download ferguson commission report (PDF)

Racial Healing + Justice Fund

A Community Designed Fund

Too often Black and Brown St. Louisans, people of color, don’t have power over the resources for community healing, justice, and transformation. Nearly six years after the Ferguson Uprising there’s an urgency to lean into the discomfort of racial healing needed to build a just and equitable society. The Racial Healing+Justice Fund makes it a priority that residents who are directly affected by racial inequity are the ones who design the strategy and govern the investment of the funds into the community.

Forward Through Ferguson (FTF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and does not operate as a foundation or grantor. FTF leads project management and provides community design/engagement support for the Racial Healing + Justice Fund while support for grant administration is provided by Deaconess Foundation.


The first round of grant applications is now closed.

In 2021, the Fund plans to have three open application periods—fill out this form to be notified of future grant application rounds.

To read about the RHJF Funding Priorities, click here. To read the RHJF Granting Philosophy, click here.

The Community Governance Board!

The first Community Governance Board was introduced at the RH+JF Launch event on October 21st, the Community Governance Board, chosen by The Selection Committee.

The Community Governance Board is made up of Black and people of color St. Louis community members who oversee the Funds investment. This includes finalizing the Fund’s grant priorities based on community voice, reviewing and selecting applications to receive funding, and continuing to develop the Fund’s focus through ongoing community design.

Our Approach — Community designed, Community decision-making


Learn More

Take a listen to hear more about healing justice, the focus of the investment of this fund, in this video from our partners at the Institute for Healing Justice & Equity.

Learn about the Community Design Process — Summer 2020

For the fund to be community-designed and led, we embarked on a wide-ranging engagement process with residents, community healers, and community organizers.

Download the engagement plan to learn more about the design and engagement process.


Racial Healing + Justice Fund Launch

Watch the recording of the Racial Healing + Justice Fund Launch to hear more about the community-designed and community led fund.


  • November 30th – First granting application cycle closed.


  • October 21st – Public launch of St. Louis Racial Healing + Justice Fund! 

Past Engagements:

  • Friday, June 26th, 6-7:30 pm. Interactive Panel Discussion on Healing, Justice for All, and Youth at the Center:  Watch the discussion here.
  • Wednesday, July 8th, 1-2:30 pm:Engagement Session with Organizing Table
  • Thursday, July 9th, 6-8:30 pm:Racial Healing Practitioner Convening
  • Community Organizer & Healing Practitioner Surveys (surveys closed 7/20/2020)
  • July 17 – 25 — Community Vision+Priorities Survey
    • Will be posted on @stlchange and shared through community organization partners.
  • July 20 — #Don’tRush Social Media Book Share and Challenge
    • How to get involved will be released soon! Community members will be invited to share their videos on Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok for the chance to win a prize!
    • Check out the #Don’tRush Book Challenge videos from our Constellations and Staff this past July
  • July 27, 6-7:30 pm — Community Organizers Focus Groups
  • July 27, 10 am – 12 pm — Community Healers Focus Groups
  • August 17 — Racial Healing + Justice Meme Share and Challenge
  • August 13th, 2020 – August 22nd, 2020–Racial Healing + Justice Fund Volunteer Phone Bank (in partnership with WEPOWER.)
      • Orientation with Training and Phone Bank Sessions:
        • Thursday, 8/13/2020,  5:30-8:30 pm
        • Saturday, 8/15/2020 2-5 pm
        • Sunday, 8/16/2020, 2-5 pm
        • Tuesday, 8/18/2020, 5:30-8:30 pm
        • Thursday,  8/20/2020, 5:30-8:30pm
        • Saturday, 8/22/2020, 2-5 pm
      • Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older.
  • August 21, 6:30-7:30 pm — Interactive Panel Discussion on Racial Healing and the Opportunity to Thrive and, Racial Equity Priorities of the Ferguson Commission Report
  • August 31st, 2020–Applications for Community Governance Board will opened.
  • September 10th, 2020–Applications for the Community Governance Body will close. After the application period closes, the interview process will be conducted by a selection committee of Community Organizers and Healing Practitioners to elect a Community Governance Board.

Here’s the list of books our Constellations and Staff are reading:

LadyAshley Gregory– Director Of Community Partnerships(FTF)Unapologetic:A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers
David Dwight IV– Lead Catalyst, Executive Director (FTF)My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
Faybra Hemphill – Catalyst, Director of Racial Equity Capacity(FTF)Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills
Karishma Furtado – Research & Data Catalyst (FTF)Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon
Sara Westbrooks – Senior Operations and Communications Catalyst (FTF)Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown
Alicia Hernández – Organizer ACLU of MOTrece colores de la resistencia hondureña (Letras) by Melissa Cardoza
Adelaide Lancaster –WeStoriesSouthern History Across the Color Line by Nell Irvin Painter
De Nichols – Civic CreativesThe Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Alonzo Townsend – Knox Ent.Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
Salena Burch – Solidarity EconomyCitizen:An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Kira Hudson-Banks – Raising EquityBeyond Survival by Ejeris Dixon, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Maxi Glamour – Demon Queen of Polka and Balaklava (TV Personality/Activist)Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

History of the Fund

Deaconess Foundation, Forward Through Ferguson, and Missouri Foundation for Health, with the thought leadership of InPower Institute, have collaborated to establish the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing Fund to invest in healing community trauma and changing the conditions that reinforce systemic racism. With a matching grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a growing pool of participating organizations, $1.4 million has already been committed to the effort. Through a community-led grantmaking process, the fund will support efforts to develop capacity and infrastructure in the racial justice movement to envision, articulate, and create a transformed St. Louis region through community organizing and healing arts.

What Do We Mean by Healing + Justice?

Racial healing + justice is the commitment to change the conditions of systemic racism that reinforce disparities and endanger lives and to heal the core of our community. This framing has its origins in the community healing work and wisdom of InPower Institute.

The Healing focus includes:

  • Creating space to share truth narratives, communal grieving, and communal connection on race and systemic racism;
  • Enabling restoration, reverence, respect, and trust, at all levels of a community; 
  • Building and exercising individual power and resilience; and 
  • Providing support for the spiritual and emotional health of community organizers and advocates. 

The Justice focus includes:

  • Changing the conditions of racial inequities by continuously supporting current and future leaders of color; 
  • Centering, growing, and activating grassroots knowledge;
  • Broadening resident engagement to operationalize policymaker accountability structures and practices; and
  • Uplifting communal mobilization for system change.

Core Principles

Prioritize Inclusion & Community Voice

  • Uplift and engage St. Louis’s  Black and POC communities
  • Center the value of lived experience, emotional wisdom, and intellect

Grow Community Awareness, Power, and Resilience

  • Acknowledge collective impact
  • Guard sacredness of members’ powers as individuals
  • Invest in community capacity

Humanize Equity 

  • Push back against white supremacy culture and mindset
  • Promote the health of one’s whole self
  • Create liberating practices which harness the power of imagination to self determine and self actualize community healing

Take Action

FTF Co-Chairs and Community Partners Call for Swift Policy Action

Residents Call for Policy Change, Regional Leaders Must Rise to the Challenge Forward Through Ferguson co-chairs, Rebeccah Bennett and Zachary Boyers, and 30 community partners call on policy and decision makers to deliver swift action on Ferguson Commission Calls to Action.  Read the full statement on Medium, or download a pdf here. “Unfortunately, we’ve been…

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A Path To Racial Equity Worksheet

Racial Equity is a state in which race no longer predicts outcomes. Achieving Racial Equity is the mission of Forward Through Ferguson. But the 189 calls to action in the Ferguson Commission Report are a reminder that there is no one-step, straight-line path from our current state—where racial disparities exist in almost every set of…

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Opportunity for a New Approach to Public Safety in St. Louis

An open letter to Mayor Lyda Krewson from Rebeccah Bennett and Zachary Boyers, Co-chairs of Forward Through Ferguson, on the public safety opportunity in front of our region. Click here to download a pdf of the open letter. Mayor Krewson, The retirement of Police Chief Sam Dotson represents a new day for public safety in St. Louis….

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