What's It Like to be in a Giving Project? A Q&A With a Member
The Giving Project experience is different for every person. But to find out what it was like for one member of the Gender Justice Giving Project, read Jasmine Fleenor's story.
Why did you sign up for the Gender Justice Giving Project? Was there anything about gender justice in particular that prompted you to join?
I signed up for this Giving Project because I was curious about Social Justice Fund’s unique fundraising model and because as someone relatively new to Seattle, I wanted to get to know some regional organizations doing interesting work. I was interested in gender justice in particular because gender justice spans a HUGE range of social justice issues (from trans bathroom bills to Medicaid to prison abolition - it’s so much more than white feminism!) and because gender injustice hits close to home for me in a number of ways.
What were one or two meaningful experiences or take-aways for you from this Giving Project?
I am so amazed at how much I learned during this process. One of my main takeaways from this project is the importance of a broad, inclusive movement – one that is both led by those who are most impacted and that also works to engage a wide range of communities. I had the privilege of visiting organizations in Eastern Washington and Montana as part of this Giving Project, which illuminated for me the brave and often highly undervalued work for gender justice that is being done outside of urban, highly liberal areas. The work these organizations in conservative or rural areas are doing is, in my opinion, some of the most critical and strategic work being done to shift cultural norms and create long-term systemic change for gender justice in our current political climate. Participating in a cross-class, multiracial giving project group and seeing the work of a diverse group of organizations fighting for gender justice in their own ways in their own communities showed me the importance of an inclusive movement based in a humble belief that every person belongs in the fight for gender justice in some important way.
Is there one grantee whose work is particularly interesting or inspiring for you? Why?
One organization I got to know a little through this giving project was EmpowerMT, a statewide organization based in Missoula, MT. I visited them in Missoula and was inspired by their deep commitment to centering those most impacted and to reaching communities and groups that don’t get much access because of their geographic location. They drive numerous hours to respond to need in faraway rural communities and have a fantastic system of youth leadership! Experiences like the one I had at EmpowerMT helped me truly believe in the power and importance of Giving Projects and the work of all the SJF grantees.
How do you hope to stay connected to Social Justice Fund and/or to the grassroots organizing you support in this Giving Project?
Going forward, I plan to continue to follow the work of these organizations and plug in where I can. All the organizations I visited encouraged us to follow them on social media, where we can learn about the work they are doing and how we can support. I also would love to do another giving project one day!