The Jackson Social Welfare Fund of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor provides funding for “... advancing the understanding and acceptance of the great principles of the First Amendment ... and for the promotion of the use of reason and understanding in ... solving in a peaceful manner domestic and international difficulties and conflicts.” The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Ann Arbor community organizations dedicated to promoting First Amendment rights as well as organizations promoting peaceful conflict resolution may apply for funding each year in April. 


In 1955, George L. and Bessie Jackson bequeathed a large sum from their estate to the then Unitarian Church of Ann Arbor. The Jacksons strongly believed in the principles of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in conflict resolution by peaceful means. Through their bequest they enlisted the Unitarian congregation in these causes.

The Jackson Social Welfare Fund has remained fully invested and is currently managed by the Investment Advisory Committee of the congregation. Each year a portion of the fund's earnings is distributed to selected nonprofit organizations.

Oversight Committee

The Investment Advisory Committee of the congregation is appointed by the Board of Trustees to oversee the investment of this and other funds of the congregation. Once each year, the Investment Advisory Committee recommends the amount to be distributed by the Jackson Social Welfare Fund Committee in the coming year.

The Jackson Social Welfare Fund Committee has eight members: two members of the congregation are appointed each year, serving three-year rotating terms, and there are two representatives from the Ann Arbor Society of Friends. This Committee solicits applications, reviews requests for funding, and awards grants. In recent years the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and many other organizations whose missions align with the Jacksons’ bequests have received grants.

How to apply for funding

Applications to the Jackson Social Welfare Fund are due in April.

The Committee awards grants once a year based on written project proposals received in response to its Request for Proposals document. The 2018 Request for Proposals is available for download here . The Committee’s 2018 Criteria for Proposal Evaluation (CEP) document can be downloaded here.

Proposals are due by 5:00pm, Monday, March 26, 2018. Please send your proposal as an email attachment to the address given in the RFP. We expect to award $29,000.00 dollars this year. We will notify applicants of award decisions by the end of May.

Limitations: (1) UUAA and Ann Arbor Friends Meeting internal organizations (congregational committees, programs, task forces, services provided, etc.) cannot receive JSWF grants.

(2) Organizations that will receive funds in 2018 under the UUAA Share the Collection program are ineligible for JSWF grants in the same year.