Improving lives by matching means with need.
This is our mission.
Mother Jones Community Foundation is a non-profit organization (501-c3) dedicated to improving the quality of life in some of the most impoverished and exploited communities in Appalachia. Our mission is to help people forgotten and ignored by the exploitive industries that profited from our natural resources and moved on.
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
- Mother Jones
Born Mary Harris in Cork, Ireland Mother Jones endured significant tragedy and loss in her early years. Losing her husband and children to yellow fever and later all of her earthly possessions to flood, she rose from the ashes to become one of the most prolific figures of American Labor. She fought for miners, steel and textile workers, children…people. A hero or a menace? Depends which side you’re on. You can learn more about her story here.
Here at MJCF, Mary “Mother Jones” Harris inspires us all to carry on the battle for all those who continue to be devastated by the greed of Appalachia’s exploitive industries.
1949-August 5, 2021
The Mother Jones Community Foundation and the country’s labor movement lost another dear friend and fighter this month. Richard Trumka began as coal miner and spent his life fighting for them. He became the youngest UMWA President before ultimately leading the AFL-CIO with over 12 million workers. Learn more about his Trumka’s life and contributions in this story by the Capital Gazette.
“When he granted us an interview for “ Blood on the Mountain” I was a bit star struck. He was the most powerful leader in the American labor movement. He couldn’t have been more charming or generous with his time. His interview was critical to our film. He sat for 3 hours to give us everything we needed to tell the story of the labor movement. He sat in his office surrounded by coal mining artifacts and a photo chronology of his work. I hung on his every word. He was humble and he was passionate. There was no one better to tell the story of labor in America than Rich Trumka.
I won’t ever forget his kindness and generosity. I won’t ever forget that coal miner who became leader of labor in America. He was an incredible man. He was a fighter for social justice, for all workers especially the underdogs in our society. We will miss his voice” – Mari-Lynn Evans, MJCF Founder/Chairwoman
March, 1956-June, 2021
The Mother Jones Community Foundation honors Chuck Nelson by carrying his work forward. You learn more about Chuck’s life and contributions here.
“I’ll always hold you up, my brother. Sometimes water runs thicker than blood. You lit the torch and we will carry it with great honor, gratitude, kindness and humility. Gratitude to your family for lending us this wonderful human.” – Maria Gunnnoe, MJCF Director
An Abandoned Land and People
The social and economic situation in the West Virginia Coalfields seems to be in perpetual crisis. Monolithic coal interests have largely abandoned the region after abrogating their responsibilities to retired miners and their families, while poverty soars alarmingly.
The coal, hard facts:
It is in this landscape that MJCF seeks funding to effectively aid these impoverished and threatened communities. Our network is global. We bring this network to the table to help these communities to heal and move forward.
Be a Part Of
MJCF, Core Foundation
The core foundation develops and coordinates volunteer programs, and actively aids distressed members of the community through food banking, legal and medical aid, collaborations with county resources for caregiver support programs for economically and environmentally distressed citizens. The foundation is also working with local not-for-profit community groups, government programs, and developing partnerships with renewable and forward-thinking corporations committed to investment projects in our communities.
The foundation has been fundraising without permanent staff since its inception in 2017. The organizational goal is to provide four full-time staff positions, including all benefits required by law plus health insurance and sick leave. Foundation headquarters is located in Boone County, WV where our staff actually lives in the communities that we serve. This staff will spend full time serving the communities that they live in. Assisting these communities to become more self-sustained and independent of corporate government control and influence through simply reteaching the culture that allowed us to settle this amazing place. Through the guidance of our board of directors and leaders in the communities, Mother Jones Community Foundation will rebuild what coal and corrupt politicians left behind.
MJCF Black Lung Outreach Program
Since state and federal Black Lung Benefit programs are under constant threat of being taken away, it is the position of MJCF that time and mobility are of the essence, and that those afflicted and their families require immediate targeted aid. This aid would include the reestablishment of routine testing, transport, aid and palliative care for dying miners and their families as well as ongoing support for the families of miners who have succumbed to the disease. Such aid would take the form of legal aid, health and psychological care, nutritional aid, child care, and training and transitional guidance.
MJCF Initiative to Reduce Coal Slurry Impoundments
Dealing with the staggering volume of impounded toxic waste in the Coalfields is beyond the reach of the Foundation itself. The very real threat of flood, however, can be addressed by monitoring the dams for changes in form and pressure. The Coalfield impoundments are strikingly similar to the earthen dams that have failed in Brazil recently, where the lack of traditional pressure monitoring failed to provide adequate warning. MJCF has been working with Evening Star Productions and Hollow Mountain, who have been working in turn with their partners at the Center for Clean Water at Columbia University and the West Virginia High Technology Foundation to develop and implement ground breaking methods of monitoring earthen dams. Reliable warning of failure and realistic EAPs (emergency action plans) are critical to the MJCF’s dedication to the safety and wellbeing of Coalfield communities. The foundation also fully supports their collaborators vision for reduction of the impoundments, hoping to ensure local economic opportunity once such monitoring is in place. MJCF seeks funding to help begin this critical initiative.
MJCF Works in Progress
- Re-establishing trust in the communities, among neighbors, and bridging the divide of our people.
- Recovering our sense of self-value and a sense of agency and ownership of “who we are” as Appalachians.
- Reclaiming control over our food systems, energy production, and community independence.
- Building communities up to be safe, whole places where people are working together, to care for one another.
- Eradicate hate, division, and violence and replace them with love, caring, and gratitude for our neighbors by valuing each life and what it brings.
- With community support, we will help build local food movements and increase food security by teaching the food culture that our ancestors forged in these mountains.
- Help develop community resource hubs to serve the community’s needs.
- Help provide direct aid to meet the basic needs of community members and encourage emerging networks of mutual aid, as the basis of community and humanity.
- Establish and support youth empowerment programs that foster youth-led projects and free learning opportunities for people of all ages.
Learn More: Film
Blood on the Mountain
Blood on the Mountain is a searing investigation into the economic and environmental injustices that have resulted from industrial control in West Virginia. This new feature documentary details the struggles of a hard-working, misunderstood people, who have historically faced limited choices and have never benefited fairly from the rich, natural resources of their land. Blood On The Mountain delivers a striking portrait of a fractured population, exploited and besieged by corporate interests, and abandoned by the powers elected to represent them.
Watch the trailer below or learn more about the film.