admin January 30th, 2008
(This talk was given at the 2004 Incite!Women of Color Against Violence conference: The Revolution Will Not Be Funded)
In the early 1990s, I developed a growing concern about the funding of social change organizations. At that time I had worked for a dozen or more years at the Women’s Project in Arkansas and in the Battered Women’s movement locally and nationally. My connections to social change organizations were extensive, and I had had many opportunities to observe their struggles with funding.
Here are some observations that raised my concerns:
• It was a constant struggle for the Women’s Project to maintain a left analysis that engaged the community in systemic change-—and to receive finding that did not attempt to modify our work;
• The Battered Women’s movement had moved from local, grassroots organizing to “professional” service delivery fended by government entities;
• Staff of nonprofit organizations were spending an extraordinary amount of time on fundraising and a rapidly decreasing amount of time on organizing;
• There was a dreadful competition among groups for fundraising and less cooperation in working together;
• There was a loss of political force and commitment to movement building;
• Very few organizations seemed to have an active membership base committed to organizing for change.