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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 Committees

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.


Proposals for grants from this fund will be accepted now through 5pm, Monday, March 29, 2021

The Committee awards grants once a year based on written project proposals received in response to its Request for Proposals document.

In 2020 $30,500 in awards were given to twelve organizations:

  • Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living
  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State
  • Defending Rights & Dissent
  • Friends Peace Teams
  • Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice
  • Michigan Center for Youth Justice
  • Michigan United
  • Prison Creative Arts Program
  • Safe and Just Michigan
  • Therapeutic Writing Workshops
  • Visions
  • Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights


  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 2021 under the UUAA Share the Collection program are ineligible for JSWF grants in the same year.