On Friday and Saturday, July 25-26, 2008, Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) attracted over 600 attendees from 37 states to its Raising Change: A Social Justice Fundraising Conference. GIFT Co-Directors Stephanie Roth and Priscilla Hung welcomed attendees by explaining:
We felt compelled to put on another conference because we realized that these kinds of gatherings – where people come together across a multitude of issues, identities, organizational roles, and ways of making change – provide not only a strong and positive learning experience but also the possibility of sparking new ways of reinvigorating our work for justice. … Our hope for Raising Change: A Social Justice Fundraising Conference is that, together, we are creating a national space where discussions, learning, and sharing about how to resource the movement are at the same table as discussions about political strategy and vision. Our hope is that this will be the place where grassroots fundraising strategies become fully integrated as part of our political vision and are recognized for the power they bring to our ability to make change.
Keynote speakers Katherine Acey, Executive Director, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and Robby Rodriguez, Executive Director, SouthWest Organizing Project, reiterated this theme in their inspiring opening presentations. On Saturday, Kim Klein, founder of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal (now part of GIFT), moderated a provocative debate on whether the nonprofit sector is a vehicle or barrier to social justice. The debaters: Rona Fernandez, Stephanie Guilloud, Joo-Hyun Kang, and Mark Toney.
The Conference included four workshop blocks, one-on-one consulting sessions, facilitated discussions on a variety of topics, and an official party. You can see more information about the Conference here.