Interfaith Action is thrilled to be the recipient of a 2021 Damus Award. The Damus Awards are a philanthropic project that empowers students at the University of St. Thomas to award at least $25,000 to local nonprofits annually. Every year a group of students determines an area of focus to support and chooses worthy nonprofits for awards. This year’s focus was racial justice.

Interfaith Action was one of the five recipients this year. Each recipient was awarded $5,000.  We were selected because of our effective racial justice work.

Here is an excerpt from executive director Randi Ilyse Roth, who accepted the award on Interfaith Action’s behalf:

In 2015, our board decided that we had to consolidate all of our capital – social, moral, intellectual, reputational, and financial – to act with urgency to help our community, which is in state of emergency rooted in poverty and systemic discrimination.

Today, in this moment of reckoning, when our blinders are off and our community is in so much pain, we understand that we are called to two sets of responses: One set of responses involves reform: criminal justice reform, policing reform, and more. The other set of responses is about poverty. Systemic discrimination pushed whole communities into generational poverty, and COVID made it worse.

We need to bring all our resources to bear on turning that around. We know what kinds of work our houses of worship can do to effectively support families on their pathways
to overcome poverty and realize their goals. Equipping houses of worship to do that work is the work of Interfaith Action.

We believe that opportunity grows and poverty recedes when people of faith invest themselves in effective action. We work to equip houses of worship to boost their neighbors’ stability and economic mobility; we build connections between clergy, congregants, philanthropy, and the civic infrastructure of this city; and we work to strengthen congregations by strengthening their social justice work.”

We at Interfaith Action deeply appreciate this award.