SOCIETAL

 

The Riverstyx Foundation believes in the human potential for healing, growth, and transformation. However, often out of fear of change, as well as distrust in human potential, society tries to control, stigmatize, and even punish those who are struggling outside the norm. Drug users, criminals, and death and dying are labels so politically and morally charged, and even pathologized, that society attacks those ‘problems’, as opposed to recognizing the true needs and sufferings of the person underneath.

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Drug Policy + Criminal Justice Reform 

Because of current societal fears and stigma regarding recreational drugs and drug users, the U.S. spends over $50 billion a year perpetuating their illegality, primarily to incarcerate addicts, racial minorities, the mentally ill, and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as running devastating anti-drug campaigns in foreign nations. This repeatedly failed attempt at prohibition results in the creation of dangerous black markets, and precludes treatment, harm-reduction strategies, and sound preventative education. Further, our criminal justice system and “correctional” facilities have become a system of punishment and control, relegating individuals to the periphery of society with few opportunities or resources available for healing, growth, and integration. The Riverstyx Foundation seeks alternatives to the war-on-drugs by supporting efforts that remove drugs from the black market and towards legalization or medicalization, as well as establishing more compassionate and effective methods for reducing the harms associated with drug use. Further, Riverstyx supports a variety of efforts to both reduce the number of non-violent offenders in prison and jail through pre-arrest diversion, mediation, as well as programs that provide opportunities for education and healing while in prison.

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End of Life Care

Similarly, the lack of acceptance and fear around death and dying has resulted in massive expenditures of often frivolous and artificial attempts to minimally prolong life at the end. More than half of Medicare dollars are spent on patients who die within two months, costing society over $300 billion annually, often adding stress to families and actually reducing the quality of life for many. This cultural of “death denial” has also prevented society from empowering mentally sound individuals with terminal prognoses to be able to take greater control over their pain and timing of their death. The Riverstyx Foundation aims to support a more balanced approach that encourages avenues to reduce suffering through hospice and palliative care, providing people the opportunity to die with less suffering, and with greater dignity and peace.

Societal Grantees 
Yoga Behind Bars
Yoga Behind Bars

Yoga Behind Bars (YBB) is a community of over 50 volunteer teachers providing opportunities for greater peace, self-awareness, and flexibility of the mind and body for incarcerated men, women, and youth throughout Washington State. Through the shared practice of yoga and meditation, YBB aims to also dissolve the illusory dichotomy of prisoner as other, and to bridge communities inside and out of prison walls through the compassion it fosters. *Grantee since 2011

Books to Prisoners
Books to Prisoners

Sending Books to Incarcerated Adults in WA State. *Riverstyx Grantee 2008-2018

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)

LEAD is an innovative pre-booking diversion pilot program developed to address low-level drug and prostitution crimes. The program allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to wrap-around social services, instead of jail and prosecution. LEAD is committed to improving public safety and reducing crime, while availing support to individuals and their families at a fraction of the cost of incarceration. Grantee 2011-2018

ACLU of Washington
ACLU of Washington

The ACLU-WA has pioneered two major drug policy initiatives: I-502, making WA the first state to legalize cannabis for adult use, and the LEAD program, modeled after Portugal-style decriminalization. *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2008

Seattle Safe Injection Site
Seattle Safe Injection Site

Development of the first Safe Injection Site in the US. *Riverstyx Funded 2017

FAMM
FAMM

Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Fighting for smart sentencing laws that protect public safety. *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2013

Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Policy Alliance

Advance policies that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies. *Riverstyx Grantee 2009-2017

WDRC
WDRC

Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center. Supporting Mediation Services in Whatcom County *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2008

FEPPS
FEPPS

Freedom Education Project. Provides a rigorous college program to incarcerated women in Washington and create pathways to higher education after women are released from prison. *Riverstyx Funded 2013-2015

SSDP
SSDP

Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Supporting Student Activists Against the War on Drugs. *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2015

Dominican Hospital
Dominican Hospital

Funding for an oncology financial navigator and support service pilot program. *Riverstyx Grantee 2017, 2018

Witness to Innocence
Witness to Innocence

Working to End the Death Penalty *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2016

Upaya (Being With Dying)
Upaya (Being With Dying)

Professional Training Program for Clinicians in Compassionate Care of the Seriously Ill and Dying *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2013

LEAP
LEAP

Law Enforcement Action Partnership. Police and other criminal justice professionals dedicated to educating the public about the harms of drug prohibition and criminal justice issues. *Riverstyx Grantee 2009-2016

Economic Opportunity Institute (Seattle, WA)
Economic Opportunity Institute (Seattle, WA)

The Economic Opportunity Institute strives to build an economy that works for everyone by advancing public policies that promote educational opportunity, good jobs, healthy families and workplaces, and a dignified retirement for all. Riverstyx Foundation has supported EOI in their efforts to advance progressive taxation among the most wealthy in Washington State, which has the most regressive tax structure in the US. *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2010

End Well Symposium
End Well Symposium

End Well is a first of its kind gathering of design, tech, health care and activist communities with the goal of generating human-centered, interdisciplinary innovation for the end of life experience. *Riverstyx Supported 2017

Social Justice Fund
Social Justice Fund

The Social Justice Fund engages donors at all giving levels to fund movements for progressive social change, and working to democratize philanthropy Riverstyx Foundation has been helping to match all donations into the Criminal Justice and Economic Justice Giving groups. The SJF model inspired Riverstyx' program "Femtheogen" to democratize philanthropy in the psychedelic space. *RSF Grantee 2010-2018

University Beyond Bars
University Beyond Bars

The first program to offer college instruction at Washington State Reformatory after the legislature prohibited public funding of prison college programs in 1995. Today UBB offers higher education and enrichment programming to over 220 prisoners. *Riverstyx Funded 2010-2011

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The House I Live In
The House I Live In

The House I Live In, directed by Eugene Jarecki, is a 2012 documentary film and critique about the failed War on Drugs. *Riverstyx provided significant funding for film production.

Gift
Gift
RSF Funded 501c4 Political Efforts

Ballot Initiatives / Legislative Efforts: 

  • Washington State Pathways to Recovery Act HB 1499 (2021)

  • Oregon Measure 110, Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative (2020)

  • Michigan Proposal 1, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2018)

  • Maine Marijuana Legalization, Question 1 (2016)

  • California Proposition 47, Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative (2014)

  • Washington D.C. Marijuana Legalization, Initiative 71 (2014)

  • Alaska Marijuana Legalization Measure 2 (2014) 

  • Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91 (2014)

  • Uruguay Cannabis Legalization: public health and safety bill (2013)

  • Washington State Cannabis Legalization I-502 (2012)

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society"                                                                                                                                                                  -Krishnamurti