,000 this year to 11 grantees, each receiving $20,000.

The People’s Fund congratulates this year’s grant recipients:

All Relations United (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD)
APEX Advocacy (Atlanta, GA)
— Beyond Humane Education (digital)
Black VegFest (New York, NY)
Black Veg Society (Baltimore, MD)
The Cypher (New York, NY)
Plant The Power (Columbus, OH)
Rethink Your Food (Miami, FL)
— Sowing Seeds (New York, NY)
Unity Collective (digital)
Veggie Mijas (U.S. chapters in New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; San Francisco Bay Area, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL; Austin, TX; Orlando, FL; and Richmond, VA)

“Beyond Humane Education supports educators and advocates in learning and teaching about the interconnected systems of racism and animal oppression,” said Dana McPhall of Beyond Humane Education. “The project seeks to cultivate communities of practice and develop educational resources that support building connections with nonhuman animals and deepening knowledge about oppressive systems that harm us all. … I wanted to get involved with The People’s Fund not only to generate additional support for my project but to become part of a community committed to uplifting the perspectives, ideas, and voices of those who have traditionally been marginalized within animal protection spaces.”

“Rethink Your Food implements culturally appropriate plant-focused diet- and menu-change initiatives in Caribbean communities to address the need for a more sustainable approach to nutrition security,” said Liz Ross of Rethink Your Food. “In sharing its resources through The People’s Fund, Mercy For Animals acknowledges the need to counter imbalance in the distribution of resources between larger animal welfare organizations and grassroots organizations that focus on both farmed animal advocacy and food justice work.”

“Black, Indigenous, Latine, and other racially marginalized people in the United States have long mobilized to combat environmental racism and food apartheid linked to industrial animal agriculture,” said Erin Kwiatkowski, grant manager of The People’s Fund. “We know that we will not succeed in constructing a just and sustainable food system if these food-justice activists are not fully resourced. Mercy For Animals is honored to have supported the incredible work of the 27 leaders and organizations awarded grants through The People’s Fund since 2020, and we look forward to further supporting this year’s grantees.” 

The People’s Fund seeks to address racial inequity in funding through participatory, community-centric grantmaking and event sponsorship. Each grantee organization has a decision-making team that is at least 75% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and an annual budget of less than $200,000. This is the first year The People’s Fund has awarded multiyear funding by providing two-year grants to five organizations (Black VegFest, Black Veg Society, The Cypher, Plant The Power, and Veggie Mijas), demonstrating our trust in their leadership and vision to community-led philanthropy. 

Notes to Editors

For more information or to schedule an interview with Erin Kwiatkowski or one of this year’s grantees, contact [email protected].  

Mercy For Animals is a leading international nonprofit working to end industrial animal agriculture by constructing a just and sustainable food system. Active in Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United States, the organization has conducted more than 100 investigations of factory farms and slaughterhouses, influenced more than 500 corporate policies, and helped pass historic legislation to ban cages for farmed animals. Join us at