This issue features a special section called “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded” which turns a critical eye on the role that large philanthropic foundations play in funding non-profit organizations. The section was inspired by a 2004 conference of the same name that was set up after INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence lost a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation because of their stance on Palestine. From co-editor Max Uhlenbeck:
What has been the cost of the proliferation of this Non-profit Industrial Complex? Why have we seen this shift from volunteer-based activism to staff-driven advocacy work? How has the field of social change become so professionalized that one needs multiple college degrees just to qualify for a job?
These are important questions for people concerned with building organizations and making activism their work. And although thousands of activist grumble about them, almost no one is facing these questions head-on. When non-profit groups and alternative media projects rely on funding to pay the bills they suddenly have two constituencies to please: their actual audience, and foundation officers. The availability of Ford and Rockefeller money has allowed many organizations to avoid confronting hard questions about their own sustainability. And the professionalization of non-profit work has led to an industry where only college graduates who will work for miniscule salaries can afford the luxury of activism.
But Left Turn doesn’t fall into that trap: it’s volunteer-run and funded completely by sales and small donations. So check out the new issue, get a subscription, and drop a few extra bucks in their jar if you can. And while you’re feeling generous, support Cristy Road too!
Related: VisualResistance.org’s interview with Cristy Road.