“The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex”

by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

2007 South End Press

This is a pretty wonderful collection of essays, put together by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, covering the rise of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex and it’s vampiric and co-opting effects on radical movements for social change. Some of the essays are more compelling than others, but I particularly found the historical background of the NPIC undercutting and distorting radical movements of the last 25 years revelatory. Plus the case-studies of groups that went for the 501(c)3 tax status and got the foundation grants, only to have it delegitimize and undermine their organizing, were extremely worth reading.

Why does that happen, you ask? Why does foundation funding have to liberalize and professionalize our organizations? Can’t we sneak around the funders’ requirements and strings?

There are a wide variety of empirical as well as theoretical reasons put forth in this volume to explain why an organization dependent on grants for its existence will become co-opted into serving the interests of capitalism and government, not their grassroots constituencies, so I’ll leave it to you to read the book to learn more.

What’s the alternative? Grassroots fundraising! Membership dues, selling t-shirts and baked goods, collecting for services like trainings, and good old-fashioned donation drives!

To be free to craft our own (radical) agenda we need to be self-sustained. Read it!