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The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex Paperback – March 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
It takes aim at the "Non Profit Industrial Complex", which like the Military Industrial Complex or the Prison Industrial Complex, is a penetrating system designed to benefit the needs of status-quo at the expense of the dis-empowered - precisely the people we are concerned about.
The opening chapter explains how 501(c)3 non profits are a relatively new US phenomenon, established to both provide tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations, and also to control the radical energies of people who threaten to upset the power structure.
In short, while most non profits deal with non political issues like libraries, cultural events or Red Cross-type activities -- it is the progressive political nonprofits that concerns us. Typically, there is money, and sometimes a seductively large amount, to fund projects like a health outreach program, a battered woman's shelter, a poor people's food program, a march on Washington for racial equality, etc.. Almost never, is there money to fund global projects that mobilize people to CHANGE the system that results in racism, people without guaranteed health care, battered women, starving people, etc..
Soon, the activists in the non-profits are occupied with hob-nobbing with and filling in forms for their foundation sponsors.Read more ›
Collaboration is stifled when fierce competition for funding and stringent, narrow grant guidelines divide groups that are working towards the same goal. Perhaps most disheartening is the NPIC's power to shape our approaches and tactics for social change. As Dylan Rodriguez points out, "[m]ore insidious than the...constraints exerted by the foundation/state/non-profit nexus is the way in which [it]...grounds an epistemology--literally, a way of knowing social change and resistance praxis--that is difficult to escape or rupture." This epistemology is responsible for the belief that activists must conform to 501(c)(3) status for legitimacy and funding and that social services serve a greater need and purpose than the arduous task of social change.Read more ›
After that, however, the essays steadily improve, with the degree of insight varying inversely to the author's connection to academia and maybe half to two-third should be required reading for people who work in nonprofits.
The biggest criticism I have of even the best essays is that they don't offer much on alternatives. Detailed descriptions of the daily life of US grassroots organizing before the rise of nonprofits would have been especially helpful. Several quite interesting essays use grassroots organizing in the Americas south of the US border as a model of engaging people with nonprofit organizations, but even they don't give a sense of what that would mean in this country. A group in New York City that became a 501(c)(3) and then returned to being all volunteer receives a lot of attention for seemingly successfully doing just that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Should be required reading for all US citizens. Critical examinations and effective strategies offered by those who are at work in our communities.Published 7 months ago by Sandra Lindberg
The most important book for this generation of activists. The defining social justice book of our era.Published 11 months ago by nola love
a MUST read for anyone who identifies as/with activism, the non-profit world, social services, education... Read morePublished 14 months ago by sivvarainbow
Just the article "Fundraising Is Not a Dirty Word" was well worth the price of the book.Published 15 months ago by Charles Bernstein
This book contains important perspectives for anyone who looks around and wants to make real change. 403c is a method to fund the bandaids and not the real change. Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by Linda in Santa Cruz
A must read for those of us seeking alternatives to the foundation-funded approach toward making social change. Read morePublished on July 25, 2013 by paul