Oregon Consumer Justice hopes to fund three to six organizations to help strengthen their capacity to participate in state-level policy and advocacy work in Oregon, with a focus on consumer justice.
We are particularly interested in helping build capacity for smaller, culturally specific organizations that:
- Have existing relationships in their communities, and
- Are interested in exploring state-level policy and advocacy projects, perhaps for the first time.
We have heard from partners that there are two key barriers to doing policy and advocacy work: A lack of consistent funding needed to maintain staff for multi-year campaigns, and policy grants that require work on a specific issue.
OCJ is hoping to alleviate these barriers through general operating support grants and flexibility around issues under a broad consumer justice framework. Our goal is to help partners, organizations, and coalitions be in a stronger position to advance consumer justice in meaningful ways in the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions. We will engage grantees in developing a learning circle, and will support the cohort with onboarding, staff trainings focusing on policy and advocacy work, and assistance with the creation of a collaborative space to explore policy solutions for legislative action.
If you have any questions or want to talk about this funding opportunity, please contact Chris Coughlin at email@example.com or 503-312-8178.
Consumer justice can mean many different things. If a business takes advantage of someone and charges more than they should, or doesn’t offer the full services advertised, that may be a consumer injustice. Consumer injustices can also include issues within housing, healthcare, or other systems in our lives. OCJ has been holding listening sessions with community organizations to hear directly from Oregonians about the consumer issues they are facing, from high interest car loan rates, to not being able to cancel automatic payments for services no longer wanted, to medical debt collection practices and scams.
In 2022, we are moving into a strategic planning process and will be prioritizing policy topics that align with our mission. As we develop our 2023 legislative agenda, we want to continue building on the listening sessions held with community members. We also want to work with partner organizations to identify the consumer justice issues most important to our communities. From there, we hope to collaboratively define policy solutions that will bring us closer to justice.
Amounts and Timeline
We anticipate that most grants will be made in amounts of $100,000 to $200,000, and the timeframe of the policy and advocacy efforts will span from 2022 through the 2024 Oregon legislative session. We are open to larger requests, and we hope this will be an initial step in a longer term relationship to work together to achieve justice for Oregon’s consumers. Please reach out for a conversation with Chris Coughlin (firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-312-8178) if you plan to submit a larger request to discuss your proposal.
We recognize that it will take multi-year campaigns to enact transformational change on issues impacting consumers–from debt collection, to predatory business practices, to imposter scams. We must acknowledge that OCJ is not in a position to make multi-year grants at this time. However, although funding from this grant opportunity will be awarded by summer 2022, funds don’t have to be fully spent until 2024. We are asking grant applicants to include a budget that will fund staff from 2022 through the end of the 2024 legislative session (March 2024).
We will encourage and support grantees to join existing coalition efforts around consumer justice issues where they exist or emerge. We understand that new and existing staff across partner organizations might benefit from common trainings and technical assistance, as well as opportunities to develop common legislative strategies. OCJ will provide support for training, technical assistance, and strategic conversations to be developed in collaboration with the grantee cohort.
Grants will be made with minimal requirements for reporting, though we expect to be in regular contact with grantees to identify common policy interests, training and technical assistance needs, and to explore where we might develop common strategies for the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions.
The deadline to apply for the first round of grants is Monday, March 28 at 12pm. We hope to review proposals and make initial grant decisions in April. Depending on the level of interest during the first round of funding, there may be a second round of funds distributed in May.
- How will you use this funding to either build new capacity or strengthen your existing capacity to engage in state-level policy and advocacy projects, with a focus on consumer justice? Please include the categories of spending you anticipate. These might include salaries and benefits, travel, meeting expenses, computer equipment, and administrative overhead. You can provide either a budget worksheet or a narrative explanation.
- Where do you see connections with your organization’s mission and programs and consumer justice?
- Please provide a brief description of your organization’s history with policy and/or advocacy projects.
- What topics would be most important and beneficial to cover in cohort meetings? These might include various elements of the legislative process, best practices around policy solutions on specific consumer issues, or other topics. Please indicate topics that would be helpful for new and/or current staff.
- How could you imagine working with OCJ and other grantees to develop common policy interests and strategies for the 2023 legislative session?