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The Tzedek 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.
Tzedek grants two Brilliance Awards per year:
- The Ella Baker Brilliance Award – This award is offered In honor of the civil rights legend, community organizer and strategist, Ella Baker, who co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. The Ella Baker Brilliance Award will be given to a Black community leader in Asheville who has empowered and organized others to address systemic oppression in our area and has lived in our area for at least 5 years.
- The Pauli Murray Brilliance Award – This award is offered in honor of Pauli Murray, a brilliant Black legal scholar, priest and activist, who fully embodied the concept of intersectional activism. Their legal work was the inspiration for Thurgood Marshall’s victory in Brown vs Board of Education and Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s victory in securing employment rights for women. The Pauli Murray Brilliance Award will be given to a community leader who has lived in the Asheville area for at least 5 years and who, like Pauli Murray, has been involved in a wide variety of social justice efforts and who understands that all struggles for liberation are connected.
Nominate yourself or someone you know using the link below. 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.
Examples of Past Achievements Eligible for the Brilliance Awards
Tzedek believes that wide-ranging community efforts–from artistic interventions to grassroots organizing to nonprofit/governmental/private collaborations–are impactful and deserving of recognition. While these no-strings attached grants do not fund specific activities, the examples below illustrate the types of past achievements Tzedek seeks to recognize through Brilliance Award nominations.
Example 1 – A nominee has spent the past decade providing spiritual support to social justice leaders as a prayer warrior, Santeria practitioner or other form of healing practice. Community leaders often go to them to heal from the trauma of social justice work and they are widely recognized as a resource.
Example 2 – A nominee is an artist whose work brings attention to racial justice, LGBTQ justice movements and/or efforts to combat antisemitism.
Example 3 – A nominee provides strategic leadership to racial justice, LGBTQ justice movements and/or efforts to combat antisemitism. They may not be on the frontlines of the work, but they provide crucial advice about long-term strategy.
HOW AWARDEES ARE SELECTED
STEP 1: Potential awardees can nominate themselves or be nominated by others using the form below. Nominations will be accepted until 5pm on October 8th.
STEP 2: All eligible nominees will be invited to an Application Support session on October 14th and October 15th to learn more about the Brilliance Awards, network with other nominees and to receive support, if needed, in completing the full application for the Brilliance Awards.
STEP 3: The Brilliance Awards Review Selection Committee reviews all nominations and ranks nominees using the criteria linked here.
- Informational Webinar – October 1, 2021 1pm EST
- Nominations Due – Friday, October 8, 2021 5pm EST
- Nominee Application Support Sessions (by invitation only) – October 14th and October 15th
- Final Nominee Information Due – Monday, November 1, 2021 5pm EST
- Awardees Notified – December 15, 2021
Tzedek staff will host a webinar on October 1st at 1pm EST to answer questions regarding the Tzedek Brilliance Awards. Please submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, September 29, 2021. Click here to register for the webinar. A recording will be shared through Facebook and our website.
For more information about the Brilliance Awards, please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)