November 25, 2013

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond The Non-profit Industrial Complex

"In 2004, INCITE! learned the hard way that the revolution will not be funded.
When we began in 2000, we took a stand against state funding since we perceived that antiviolence organizations who had state funding had been co-opted. It hadn't occurred to us to look at foundation funding in the same way. However, in a trip to India (funded, ironically, by the Ford Foundation), we met with many non-funded organizations that criticized us for receiving foundation grants. When we saw that groups with much less access to resources were able to do amazing work without foundation funding, we began to question our reliance on foundation grants. Our suspicions were confirmed when, in February 2004, INCITE! received an e-mail from the Ford Foundation with the subject line "Congratulations!" and an offer of "a one-year or two-year grant of $100,000" to cover our general operating expenses in response to a grant proposal the Ford Foundation had solicited from us. We committed to two major projects (SisterFire multimedia tour and Color of Violence III conference in New Orleans) based on this funding. Then, unexpectedly on July 30, 2004, the Ford Foundation sent another letter, explaining that it had reversed its decision because of our organization's statement of support for the Palestinian liberation struggle."

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