I have been working to raise funds for nonprofits for almost twelve years. The majority of that time has been spent raising money for public schools in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’ve bounced around to several organizations over the years, never spending more than three years at any one place because I couldn’t put up with staying longer than that.
My parents immigrated to the United States from India in the 1970s and chose to purchase their first home in a suburban municipality west of St. Louis, Missouri. To both the south and west of our subdivision were mostly white communities — to the north and east, mostly Black and immigrant Asian and Pacific Islander communities. If you’ve learned anything about St. Louis in the six years since Mike Brown’s murder, you are familiar with the deep segregation of our region and its toxic, implicit commitment to the Black-white binary.
In this episode, Michelle talks with Victoria Santos, a deep healer, community organizer, and brilliant facilitator who shares her self-healing journey after trauma and burnout. Listen as she shares wisdom around what we need to release and practice to serve a better society.
When Trump was elected in 2016, I was a director of development in New York City. The day after the election, as I sat on my couch at home in a shroud of depression, I sent a communique out to my organization’s full email list, calling for cohesion, mutual support, and compassionate attention to the Black, Brown, and immigrant youth that the organization worked to support.
Hi, Philanthropy! You don’t recognize me, because you never see me, but I write a lot of the proposals you read. I don’t normally call attention to myself, but I’m here, and I need to tell you that I’m exhausted. In truth, I’ve been burnt out for years. While I find satisfaction in working for great causes, organizations, and communities, working with you wears me down bit by bit.
In annual reports and donor lists around the country, there’s always a section for anonymous giving. It’s accepted as a norm in the fundraising world that some donors elect to be anonymous for one reason or another. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) outlines confidentiality as a right in The Donor Bill of Rights. However, recent scandals in the past year surrounding anonymous gifts raises the question whether anonymous giving helps or hurts the work of philanthropy to create a more equitable and just world.
Curb cuts and universal design: How I use my invisible disability to advocate for arts accessibility
My journey to accessibility in the arts started more than 20 years ago, when I first moved to Seattle from the East Coast. While in Los Angeles on vacation, I went to see “Titanic,” which had just come out in movie theaters. For the first time, I used a captioning device that fit into the cup holder of my seat, allowing me to read the words being spoken onscreen. It was exhilarating: I was finally able to fully understand the dialogue on the big screen.
By Michelle Shireen Muri
Guest Christina Shimizu, a co-founder of Community-Centric Fundraising, briefly explores the relatively recent history of how these systems came to be, why they are built on deep injustices and how philanthropy and nonprofits are actually a political and economic system.
Recently, I had a moment in a team meeting that gave me pause. We were discussing upcoming fundraising efforts and our messaging … a seasoned fundraiser on the team noted that we must absolutely stop using language like “folx” in our fundraising materials because funders do not know what this language means.
I was born a poor Black child and, according to my mama, “a picky eater.”
I loved sweets though, anything with the right amount of high fructose corn syrup really. I was also highly suspicious of any food that even vaguely resembled a vegetable. If it wasn’t smothered in ranch, why would I eat it?