Liberation in our Lifetime Honorees

We are proud to honor these organizers and grassroots groups at the 2020 Tribute to Change on October 13. These honorees embody this year’s theme, Liberation in our Lifetime.

Samantha Rise

Photo: James O’Brien

Emerging Leader Award

This award is given to an individual who is beginning to make their mark as a community organizer.

Samantha Rise is a Black gender-expansive performer, teaching artist, activist and human-amplifier in Philadelphia. Samantha first fell in love with this city as a student at Temple University in 2006, where they earned their BFA in Jazz Performance. Since graduating, Samantha’s passion for music and community building are the heart of their work: most recently as the Program Director at Girls Rock Philly, a music mentorship space for girls, women and gender-expansive youth and adults in Philly. Samantha loves to build and feed spaces that are inquiry-driven, participant led, and abundant in joy! 

Samantha identifies as a musician and vocalist and believes that music is a birthright: they are dedicated to creating equitable access and to music as a tool for healing, transformative justice, and self-determination. Deeply committed to re-imagining safety in Philadelphia, Samantha strives to practice accountability to students and educators, essential workers, the unhoused, incarcerated human beings, and ongoing work for collective liberation centering black lives, in our city and transnationally. 

They love sharing their original music and bringing music and chanting back to movement spaces and radical organizing in Philadelphia. While unaffiliated with any one organization in Philly, Samantha is proud to leverage their resources and capacity for the new radical imagining at the heart of our City. We can’t sing and be afraid at the same time. 

Robert Saleem Holbrook

Trailblazer Award

This award is given to an outstanding leader in community organizing who has helped to pave the way for others. 

Robert Saleem Holbrook is the executive director of Abolitionist Law Center (ALC), a law firm dedicated to ending race and class based discrimination in the criminal justice system. ALC has offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He is a co-founder of the Human Rights Coalition, an organization with chapters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that is composed of family members of prisoners and which advocates on behalf of the civil and human rights of prisoners. He also sit on the advisory boards of the Amistad Law Project and Youth Art and Self-empowerment Project, and is a member of 1Hood, a movement of socially conscious hip hop artists and community activists, for which he started a prison chapter called 1Hood United to help mentor youth in Pennsylvania’s state prisons.  

Jose de Marco

Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to social change throughout their lifetime.

Jose de Marco is an AfroLatinx queer man living with HIV since 1987. He began working in HIV after the loss of his 20-year life partner, Vernon Beasley, to AIDS. Motivated from grief to anger that was generated by racism, homophobia, and government neglect, he became a member of ACT UP Philadelphia (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and has remained for the last 25 years.  

José has worked on dozens of campaigns to improve the quality of the lives of people with HIV. He has been arrested many times after organizing massive demonstrations. José publicly confronting both President Bush and President Obama on broken AIDS promises to dying people in South Africa. He has worked on many local Philadelphia campaigns from condoms in high schools to condoms in local jails. ACT UP is currently working on a harm reduction and housing campaign to open the first safe consumption site in Philadelphia as HIV infections rising rapidly spiking and overdose deaths. 

Jose knows that HIV is proof positive of social injustice. Racism, poverty, homelessness, and addiction are generating disproportionate HIV infections in black and brown queer and transgender communities. He recently organized the Queer Trans Black and Brown Community Control of Health to confront the same issues. 

Philadelphia Community Bail Fund

Victory is Ours Award

This award is given to a community organization, union, or campaign that has advanced movements for racial and economic justice. 

Philadelphia Community Bail Fund (PCBF) was founded in May 2017 with a mission to end cash bail and pretrial detention in Philadelphia. Until that day comes, they post bail for our neighbors who cannot afford to do so. They are abolitionist, Black-led, and committed to Black feminist principles. Since their founding, they have purchased the freedom of 483 people and posted $3,108,027 in bail. Since the onset of COVID-19, they’ve brought 244 people home for over $2 million. PCBF is almost entirely volunteer run and is led by and organizes with people who are directly impacted. In addition to posting bail, they work to end pretrial detention through direct actions, demonstrations, base building, strategic lawsuits, and work with local and national coalitions. 

Asian Mosaic Fund

Robin Hood was Right Award

This award is given to an individual or group making an outstanding contribution to social change philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. 

Asian Mosaic Fund (AMF) is a volunteer-led giving circle that supports community-based organizations that are led by and serve Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in Greater Philadelphia. They value philanthropy that is democratic, participatory, and community-led. By giving a voice to underrepresented communities, their diverse group of multi-ethnic and multi-generational donors are empowered to vote on how their collective funds should be allocated among local AAPI-led and AAPI-serving nonprofits. The work of AMF is informed by and built upon their lived experiences, and by leveraging our collective knowledge and resources, they believe they can better support the resiliency of AAPI communities. 

Established in 2010 by the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Philadelphia Chapter (AAPIP Philadelphia), AMF has since provided over $213,000 in funding to support over 30 community-led organizations that are committed to creating more sustainable and vibrant communities. Their work spans a wide range of issue areas that includes: social, economic, and racial justice; civic engagement; immigrant and refugee support; K-12 and adult education; social services; and arts and culture. 

Philadelphia Black Giving Circle

PBGC’s founding steering committee

Robin Hood was Right Award

This award is given to an individual or group making an outstanding contribution to social change philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. 

The Philadelphia Black Giving Circle (PBGC) was launched in February of 2018 and to date has provided $145,000 in grants to 17 Philadelphia Black-led and Black-serving organizations. PBGC’s mission is to leverage collective resources from diverse donors to support non-profit organizations undertaking impactful work in the Black community. 

PBGC was organized as a result of a seminal report commissioned by the Philadelphia African-American Leadership Forum, in which data showed that Black-led non-profits rely more on government funding, have fewer cash reserves, and serve more low-income people than White led non-profits. PBGC is member driven, and is currently led by five volunteers acting as a steering committee.

PBGC completed one fundraising and grantmaking cycle in February 2019 and made grants to six organizations in Philadelphia in the environmental, arts, education, healthcare, and criminal justice sectors. PBGC is currently wrapping up its second cycle, started in May 2020 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic and evolved as a result of the murder of George Floyd and the resurgent calls for racial justice. The second cycle saw over 700 donors and awarded 11 non-profits working on the frontlines of recovery and justice in late August.  

Help us honor these organizers and grassroots groups by becoming a sponsor or paying what you wish to register for the Tribute to Change on October 13.