Madison’s Freedom Inc. Announced as 2013 Torchlight Prize Winner

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Community Group Honored for its Effort to Strengthen Community; Awarded $10,000 Prize

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It is not often that formal opportunities to recognize the important work happening on the ground in our communities and for our communities occur. We are proud to continue the resiliency of our heroes and ancestors, and to have others join in the fight!

Freedom Inc., a community group that creates collective spaces for low- and no-income communities of color in Madison, WI to build, share, and address social justice issues, was today announced as a winner of the 2013 Torchlight Prize, awarded each year to up to four community groups by the national nonprofit, Family Independence Initiative.

Originally started as the Asian Freedom Project, the group was created in 2000 to provide an informal and safe space for young Hmong women to talk about the challenges they faced, including violence, racism, and immigration. The group soon realized that individuals from other ethnic communities desired a similar place for themselves, and made a deliberate decision to change its name to Freedom Inc. to represent its inclusivity of all communities of color in the Madison community. Freedom Inc. now operates as a formal nonprofit that is “of and for the community”, and works to bring an end to violence against women, erase discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, and improve food security and health conditions for all those living in poverty in Madison.

The Torchlight Prize was established in 2012 to recognize and invest in self-organized groups of families, friends, and community members who have come together in meaningful ways to strengthen their communities. Each Torchlight Prize winner exemplifies Family Independence Initiative’s belief that powerful, sustainable, and relevant results can be created for families and communities when everyday people work together by pooling ideas, resources, and efforts to create positive change in their own communities.

“It is an honor for Freedom Inc. to be recognized by the Torchlight Prize as a grassroots collective organizing for social change,” said Freedom Inc. spokesperson M. Adams. “It is not often that formal opportunities to recognize the important work happening on the ground in our communities and for our communities occur. We are proud to continue the resiliency of our heroes and ancestors, and to have others join us in the fight!”

“We recognize and congratulate this year’s Torchlight Prize winners not only for their innovative approaches to building their communities but also for their unwavering passion and commitment to address some of the most pressing issues facing our nation” said Mauricio Lim Miller, founder and chief executive officer, Family Independence Initiative. “The spirit of community collaboration to drive impactful change is as alive today as ever, and these groups are perfect examples.”

Torchlight Prize winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of leaders from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. The 2013 selection committee includes: Mauricio Lim Miller, founder and CEO, Family Independence Initiative; Michele Jolin, managing partner with America Achieves and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Patty Stonsifer, president and CEO, Martha’s Table; Charles Ogletree, a Jesse Climenko professor of law at Harvard Law School and founder and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School; Wes Moore, youth advocate, author, and host of “Beyond Belief” on the Oprah Winfrey Network; and Daniel Boggan, former senior vice president and chief operating officer, National Collegiate Athletic Association.

To learn more about Freedom Inc. and the other three winners of this year’s Torchlight Prize, visit http://www.TorchlightPrize.org. To request an interview with Freedom Inc., please contact Arron Neal at 213-568-3334 or arron(at)cfoxcommunications(dot)com.

ABOUT THE TORCHLIGHT PRIZE
Family Independence Initiative established the Torchlight Prize in 2012 to recognize and invest in groups of families, friends, and community members who have come together in meaningful ways to strengthen their communities. To be considered for the annual award, a group’s origins must be informal, and not initiated by an organization, nonprofit, or government program or service. In addition, winners must demonstrate a positive impact on their community, and they must live and act in the United States. The Prize is named after the Freedman’s Torchlight, one of the nation’s first black newspapers established in Weeksville, a self-sufficient and thriving community built by African Americans, for African Americans in New York before emancipation. Previous winners include Iu Mein Community, Club Social Infantil, and Black Dot Collective.

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Arron Neal
C.Fox Communications
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