Social Justice Fund Northwest




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $2,925,259
Expenses: $3,008,979
Assets: $4,459,365



Executive Director:

Mijo Lee

Executive Director's Compensation:


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The Social Justice Fund Northwest (also styled Social Justice Fund NW) is a funder of left-of-center activism and advocacy projects in the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming initially founded in 1978 as “A Territory Resource” (ATR). The group developed a model of left-wing activist organizing-fundraising known as “Giving Projects”; participants in these projects raise funds for community organizing and other activist organizations. 1

The fund coordinates activist experiences for donors who pay for training, coaching and then work for a designated six-month period on projects with ethnically diverse and “cross-class” group of participants. The fund finds groups that support leftist causes, then provides them funding, and recruits rich liberals to help support the groups. 2 In 2017, Social Justice Fund NW made $1.18 million in grants. 3


Social Justice Fund NW was founded under the name “A Territory Resource” in 1978. The group changed its name to Social Justice Fund NW in 2005. 4

In 1997, the Board of Directors of the group reduced the minimum contribution to increase the organization’s size and to include less-affluent members of the liberal community. By reducing the cost of membership from a higher undisclosed amount to $1,000 or one percent of member’s annual income enrollment increased, and the board eventually lowered the dues to only $240 for all members in 2003 to increase the organizations size. 5

The group’s political positioning is radical-left; it quotes Cuban Communist militant and Castro regime figure Che Guevara on its website’s “Mission, Vision, Values” page. 6

Giving Projects

The flagship programs of Social Justice Fund Northwest are its “Giving Projects” with the mission of “raising and distributing resources” to left-wing organizing projects. 7 Activists who join a Giving Project pay dues and participate in six-months of activist training, coaching, grassroots organizing, participating in the grantmaking process, participating on community boards, and launching independent fundraising campaigns. 8 Social Justice Fund NW operates only in the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming for fundraising, grantmaking, and membership.

Special consideration for grantmaking is given to groups that prioritize “building political power in communities of color” and recruiting “white allies” for left-of-center ethnic activism. 9

2018-2019 Giving Projects

Below are the descriptions of Social Justice Fund Northwest Giving Projects for 2018-2019. 10

  • Criminal Justice – Seattle and Portland is designed to address a perceived disproportionate targeting of minority groups by law enforcement and to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants in the Settle area.
  • Economic Justice – Portland and Seattle attempts to address economic issues.
  • Leaderfull Movements – Seattle is an online training project to allow persons outside the Pacific northwest to have access to Social Justice Fund trainings.
  • The Rural and Small-Town Organizing Giving Project funds activists in small towns, on Native American Indian reservations, and rural communities, but in reality, the majority of resources are allocated to the large urban centers of Seattle and Portland.
  • Gender Justice Giving Project – Portland works with women, girls, and transgender and other gender non-conforming people to express their gender and sexual orientation.
  • Coalitions and Alliances Giving Project – Portland and Seattle attempts to train leaders to stitch disparate coalitions of different communities together by organizing members by race, gender, and sexual orientation.
  • Black Led Organizing Giving Project citing “Black liberation”11 theories, this project will only support persons that are led by people of black American or of African descent and attempts to highlight alleged anti-black racism, discrimination, and to promote economic investment that is restricted to Black-owned businesses in the northwestern United States.
  • Environmental Justice Giving Project – Seattle targets rural and urban organizations working on environmentalist policies, rent controls, addressing neighborhood blight, and the so-called “just transition”12 from market capitalism toward a state socialist environmentalist economy envisioned by the “Green New Deal.” 13

Associated Groups

Social Justice Fund NW collaborates with five other left-of-center groups in its Giving Projects. 14


Executive Director Mijo Lee was a public defender dealing with fair trade, police accountability, and immigrant rights before joining Social Justice Fund NW’s board and is still on the board of Grassroots International. 15


  1. Beyer, Tamiko. “Donor Organizers: Behind an Inclusive New Approach to Social Justice Funding.” Inside Philanthropy. September 19, 2018. Accessed August 02, 2019.
  2. “Giving Projects.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed August 02, 2019.
  3. Social Justice Fund Northwest, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part IX Line 1
  4. “History.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 19, 2019.
  5. “History.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 19, 2019.
  6. “How We Make Change.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 19, 2019.
  7. “How We Make Change.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 19, 2019.
  8. “Giving Projects.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  9. “Grants.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  10. “Giving Projects.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  11. “Black Led Organizing Giving Project.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  12. “Policy Brief: NGO Brief: Just Transition in Focus: SDG Knowledge Hub: IISD.” SDG Knowledge Hub. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  13. “Environmental Justice Giving Project – Seattle.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  14. “Giving Projects.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  15. “Mijo Lee.” Social Justice Fund NW. Accessed July 19, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1978

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,925,259 $3,008,979 $4,459,365 $1,033,899 N $2,752,370 $161,868 $35,498 $89,330
    2015 Dec Form 990 $3,259,621 $2,013,019 $3,772,036 $263,173 N $3,217,508 $0 $47,716 $88,659 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,780,578 $1,396,780 $2,457,998 $146,558 N $1,667,249 $0 $55,319 $100,603 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,443,598 $1,376,769 $1,996,960 $18,526 N $1,324,571 $0 $38,588 $83,991 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,857,855 $1,731,089 $1,833,440 $15,853 N $1,813,144 $0 $35,121 $82,914 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,028,016 $789,358 $1,650,948 $17,926 N $996,343 $0 $36,146 $69,298 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Social Justice Fund Northwest

    1904 3RD AVE STE 806
    SEATTLE, WA 98101-1189