Tomorrow is Colorado Gives Day, which is a statewide day for giving to the organizations and causes we care about in our communities. Over my many years as a community organizer, nonprofit professional, and activist, I have had lots of positive and negative experiences with fundraising. I have supported specific people and donated to local libraries, direct service organizations, and social justice campaigns aligned with my values. Along the way, I’ve had to review and reflect on my own relationship with money. I’ve unpacked my first memories of money and class, being asked to give, giving, and asking for money. In organizing, we know that power equals organized people and organized money, so getting comfortable with fundraising has been an important part of my work.
There is a long history of giving by communities of color, and this history reveals a legacy of self-sufficiency and self-determination. However, for many, money can be a painful topic. There is a lot of trauma resulting from generations of theft from communities of color in land and property, co-opting of ideas and art by white people, and experiences of scarcity. Moving to a mind frame of abundance takes intentional effort, and sometimes we need some help to get there. Whether I am writing a grant, asking for a major gift, or asking a grassroots leader to support our work, relationships, stories, and values are what get me to a mindset of abundance. Here are some other mindsets from Haas Jr. Funds’s Fundraising Bright Spots that help, too:
- The revolution will not be bankrolled by foundations
- Fundraising is a form of organizing and power building, not just a strategy to finance the work
- The choice and the approach to ask people for money must be immersed in culture, values, and philosophy that values relational rather than transactional interactions
- Being real about who you are and what you stand for is fundamental to success
In 2017, giving in the US topped $400 billion for the first time ever, and individuals gave 70% of that. This is a 5.2% increase in giving over 2016 (3% adjusted for inflation), and giving to foundations and health care organizations increased by even more. Philanthropy is on the rise as the economy strengthens and the number of important causes grows.
At Center for Health Progress, we would be honored for you to share your hard-earned resources on Colorado Gives Day with us and/or other organizations working toward health equity in Colorado. Where you live, the color of your skin, or how much money you make should not determine how long you live and your quality of life. Our work for health equity is essential to ending racism in the health care system, letting communities decide how the system should work for them, and passing policies that reflect these values. Thanks for your support!