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January 19, 2007

Funding Issues vs. Promoting Progressive Values

-- by Dave Johnson

Two years ago, Adam Werbach, former President of the Sierra Club, said in a speech that foundations need to stop funding environmental organizations (and issue organizations and programs generally) because that money is wasted, and should instead be used effectively to start talking to the public about the benefits of progressive values and policies. He said we need to:

"... Dismantle environmental programs in foundations: Easy money reinforces bad behavior. If our end goal is to change the way Americans think, we need to fund strategic initiatives that move the public's values. It's time for the rest of the philanthropic world to start funding long-term strategic initiatives that are measured by their effectiveness at changing the public's values, not by protecting a particular thing.

... Take over the Democratic Party: We have been deluding ourselves into believing that "everyone" supports the environment. The Republican Party -- as an institution -- has declared war on us. The Democratic Party claims to be our ally, yet fails us. It's time for us to drop our veil of bi-partisanship and fight to fix the deeply broken Democratic Party."

So two years later, how are we doing? Are foundations and other funders supporting issues and programs, or efforts to reach the general public promoting the benefits of progressive values and policies? Are we taking over the Democratic Party?

I think no one the first, yes on the second.

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 19, 2007 10:08 AM

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