Funding the Future of Activism

By Hugh Hogan, Executive Director, North Star Fund

At a time when our city, state and nation are in great need of effective organizing for equality and justice, North Star Fund is launching a $7 million Activism’s Future campaign. Our goal is to build a robust movement to close the chasm between New York City’s richest and poorest citizens.

Statistics show that New York City is not working for a large percentage of the population. In Manhattan, the top 20 percent of families earn forty times more than the bottom 20 percent of families. The city’s homeless shelter population continues to grow and includes an unacceptable 20,000 children a night. Poor Black and Latino children are likely to attend the most troubled schools with the fewest resources. People on the margins struggle with a fraying social service safety net, and immigrants, women and unions face harsh crackdowns on their basic rights.

VOCAL-NY members at an Occupy Wall Street march - credit: Brian Palmer

VOCAL-NY members at an Occupy Wall Street march – credit: Brian Palmer

Grassroots activists directly affected by injustice are our best hope for creating real change. They know firsthand which policies aren’t working and which programs must be expanded. And with head, heart and bullhorn, they are taking on City Hall every day. Through the Activism’s Future campaign, we are strategically partnering with grassroots activists in communities most affected by injustice. By expanding our commitment to these groups, North Star Fund will:

  • Double funding to activists so that they can use tools of organizing like public demonstrations, coalition building, and meetings with legislators to stand up for their rights.
  • Grow our training of local leaders to organize their communities and build alliances to broaden their reach.
  • Increase media coverage of social justice issues to keep issues of equality, economic justice and peace on the front page and in the front of peoples’ minds.
  • Broaden the community of donors who support activism in order to build a bigger and stronger social justice community.

We invite all members of Philanthropy New York to explore philanthropy’s role in the future of activism. There has never been a more urgent time for grantmakers to strategically invest in building New York City’s grassroots leadership and vital neighborhood organizations. Please join us.

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