“What if we thought about it as social spaciousness rather than distance?...Space for rest. Space for medicine making. Space for prayer and ritual and magic. Space for breath, for feelings, for tears, for laughter, for hope. Spaciousness and community care support strategic thinking and wise action.” - Maura Bailey (@maubair on instagram)
Like many folks across the country, we at Resist are grappling with the realities brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many of us are worried about our loved ones’ health, job security, affording rent, balancing work, home-schooling, and more. These worries extend beyond our homes to our neighbors, communities, states, and country. This moment is calling on all of us to think collectively in ways that are familiar to us and our grantees. We are in a practice of social solidarity and mutual aid, reaffirming what we’ve always known, we are all in this together.
We write today (and acknowledge this email is longer than usual) to let you know how we as a foundation are responding, to ask our grantees how we could better support you in this moment, and ask our donors to dig in and keep supporting folks on the frontlines.
How Resist is Responding
We are a small but mighty team at Resist and we are adapting with ease to our new normal due to the practices and structures we put in place long before this crisis.1 As of March 12th the entire staff at Resist is working remotely. Because we are out of the office the best way to reach us is by email.
We are increasing our budget for rapid response grants and reviewing applications three times a week instead of once a week to ensure we are getting as many resources as fast as possible to the frontlines.
As the government makes decisions about a stimulus package, we are working on building a mutual-aid fund for those of you who don’t need the financial resources or would rather redistribute the check to marginalized communities across the country.
We are a small foundation without an endowment. Alone, we are unable to respond to the emerging needs of the communities all across the country, which is why we’re calling on our philanthropic community to join us in signing a Funder’s Pledge. We invite you and all members of the Resist community to circulate the pledge and urge big philanthropy to resist market pressure and not reduce their giving during this time. This is the rainy day you’ve been saving for.
During this moment of uncertainty and consistent change, Resist is practicing social solidarity and leaning into social spaciousness as an opportunity for strategic thinking and wise action. For 52 years Resist has centered the leadership of marginalized and vulnerable communities because we believe that those closest to the pain should be closest to the power. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to make their lives and their work more possible. We have reached a collective pressure point and as we lean into the unknown our grantees continue their calls for:
redistribution of wealth
expansion of democracy
repair and restoration of relationships across race, class, gender lines
nourishment and protection of our planet
building of community power
Resist has always responded to that call with a resounding yes, will you join us? This moment requires us to shift, not only to match the challenge of today, but to build tomorrow.
To Our Grantees
Resist is committed to supporting you now more than ever. We acknowledge that the grassroots work that brings about social change sometimes requires in-person contact. This moment calls for creativity and we’re here to back you along the way. As we actively look to respond with financial resources by speeding up and increasing our rapid response giving, we are also exploring ways to connect you to each other through an online resource forum. With it, efforts across the US and US occupied territories can be connected as a broader movement, sharing and finding ways to respond to the short term and long term implications of this crisis.
At this moment, your communities need you more than ever. You, our grantees, are crafting the future every day - through your resistance, your reimagining, and your resilience building. As rigid institutions crumble to the needs of the people, we know that all you do moves us towards what’s to come.
To Our Donors
Thank You. As a grassroots foundation, your donations have kept us going for 52 years. In that time we have seen many difficult moments together but our commitment to frontline communities remains steady. This time is no different. You, like our grantees, have always known that maintaining the status quo in the US has historically only benefited the few and have aligned your giving with people’s movements time and time again.
I know that a lot of us find ourselves in a hard place financially and our initial plea to you is to take care of self and family. If there is room to give, please consider giving a one-time gift to Resist or increasing your monthly donation. The need for grassroots groups is overwhelming. In just three months we have redistributed over $200,000 in grants and had to say no to dozens of groups that we have supported in the past. We have given more rapid response grants in the past two weeks than any time before and are preparing to receive an influx as groups continue to respond to COVID-19. As a reminder, Resist funds groups that : (a) resist oppressive systems, (b) reimagine alternatives to those oppressive systems, and/or (c) create and build resilience to allow us to survive into the worlds we want to live in.
Your support in this moment is crucial and we are grateful for your donations, no matter the size. If you have gifts, skills, time and other resources please consider using our grantee database to virtually volunteer with frontline groups in your city or region. The movement doesn't just need financial resources, it also needs you.
In the coming weeks we will be hosting donor briefings to share with you how we are further responding to the needs of our grantees and answer any questions you might have for us. In the meantime if you have questions about supporting Resist or our grantees, you can reach out to Kendra at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to live our values, listen, adapt and move collectively as the pandemic unfolds. Because when we are all in for all of us, we can create the world we envision.
Resist Staff Collective and Board of Directors