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Organizing for Worker Justice

Founded in 1977, for the last 38 years the Discount Foundation has helped propel organizations devoted to worker organizing, racial justice and immigrant rights from the margins toward the center, and has played a part in shaping an economic justice movement of low-wage workers that is now reaching critical mass.

In 2012 the board decided to spend down its funds and cease operation in 2015. The Foundation’s endowment was hard hit by the market crash of 2007-2008. Rather than attempt to push the Foundation forward with a smaller giving capacity, the board decided to increase both grant size and total annual grant payout in order to assist vulnerable groups through this challenging economic period and establish an orderly exit plan. The time has now come for us to close our doors.

We are proud of the impact of Discount’s grantmaking in addressing income inequality. We also recognize that the many victories we have seen have been possible because of the partnership of our colleagues in labor and philanthropy who share our belief in the power of grassroots organizing. Most important has been the tenacious efforts our grantees’ staff, board and leaders make every day to build power and demand that all workers be treated with dignity and respect, including fair treatment and a fair day’s pay. Thank you.

Final Retrospective

Black Workers Matter

The Movement to End Wage Theft

retrospective.pngThis report tells some of the Discount Foundation’s story, based on interviews with its founder and with grantees, current and former board members, current and former executive directors, and others in the progressive political and philanthropic landscape. Through this story, the report explores a set of lessons about how to fund community and worker organizing, lessons that take on enhanced importance as the American public turns its attention squarely toward issues of economic inequality. Read more.

blackworkersmatter.pngAsserting that black lives matter also means that the quality of those lives matters. Economic opportunity is inextricably linked to the quality of the lives lived by blacks in America. Several years past the Great Recession of 2008, the American economy has recovered, and workers and families in most demographic groups have begun to participate in that recovery. Yet African Americans have yet to feel those benefits. Focus on the recession obscures the fact that our country has been harboring a black jobs crisis for many decades, and there are no signs on the horizon of an immediate resolution of that crisis. Read more.

This report examines over a dozen examples of organizations utilizing innovative tactics to combat the illegal practice of wage theft. Commissioned by the Discount Foundation. Read more.