[BY S. SALMI]
Mark on your calendar on Friday, April 28 if your social-change project could use a financial boost. That’s the deadline for submitting a grant application for the spring funding cycle of the Community Sustaining Fund of Thurston County.
Funding is available to “groups and individuals interested in progressive community oriented activities,” according to the Sustaining Fund’s website. One thing that’s unusual about the Sustaining Fund is that you don’t need nonprofit status to be eligible for funding.
Landing a Sustaining Fund grant isn’t just valuable for the money. The process of applying can also help you think through more deeply how to operate an effective social-change project. As a case in point, what follows are the criteria that the Sustaining Fund use to evaluate grant applications:
- Material simplicity
- Participatory democracy
- Community-oriented economics
- Ecologically conscientious society
- Nonviolent forms of conflict resolution
- Respect for human dignity and diversity
- Connect local activities with broader social change issues
- Inclusive of people with varying political, social and cultural backgrounds
Strategies and Activities
- Work to introduce new people to ideas of social change
- Organize people to participate in social change activities
- Promote cultural and artistic activities that encourage social change
- Encourage networking with other social change groups
- Effectively reach and build an organization responsive to the community
- Work to make power relationships equitable within their group and issue area
Long Term Goals
- Develop and implement long-range strategies and goal
- Develop a self-sustaining financial plan based on realistic sources of revenue
- Pass on skills and expertise to increase the body of local and regional organizers
These are thoughtful goals that, if followed, could enhance the effectiveness of all local change agents, be they individuals or groups. Indeed, Green Pages’ parent organization, the South Puget Environmental Education Clearinghouse (or SPEECH), would do well to engage in a self-assessment of how well we live up to these goals.