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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

Brooklyn-Focused Social Justice Fund Names Awardees

Black, Brooklyn-based leader-activists in the fields of health care, climate policy, education, journalism, and criminal justice are the first five awardees of the Tsai Foundation’s Social Justice Fund, launched by Clara Wu Tsai and Joe Tsai, owners of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, the WNBA’s New York Liberty and Barclays Center. 

The fund is part of the couple’s five-point action plan to support social justice and equality initiatives that benefit black and indigenous people and people of color. It has committed $50 million over 10 years to drive economic empowerment and address the systemic imbalances that produce racial gaps in education, health, and wealth, with a priority focus on Brooklyn.

Winners of the first award were announced last month. They include Uché Blackstock, M.D., an ER doctor and the founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, which partners with healthcare organizations to combat bias and structural racism in the healthcare system; Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank dedicated to advancing equitable climate policies in coastal cities; Natasha S. Alford, a journalist and storyteller who amplifies untold stories impacting black America; Rafiq Kalam Id-Din II, founder of black-led Ember Charter Schools, in Bed-Stuy, which is focused on African and African American culture and dedicated to anti-racism and justice for black students; and Michael “Zaki” Smith, an activist and policy expert who works to dismantle the barriers in employment, education, and housing that prevent formerly incarcerated Americans like himself from fully reintegrating into society. 

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