DMF Board Adapts Mission Statement and Funding Priorities to New Condition

(Published July, 2003)
Our recent conference on "Funding Priorities in Times of Global Expansion and Repression" gave our Board of Directors much to think about concerning the projects that we fund.

If you have not yet read the main article about the conference, please do so now. (2003 Conference Article).

What the conference made clear is the following main points:
1. The political and economic hegemony of the United States is more of a threat than ever to the quality of life of not only the international working class but also the American people.
2. Repression through reactionary laws such as the Homeland Security Act and the Patriot Act represents more of a threat to our civil liberties than at any time in our history (including the era of McCarthyism).
3. Resistance is growing but it must have an organizational form.
Our Board began by reviewing our Mission Statement. We changed it to reflect the fact that in addition to promoting and expanding civil and human rights we should put a "special emphasis on protecting civil liberties in times of growing repression."

We also made clear that a focus of everything we fund should be to "build strong community and labor organizations" and "train a new generation of leaders."

The feedback that we had from conference participants was that we should not change our Funding Priorities since "they seem to reflect the core values of your Foundation and the people behind it." Some interesting concepts for applicants to think about are how to focus on projects that deal with the post 9-11 world situation. Some conference attendees were so impressed with the concepts presented by Luis Rodriguez (see accompanying article on the Conference) that they wanted our Board to be sure to address what people "want" rather than simply projects that "fight against what the establishment is giving us to rebel against."

New Priorities
The Board reviewed all of the comments from conference participants and made the following changes to our Funding Priorities:

First, "focus" was changed to reflect the understanding we have always had that community and labor organizing is key to accomplishing anything. In addition to focusing on "those working for fundamental change through projects addressing civil rights," we added "civil liberties." We also confirmed what we have actually been funding which is "training a new generation of leaders."

With reference to "types of support," we clarified that we "do not award grants for equipment" and only fund "specific projects with definite outcomes." We have found this concept to be the single most important factor in our funding decisions. Our experience has taught that it helps the applicants to focus on exactly what it is they want to accomplish. Likewise, it helps our Board to determine whether or not that is the kind of work we believe will make a difference.

We hope that our 2003 conference provided all the organizations with whom we are in contact the inspiration to submit Letters of Inquiry that will result in work that organizes the resistance that is growing.

Note: If you are intending to submit an application for funding we urge that you review all of the information listed in our section on Funding and particularly "Are We A Match?"

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