Support for social action
Following a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a parishioner from Sacred Heart, Edinburgh wanted to arrange a variety of education and outreach talks to raise awareness of the reality of life in OPT, and encourage others to take actions of solidarity. The barrier to this was funding.
Thankfully she’d heard about the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice (JFSJ), and made an application for support for these justice education outreach talks, which the committee was delighted to be in a position to offer.
The Jesuit Fund for Social Justice (JFSJ) is a modest initiative of the Jesuits in Britain, which makes financial resources available to enable individuals and communities to do something about a faith that does justice. We’re all good at talking about social justice, and have the best of intentions, but sometimes we stop there. The JFSJ hopes to enable people who have amazing ideas, and who have a connection to the Jesuits in Britain, to roll up their sleeves and get started. Funding – be it start-up funding, bridging funding, or seed funding – should never prevent great things from happening in our communities.
JFSJ offers grants of around £2,000 – £5,000 to act as a catalyst to kickstart projects and initiatives emerging from parishes, schools and works of the Jesuits in Britain. The manner in which the Jesuits are present across the Province is changing. The JFSJ is a way in which the charism and mission of the Jesuits can be shared further.
"It offers a proactive way in which we can encourage a collaborative Church" said Julian Filochowski, who has recently joined the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice as the Chair. "We want to support incredible projects to get off the ground. Our ecclesiastical communities have the passion, the desire, and the skills to make good and valuable things happen, and the Jesuits, through the JFSJ, want to enable and empower them to do it.
The committee is looking to see applications that seek to engage communities, just as the justice education project shared a message of global injustice in the Edinburgh community. Perhaps you have an idea that will support those struggling in your community with a food bank; or you have the kernel of an idea to use the skills in your school community to teach English; or an initiative that takes inspiration from Laudato Si’ and caring for our common home. The aim is to give projects the money to get off the ground, to take the risk to start that new initiative.
"I hope the JFSJ will enable people to make a difference in their communities in a positive way, through social action" continue Filochowski. "We recognise that collaboration, social justice and walking with the excluded are all pathways to relationship with God. If you have a great idea, large or small, I encourage you to take the risk and apply."
The Jesuit Fund for Social Justice reviews applications three times a year. The next closing date is 1st October.
This article first appeared on Jesuits & Friends summer 2019 edition.