In 2021, the LIFT Fund launched the Southern Workers Opportunity (SWO) Fund to invest in the ecosystems that increase worker power and improve the economic livelihoods and social conditions for workers across the U.S. South.
In 2022, the SWO Fund will invest in Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to strengthen their existing worker power coalition–building efforts, expand innovative organizing tactics, and further develop each state’s sectoral strategy for civic engagement.

Our Strategy


The SWO Fund will work with funders, local and regional partners, and experts to move the U.S. South closer to:


  • A strong multi-racial ecosystem of labor, worker, and community base-building organizations consisting of trusting relationships and a robust pipeline of Black and Brown workers
  • Increased public investment toward job creation, improved job standards, and access to labor organizations that allow worker voices to be heard
  • A collaborative practice between philanthropy and labor centered on fostering relationships to leverage more sustained resources

Our Impact


The SWO Fund’s inaugural grant cycle prioritized organizations working in states that were identified as among the most in need of dedicated funding and coordination.

The $5.1 million will be distributed among 16 grantees, who were selected for their deep knowledge of the South, including its rural and urban areas, collaborative nature, direct relationships with workers and commitment to ensuring that workers do not merely survive, but thrive.