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Money For Change: Social Movement Philanthropy at the Haymarket People's Fund

Susan Ostrander

Publication Year: 1995

Charitable foundations are being called  upon to operate in more pen and democratic ways and to involve a more diverse constituency. This unprecedented study details the inner workings of a democratically organized philanthropy, where funding decisions are made by community activists. Susan A. Ostrander spent two years doing intensive field research at the Haymarket People's Fund -- a small, Boston-based foundation. Based on a philosophy of raising and giving away money called "Change, Not Charity," the Fund makes grants to local grassroots social change organizations. The world of social movement funding comes alive with Ostrander's descriptions of grantmaking and policy meetings, donor events, and the day-to-day work of the Fund staff.

Within this fascinating behind-the-scenes account, Ostrander argues that the "social relations of philanthropy" are more important and more varied than previously understood. Written at a time when Haymarket was dealing with crisis, this book tells a story of organizational change as the Fund moved from an informal collective to a more formal structure; it is also the story of a struggle to build a multi-race, multi-class, gender-equal organization. Ostrander details these ongoing struggles and addresses the larger issue of how fundraising can itself be a kind of social movement organizing among the progressive  people with wealth who continue to be Haymarket's main donors.

Published by: Temple University Press

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pp. vii-viii

Over ten years ago, when I was struggling with my first book book, Arlene Kaplan Daniels asked me where I ever get the idea that authors had to do their books alone. I took her implicit advice to heart, so there are many people to thank...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-18

Each week, on Sunday evenings at six o'clock for several years in the early 1990s, fifty or so Boston young people, parents, and teachers met at the Church of the United Community in the primarily African American neighborhood of Roxbury. The meetings were open to the public, and people who attended were mostly young African Americans and Latin Americans, more women than men, some preteens, some in their twenties. They talked about the issues they faced-violence, drugs, unemployment, inadequate schooling, police harassment, troubled relationships between young women...

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2. Community Groups and Community Funders

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pp. 19-40

When Free My People, the grantee group introduced in Chapter 1, applied for a grant to Haymarket People's Fund in June 1989, they listed a number of accomplishments in its first six months of existence. The group's members had conducted a series of forums on apartheid and on the politics of drugs, attended by "hundreds of young people." They had initiated a coalition of local youth to help combat violence in a drug infested area in their neighborhood. Claiming "the most active Coca-Cola Boycott in the nation, with active campaigns in six Boston...

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3. Funding Community Organizing

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pp. 41-60

Haymarket People's Fund grantmakers set a clear priority on giving money away to support community organizing. This is a major part of what they mean by funding "Change, Not Charity." Still, they were not always certain what they meant by good organizing. One said, "Funding organizing is a kind of intuitive decision .... We don't have a checklist, ... but if we think they are [doing organizing], we fund them." And a staff member told me, "Haymarket's not being clear with our boards...

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4. Inherited-Wealth Donors

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pp. 61-80

Fundraising is the lifeblood of any public foundation, and Haymarket People's Fund is no exception. People with inherited wealth and leftist politics were the original founders of Haymarket, and the popular image of its donors continues to be of progressive wealthy people. Several donors have appeared regularly in media articles and on television talk shows over the...

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5. Connecting Fundraising and Organizing

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pp. 81-104

In what people at the Haymarket Fund considered a crisis, they suffered a decline of $200,000 in donations to the general fund be[ Ween 1990 and 1991-from about $700,000 to about $500,000. This particular public foundation was certainly not alone among philanthropic organizations in experiencing a loss during these years, described in Haymarket's May 1992 strategic plan as "the worst recession since the Great Depression." And donations to...

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6. Organizational Restructuring and Democracy

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pp. 105-130

People at Haymarket People's Fund, along with many other people in progressive social movement organizations formed in the 1970s, increasingly saw problems with an informal decentralized collectivist way of operating a growing organization (Freeman 1975; Rothschild-Whitt 1979; Mansbridge 1994; Sirianni 1984, 1994; Staggenborg 1988).1 This chapter shows how and why this organization became more formalized, with...

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7. Beyond Diversity: Building a Multirace, Multiclass, Gender-Equal Organization

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pp. 131-160

The first speaker in the comments opening this chapter is an African American man who is a member of the governing board at Haymarket People's Fund. The second speaker is a gay white man from one of the regional funding boards, and the third is a white man who is a donor. Their remarks are typical of how people there spoke about the high priority...

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8. Conclusion

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pp. 161-170

Haymarket People's Fund is unusual, and that is part of what makes it interesting. Usually, charitable foundations do not fund progressive social movement activity, especially grassroots community organizing. Usually, during those rare times when foundations do fund this kind of activity, grantmakers are movement outsiders who may not fully understand or support its goals. They may tty to influence movement activists and participants to moderate their goals as a condition of funding. Usually...

Appendix A: Methodology/Epistemology

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pp. 171-176

Appendix B: Grant Application

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pp. 177-180


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pp. 181-208


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pp. 209-220


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pp. 221-227

E-ISBN-13: 9781439905456

Publication Year: 1995