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Tzedek Social Justice Fund is currently accepting nominations for the Tzedek Brilliance Awards. The Brilliance Awards are a one-time, no-strings-attached grant of $50,000 given to leaders who have consistently shown up to dismantle systemic oppression in the Asheville, North Carolina region.
The Tzedek Brilliance Awards honor Asheville’s leaders who are engaged in impactful, intersectional efforts to further racial justice, LGBTQ equality, and/or to combat antisemitism. As opposed to the majority of Tzedek’s grantmaking that funds organizational work, Brilliance Awards are designed to cultivate the well-being of individual brilliant community leaders by investing in their spaciousness, autonomy, and wisdom. Past awardees are local community organizers, activists, and culture-builders, including Nicole Townsend, Marta Alcalá-Williams, Sheneika Smith, and Renée White.
Nicole Townsend is a former Regional Organizer at Southerners on New Ground (SONG), where she co-led Black Mama’s Bail Out, as well as supported the leadership of Queer and Transgender folks in Buncombe County and across the South. As Executive Director of Equity and Community Engagement for Asheville City Schools, Marvelous Math Club co-founder, and Racial Equity Institute (REI) Asheville Core Team leader, Marta Alcalá-Williams has worked for over thirty years to create a culture of equity, racial justice, and collective liberation through community engagement, partnership, and education in Asheville.
Sheneika Smith is the founder of Date My City, a social organization that sought to enhance the cultural identity of Black Asheville by fostering social cohesion, increasing civic participation, and centralizing Black leadership. As the former East End/Valley Street Neighborhood Association President and as the current Asheville Buncombe Community Land Trust Board Vice-Chair and Rosa Walker Advancement Initiative board member, Renée White spearheaded neighborhood advocacy for community investments and public policy changes for the historically African American neighborhood deeply impacted by the community destruction caused by urban renewal.
I am honored to receive the Brilliance award and to be recognized for the work I do to make impactful positive change and to help people of all walks of life…This award means that my work has not been in vain but recognized in a mighty way by so many people.Renée White
Interested individuals are invited to nominate themselves or other leaders in the community on Tzedek’s website. Nominations are due June 10th. All nominees must be a full-time resident of the Asheville area (living within 30 miles of The Asheville City Building) for at least 5 years and must not hold an elected office or advanced government position. We especially encourage nominations from people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and Jewish individuals. All applicants from the prior Brilliance Awards are automatically considered and do not require a new nomination.
For more information on the application process and applicant criteria, visit Tzedek’s website.