Discount Foundation Legacy Award
The Discount Legacy Award annually identifies, supports and celebrates an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributed significantly to workers’ rights movements in the United States and/or globally. Through public recognition and a $20,000 stipend, we hope to recognize and amplify the work of individuals at the intersections leading the way toward justice for low-wage workers of color. This is a one of a kind opportunity to recognize the often unheard voices of worker movements - that includes volunteers, members, workplace leaders, and more who are transforming the lives and rights of their fellow low-wage workers of color.
Created in partnership with Jobs With Justice Education Fund and the Neighborhood Funders Group’s Funders for a Just Economy, the Discount Foundation Legacy Award was launched in 2015 to commemorate and carry on the legacy of the Foundation’s decades-long history of supporting leading edge organizing in the worker justice arena beyond its spend down as a foundation in 2014.
El Premio Discount Legacy identifica, apoya y celebra anualmente a una persona que ha demostrado un liderazgo sobresaliente y ha contribuido significativamente a los movimientos por los derechos de los trabajadores en los Estados Unidos o en todo el mundo. A través del reconocimiento público y un estipendio de $20,000, esperamos reconocer y ampliar el trabajo de las personas en las intersecciones que lideran el camino hacia la justicia para los trabajadores de color con salarios bajos. Esta es una oportunidad única para reconocer las voces a menudo inauditas de los movimientos de trabajadores, que incluyen voluntarios, miembros, líderes en el lugar de trabajo y más que están transformando las vidas y los derechos de sus compañeros trabajadores de color con salarios bajos.
Creado en asociación con Jobs With Justice Education Fund y los Funders for a Just Economy del Neighborhood Funders Group, el Premio Discount Foundation Legacy se lanzó en 2015 para celebrar y continuar el legado de décadas de historia de la Fundación de apoyar la organización de vanguardia en el campo de la justicia laboral más allá del exceso de gastos como fundación en 2014.
Organizer of Workers' Center of Central New York
“All workers deserve to have a voice and be heard at their place of work, and farmworkers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity” states Crispin Hernandez, who was fired from his job as a dairy worker in Lowville, NY in 2015 after his boss saw him meeting after work with co-workers and human rights organizers to discuss workplace conditions. In May of 2016, he filed suit against the State of New York, challenging the legality of the State Employment Relations Act for categorically excluding farmworkers from collective bargaining protections despite the guarantee contained in New York’s bill of rights that all "employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing." In May of 2019, New York’s Supreme Court Appellate Division issued a ruling affirming the constitutional right of farmworker to organize, while compelling the state legislature to enact strong collective bargaining protections for farmworkers in June of last year. Thanks to Crispin’s courage and leadership, some 80,000 farmworkers can now exercise their right to freely associate in defense of their common interests and negotiate collectively to improve their working conditions.
Crispin is an organizer with the Workers’ Center of New York, where he is working to educate and organize farmworkers to understand their new rights and put them into practice, including leadership in efforts such as the Green Light NY campaign, which successfully won legislation to restore access to drivers licenses for undocumented New Yorkers. Both among workers and farmworker advocates, Crispin is widely respected for his leadership and incisive analysis of the issues affecting New York’s farmworkers. He models a style of leadership and organizing that centers the experience of farmworker communities, uplifts and develops the power of directly impacted people, and emphasizes the collective nature of social change work.
Top 10 2021 Candidates
We have so many amazing nominees for the Discount Foundation Legacy Award, and the nominations remind us, year after year, of the vast, interconnected and often invisible work of front-line workers and community building movements, mutual aid, and solidarity globally. We invite you to learn more about the top ten candidates and to reach out to support their work:Award Runner Up: Rev. Cherri Murphy, Faith Rooted Organizer, Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy
Minister Cherri Murphy is a lead organizer with Gig Workers Rising and Faith Rooted Organizer with East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. She is also a doctoral candidate at Berkeley School of Theology. Gig Workers Rising has been a key voice for workers in the face of the billions being poured in by tech companies like Uber, Doordash and Lyft to strip labor rights for predominantly workers of color. Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy is a project of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) advances economic, racial, and social justice by building a just economy based on good jobs and healthy communities. They aim to address the root causes of economic injustice by developing strategic alliances among community, labor, and people of faith to build power and create change with low-income workers and communities of color.
Abdirahman Muse, Executive Director, Awood Center
The Awood Center is a community organization in Minneapolis focused on advocating for and educating Minnesota’s growing East African communities about their labor rights by educating, organizing, developing leadership and mobilizing to improve the economic and political life of the community and all working people.
Antonio Dominguez Alcala, Worker Leader, CLEAN Carwash Worker Center
The mission of the CLEAN Carwash Campaign is to support and empower car wash workers in Los Angeles, CA as they improve and create long-lasting change in their workplaces, lives, and communities.
Armando Arzate, Member Leader, Workers' Dignity/Dignidad Obrera
Workers’ Dignity is a worker-led center in Nashville, Tennessee organizing for economic justice and dignity for all. They are developing solutions to wage theft and the systemic abuse of workers by building power through relationships with fellow low-wage workers and allies.
Linda Oalican, Co-founder and Executive Director, Damayan Migrant Workers Association
Damayan empowers low-wage workers in New York to fight for their labor, health, gender, and immigrant rights. Established in 2002, their purpose is to build leadership at the grassroots level to eliminate labor trafficking, fight labor fraud and wage theft, and to demand fair labor standards to achieve economic and social justice.
Megan Macaraeg, Organizing Director, Beloved Community Incubator
Beloved Community Incubator supports and organizes resources for community-based cooperatives and social enterprises in Washington, D.C. that have a vision for racial and economic equity and unlikely relationships.
Mohamed Attia, Director, Street Vendor Project
The Street Vendor Project is a membership-based project with more than 1,800 active vendor members who are working together to create a vendors' movement for permanent change in New York City.
Myriam Ramirez, Community Organizer, Make the Road Pennsylvania
Make the Road Pennsylvania is dedicated to organizing the working class in Latino communities, building power for Justice.
Nap Pempena, Secretary General, Migrante USA
Migrante USA is an alliance of Filipino worker and migrant organizations dedicated to fighting for rights and welfare of Filipinos in the U.S. and for the genuine democracy and freedom in the Philippines.
Virginia Badillo, Member Leader, Workers Defense Project; Board Member, Workers Defense Action Fund
Workers Defense Project is a community organization for low-wage, immigrant workers in the Texas construction industry, standing alongside workers as they fight to be paid a living wage and protected in their work.
Co-Executive Director of United for Respect
Andrea Dehlendorf is Co-Executive Director of United for Respect, a national organization building power for people working in low wage jobs by centering their voices, experiences and solutions in the national movement fighting for the future of work, our economy and corporate regulation. With Andrea’s fierce leadership, United for Respect organizes people employed at the country’s largest employers to amplify their demands on corporate leaders in the service economy and policymakers to provide family-sustaining jobs. United for Respect leverages technology — social media and a new digital platform, WorkIt — to support people working in retail by bringing them into communities of support and action with one another. Through online peer networks and on-the-ground base-building strategies, United for Respect scaffolds the leadership and stories of working people to advocate for solutions to the pressing needs of the country’s massive low-wage workforce.
Andrea’s roots in the movement go deep, and include seminal experiences winning major victories with people working in the most unstable and precarious low wage service jobs, from janitors to hotel workers. Prior to United for Respect, Andrea worked on some the labor movements most innovating campaigns including Justice for Janitors, Airport Workers United and hotel worker organizing in Las Vegas. She lives in Oakland, CA with her twelve year old son.
Co-Chair of Stand Up Nashville
A native of Nashville, Odessa Kelly works diligently to bring positive and equitable change to the Nashville community by serving as co-chair for Stand Up Nashville, a coalition of community-based organizations and labor unions that represent the working people of Nashville who have seen our city transformed by development, but have not shared in the benefits of that growth. She also serves as Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), Economic Equity & Jobs task force chair. Her work with NOAH has included building one of the largest and most powerful social justice movements in Nashville. She has advocated for the working class and underserved communities in Nashville, issues ranging from affordable housing to establishing the first ever Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in the state of Tennessee. She believes that Nashville has the potential to achieve a progressive paradigm shift -- a cultural shift in how a traditional southern city becomes a leader in the progressive movement across the country.
Community Organizer and Leader at Migrant Justice
Enrique "Kike" Balcazar immigrated to the United States from Tabasco, Mexico when he was 17 years old. He joined his parents on a dairy farm in rural Vermont and worked for years on farms across the state. Enrique joined Migrant Justice and became a leader in the successful campaign to expand access to driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants in Vermont. He became part of the organization's Farmworker Coordinating Committee and is now an organizer and spokesperson. Enrique is one of the principal architects of Milk with Dignity, a worker-led program securing human rights and economic justice in dairy supply chains. In 2017, during a national campaign calling on Ben & Jerry's to join the program, Enrique and fellow organizer Zully Palacios were arrested by ICE agents while leaving the Migrant Justice office. A wave of protests won their release from detention, though Enrique remains in deportation proceedings. Despite the government's persecution, Enrique continued to lead the Milk with Dignity campaign to victory, signing a historic contract with Ben & Jerry's in October, 2017.
Co-founder of Adhikaar and the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition
Luna Ranjit’s work is rooted in the community. For more than a decade, Luna guided Adhikaar's programs, research, policy advocacy, and partnerships, building visibility and power for the emerging Nepali-speaking immigrant community. As a co-founder of the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, she helped lead the way for the sweeping changes to improve working conditions in the nail salon industry. She also served on the advisory board of the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salons Alliance. Luna has been quoted and featured in print and broadcast media on the issues related to workers’ rights, immigrant rights, language justice, and civic engagement. Her groundbreaking work has been recognized by many community organizations and elected officials. In 2016, she received the Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize created to support and inspire innovative social change makers throughout the world.
Organizer with the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice
As an organizer in New Orleans, Alfred works to win back power for structurally unemployed and underemployed Black men and women through campaigns to achieve higher wages and better standards in his community. Through Alfred’s tremendous organizing campaigns, he has helped win local hiring on post-Katrina public construction and development projects, a “Ban the Box” rule, and a living wage and paid sick leave ordinance for individuals employed under city contracts. “By sitting down and talking with other workers at the New Orleans Worker Center, I realized that we’re in this together,” Alfred said. “New Orleans won’t stop. I won’t stop. This award is bigger than I am. It’s all about doing the work on the ground. We’re shaking this world up."