Grassroots organizers around New England have trusted the Grassroots Fund for 23 years to provide resources and support for their projects. However, the mounting challenges we face – environmental, social, and political - require that we re-imagine not only the what, but the how, of our work. Please read on to share in this exciting progression and join us by donating to our fall appeal campaign.
Grassroots solutions take many forms:
- Establishing an urban farm cooperative to support local growers with training and technical assistance, business development support and land access. Initiated by people of color who are committed to advancing racial justice and equity in their community.
- Increasing understanding of tribal sovereignty and acute environmental stewardship issues by organizing educational opportunities and events for alliance building and social change. Initiated by indigenous and non-indigenous media makers and activists.
- Collecting data and photos of the impacts of severe weather events to build understanding of climate change and catalyze actions toward resiliency and preparedness. Initiated by community members from urban neighborhoods that are predicted to be most vulnerable to climate change’s effects.
These examples of grantee projects (from over 200 we’ve funded this year so far) speak to innovative ideas that can transform our communities and our region. Each grantee, their applications vetted by peers and their work led by members of the communities in which the changemaking takes place, stands on its own in support of the future we imagine.
But standing alone is not enough. When our abilities, gender, skin color, or sexual orientation doesn’t align with the dominant power structure, we can be locked out of the opportunities and resources to fulfill our purpose and even meet our basic needs. As this happens to whole communities and/or across generations, the effects can be devastating and multidimensional. Add to that the hateful and divisive rhetoric and actions that have become alarmingly prevalent in our everyday life, the feeling of urgency to act (climate change, toxins, attacks on democracy, racism…), and one can be left feeling hopeless and angry.
We believe our greatest (and most lasting) achievements will come from what we are capable of when working together. We are grateful to hundreds of Grassroots Fund constituents who, on top of the community level changemaking, are also co-creating our regional future. Grassroots leaders, many representing historically marginalized communities, now lead our board, participate in fundraising, and guide our decision making. Together we’ve prioritized humility and vulnerability in every interaction and we invite authentic input and critique as we continue to listen and follow.Building at the speed of trust, we are working within our organization and alongside our constituents to challenge the basic structure of problem solving, and hold and create space for the voices that must guide us into the future.
We are deeply grateful that we have been able to give more resources, especially to those who need it most, and to be led by the communities in which we invest. Donors play a crucial role in making this possible and we need your support. Every year we raise the money that we give away, so response from our donors directly impacts what we are able to give. Please join us in amplifying the voices of communities that have been denied authority and autonomy for too long. Let’s resource groups of grassroots organizers from around New England, and value their contributions as partners in a larger movement.
Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Board Chair
Julia Dundorf, Executive Director
PS: Please give what you can afford and don’t put off doing so – this work can’t wait!