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Books for Prisoners – recipient of the 2020 Spring Grant from the Community Sustaining Fund

Thank you to all who participate in our register Round Up! program, contributing to the Community Sustaining Fund’s ability to provide grants for our community!

News from the 2020 Spring Grant of the
Community Sustaining Fund

June 13, 2020

Community Sustaining Fund Spring Grant recipient “Books for Prisoners” gets requests from inmates around the country. With a chapter in Olympia, their work is handled totally by volunteers. A social change aspect of their work centers around their efforts to give marginal communities the opportunity to ask for, and have their needs met. And with the current political strife taking place, not only in the US but globally, their work also addresses the systemic issues of mass incarceration in our prison system, especially the disproportionate number of black people imprisoned.

Prisoners in our various prison facilities are able to request specific books, or simply receive 3-4 books from this organization. These can often serve as a lifeline to the outer world. If a specific book is requested, the volunteers will do their best to find that book, or something similar, sometimes from their own pockets. The only type of books they do not send are ones that promote white supremacy and racism.

Their funding comes primarily through yard sales and benefits, with some of their books coming from Dumpster Values in downtown Olympia. Because of the pandemic, they have not been able to bring in the money regularly needed to ship out books to prisoner requests.

Because the work they are doing for our community was deemed very valuable, because they humbly asked for even less than the grant limit, and because so few applied during this grant cycle, it was decided through our consensus decision-making process to award Books to Prisoners the full amount possible—$1,000, with the stipulation that $250 of those funds be set aside to purchase specific books not available from their book stockpile.

Remaining funds from this cycle will be carried over to add to whatever comes to CSF from Round Ups at the Register at the Olympia Food Co-op. Our next cycle will be held in the Fall of 2020. All donations to CSF are gratefully accepted, whether from Round Ups or from larger donations. We now have PayPal available for donations.

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