Responding to Fear with Love, Passion & Renewed Dedication

By Tomás Rivera, GIFT Board, Executive Director of Chainbreaker Collective, Santa Fe, NM

The skies appear darker today than they did before last November. Many of us who believe in and work for social, economic and environmental justice are still coming out of the shock of the presidential election and starting to see the gathering storm.

This storm is bringing with it a political climate that is openly hostile to the people and causes so many of us hold dear. When it hits, we can expect a flood of cuts to essential services like public transportation, housing, health care, education, social safety-net, science and the arts–basically, everything that is fundamentally important to the well-being of our communities. In their place we can expect increased spending on wars at home and abroad, corporate tax breaks, reverse-Robin-Hooding, bias-based policing, mass evictions, increased incarceration, and job loss.

We can expect more toxins in our air, water, soil and bodies. We can expect retaliation, harassment and crackdowns on protest, dissent and organizing. We can expect proposals for Muslim bans, reproductive rights restrictions, border walls, mass deportations, violations of Native sovereignty, exploitation of natural resources and weakening of civil rights for people of color, women, immigrants and members of LGBTQ communities. In short, we can expect major damage from the storm.

What else can we expect? Resistance. Resilience. And solidarity.



“Ours is a movement built on hope.”



Ours is a movement built on hope. On dreams. On the belief that love is a more powerful force than fear. Our communities being under attack is nothing new, nor is our resistance. But this is a unique moment in history and how we respond will be critical. As people are coming out of the numbness of shock, they are awaking with a vision of a better world and a belief that it is worth fighting for. Already, the Trump administration has experienced record-breaking numbers at protests, defeats of priority executive orders, and cities around the country strengthening their immigrant sanctuary status in defiance of threats of retaliation. For increasing numbers of people on the ground, the fear is already subsiding and hope is starting to take the lead. The movement is responding to the gathering storm with a fierce determination to grow.

That growth will take resources. Make no mistake, our first step in building a movement that can weather this storm must be to secure our financial self-defense. The institutions our people rely on are already under attack, and it is reasonable to expect the institutions our organizations rely on will soon follow. A new economic crisis may bring further insecurity to our donor base. This will come at a time when our workload will increase to meet the growing need. We can expect the storm to hit our organizations hard.

But even when storms are strong enough to uproot mighty trees, blades of grass survive. Grassroots fundraising can provide the silver lining. As our movements grow, so will support from the people all around us—our friends, family members, neighbors and allies. Many of our organizations experienced a windfall of surprise individual donations after the election. Even people who have never been active before are looking for ways to contribute. Potential supporters everywhere are asking what can be done.

Many of us know how to answer that question because we have been doing the work for a long time. We are ready to accept this offer of solidarity. It is our duty as movement builders to organize this new potential and mobilize resources for just ends. The threats being made are real, but so is the opportunity to build the movement in ways we could only dream of before last November. People everywhere are espousing the hope for the better world that is promised in our missions. Our job is to deliver. Our commitment to resourcing our movements must be more resolute now than ever. Let’s follow the lead of our community and respond to fear with love, passion and renewed dedication. Let’s respond to the storm clouds by making it rain.

Donor Profile: Anna L. Hey, Esq.

Anna is deputy executive director of Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc., in El Paso, TX.


How did you first learn about GIFT? I first learned of GIFT when I found an issue of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal at a friend’s office. I picked it up and was impressed with the useful information it contained, so I visited the GIFT website. At the time, I was an attorney at a small non-profit immigration legal services program with no budget for training in the area of development.

What are some highlights from your experience at the 2016 Money for Our Movements conference in Denver? I was always looking for resources to help grow our volunteer development coordinator in the areas of grant writing and grassroots fundraising. MFOM 2016 appeared to be the perfect opportunity to do just that. We collaborated with other local organizations, with support from GIFT, that would allow the various organizations to send an attendee, sharing expenses to help offset the cost of travel. Paulina, development coordinator at Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico, attended the event and returned positively glowing with excitement and ideas, having built a network of contacts.


“The training offered [by GIFT]…empowers even the most timid of fundraisers to recognize their strength and communicate their message effectively.”


What inspired you to support GIFT’s work? Paulina immediately began to implement the strategies she learned at MFOM 2016 and THEY WORKED. This inspired me to become a monthly donor.

What do you wish others knew about GIFT? I wish people knew what an incredible resource GIFT is to grassroots organizations of all sizes. GIFT goes above and beyond any reasonable expectation to ensure that any organization, regardless of size, can train with the best in the business. Not only is the training offered pertinent to the realities of our world today, but it empowers even the most timid of fundraisers to recognize their strength and communicate their message effectively.

Guide to the Archive CoverGet GIFT’s Guide to the Archive

One of the ways we marked the 35th anniversary of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal was to invite our board, staff and GFJ editorial board members to select one of their favorite Journal articles to share with our readers. Subscribers who joined or renewed their subscription during the last 35 days of 2016 got the first peek, and now we’d like to share it with you. Enjoy!

And don’t forget to check out the feature articles from our most recent issues:

Jan-Feb 2017 GFJ Cover

Throwing a Fun, Profitable and Mission-Aligned Event: The InterNASHional Food Crawl by Lindsey Harris & Karla Vazquez

Here’s how the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition has grown an event that embraces local immigrant and refugee communities while bringing in thousands of unrestricted dollars to support their work.



Mar-Apr 2017 GFJ Cover

How Do We Fundraise Now? By Kim Klein

No matter how your group is funded or what issues you’re focused on, Kim Klein has helpful insights and practical advice for fundraising under 45 for all of us.


Thank you for supporting this one-of-a kind resource for grassroots groups across the country. 

GIFT at the Allied Media Conference

June 15-18, 2017 (Detroit, MI)

Because of you, we are reaching hundreds of media makers and fundraiser organizers across the country. We are thrilled to collaborate with Resist, Inc., Third Wave Fund, and Su Teatro (Denver) to organize the 4th Resourcing & Sustaining Our Movements track.

Building on the success of this track, we are excited to work with Resist, Inc. and Su Teatro to launch the Reimagining Movement Resource Strategies day-long network gathering, where we will examine new and emerging models for generating community resources.  


For the past three years, GIFT has led skill-sharing and strategy-building sessions on resource-generation for movement building at the AMC. They’ve helped the visionary media justice organizers who gather at the AMC build the capacities they need to implement their visions and make them sustainable.”


~Jenny Lee, executive director of Allied Media Projects


Your Donations Help Develop Fundraising Leaders of Color

Energized after GIFT’s Money for Our Movements conference held last August in Denver, CO, a small group of Colorado attendees are leading efforts to build a local network of social justice fundraisers and fundraisers of color.

Where Have You Been Sending GIFT?

GIFT spent February visiting and building momentum with friends and partners across New England. We first ventured to Fairfield, Connecticut for Building People-Powered Movements, a two-day grassroots fundraising fundamentals training with staff and organizers representing more than 20 social justice initiatives from across the state. A partnership of local funders hosted us to help provide capacity-building support for their grantees.

The first day of training included a panel of three seasoned grassroots fundraisers: Krystal Portalatin (NYC), Lydia Sierra (Warwick, RI), and Marin Watts (NYC). Participants had an opportunity to work with panelists and one another in a “World Café” to explore our roles as emerging and experienced leaders in grassroots fundraising. The second day of training included opportunities to continue experimenting with basic tools and strategies of grassroots fundraising and a chance to practice delivering a live fundraising pitch for support from peers.

Overall evaluations demonstrated that most participants had a positive experience, with genuine opportunities for learning and growth, in a challenging but supportive space. One participant said, “The workshop presentation of materials, facilitation, and interactive opportunities with experiences and each other was amazing.” Another reflected, “Y’all don’t even know! Ya’ll just gave me the tools/structure to make happen what I have been needing to do.” The majority of participants expressed strong agreement that they had learned something new and relevant and were leaving the training feeling motivated to strengthen their fundraising skills. Please join us in welcoming our newest members of the GIFT family from Connecticut:

  • Blue Hills Civic Association (Hartford)
  • Breakthru! Inc. (New Haven)
  • Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (Bridgeport)
  • Building One Community (Stamford)
  • Citywide Youth Coalition (New Haven)
  • Coalition for New Britain Youth (New Britain)
  • Co-Creating Effective & Inclusive Organizations (New Haven)
  • ConnCAN (New Haven)
  • Connecticut Citizens Action Group (Hartford)
  • Connecticut CORE – Organize Now! (New Haven)
  • Connecticut Parent Power (Hartford)
  • Connecticut Students for a Dream (Bridgeport)
  • Domus Kids Inc. (Stamford)
  • Educators 4 Excellence (New Haven)
  • FRESH New London (New London)
  • Hartford Parent University (Hartford)
  • Hearing Youth Voices (New London)
  • PT Partners (Bridgeport)
  • Serving All Vessels Equally/Youth Council for Justice (Norwalk)
  • Teach For America-Connecticut (New Haven)
  • Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut (Meriden)

From Fairfield, we headed to New York City. There we had a chance to visit with some partners and check-in on some previous GIFT training graduates in Harlem, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Thank you to everyone who so graciously hosted us in NYC!

GIFT also had a chance to stop in on Boston. There again we were able to reconnect with old comrades, including Mike Leyba and Jeannette Huezo from United for a Fair Economy.