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Lawson Family Foundation accepting grant applications
May 27, 2021

New private foundation aims to improve racial justice

The Lawson Family Foundation, a private foundation committed to improving racial justice and equity by supporting efforts to fight systemic inequality primarily in the Knoxville area, is now seeking grant applications from charitable organizations.

Driven by the belief that every life has equal value, the Lawson Family Foundation is pursuing initiatives that seek to correct historical sources of injustice and inequity as well as those which aim to create equal and fair opportunities for all future generations. Priority areas include advancing economic equity, criminal justice reform, diversity and inclusion competency, domestic violence support and anti‐human trafficking.

The Lawson Family Foundation was established by Phil Lawson, founder and chairman of LHP Capital, LLC, a real estate development firm specializing in affordable housing. Lawson created the foundation to increase opportunities for historically marginalized communities in the Knoxville area.

“Decades of systemic racism, discrimination, and economic exclusion have negatively impacted generations of Knoxville’s minority communities,” said Lawson. “With the foundation, we will devote our resources to supporting efforts that seek to remove structures of racism and create a more unified community.”

Matthew Harrell, whose experience includes economic development roles with the Evangelical Alliance Mission, is executive director of the Lawson Family Foundation. While envisioning the Foundation’s first year of operations, Harrell said that they intend to provide more than $200,000 in total grant funding to Knoxville organizations.

“We really want to move the needle on some of the most pressing issues facing both our country and local community,” Harrell said. “We are eager to begin selecting partner organizations and I encourage any group which meets our criteria to apply online.”

Interested 501(c)(3) organizations can find more detailed information about the grant opportunities and apply online at the foundation’s website. A deadline has not been set for the inaugural round of applications and successful grant awards will be announced as they are approved by the board. For more information about the Lawson Family Foundation and the grant application process, please visit

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