by Karen Hirsch
No one can predict what the 2016 election results will mean for our nonprofit community. There is fear and so much uncertainty. Will there be cuts in federal spending for social service programs – and if so, how deep will they be? Will major gifts sharply decline if President-Elect Trump succeeds in securing the cap on tax deductions for individual charitable giving that he proposed on the campaign trail? How will the nonprofit sector handle demand from patients in need if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?
At the same time, we have seen a surge in support for progressive causes. The American Civil Liberties Union raised $7.2 million in the five days after the election. In The Atlantic, Cecile Richards - the president of Planned Parenthood - described an “unprecedented outpouring of support," with 80,000 donations made in the three days after the election. The Atlantic also reported that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) saw a “simply unprecedented” spike of 500 volunteer applications in the days after the election.
The 2016 election is a unique moment in American history. But it shares an undeniable aftermath with the wake of the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks: an alarming rise in hateful speech and acts. In 2001, it was fear of and violence against Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs and South Asians. Today, it is a heart-wrenching combination of words and deeds against LGBTQ people, African-Americans, Latinos and Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and other marginalized and oppressed populations.
In the months after 9/11, Seattle responded to a rising climate of hate and fear with innovation, tenacity, and compassion. In fact, at least three extraordinary Seattle-based nonprofits that now work effectively to promote tolerance and understanding were founded in the months following 9/11:
The Ostara Group wants to be part of the solution too. Our work has always supported organizations in our community fighting injustice, but in the wake of this election, we specifically aim to help the next great nonprofit whose mission promotes peace and understanding in a time of fear.
True inspiration arises from our most challenging moments. We offer this Service Grant to encourage the profoundly meaningful ideas you are working on, and support your ability to play an important part in elevating our culture, society, economy, and values. Thank you for taking the time to be a part of this work – we look forward to hearing from you!
Ali, Ariel, Bailey, Casey, Ella, Forrest, Jackie, Karen, Kyle, Kye, Peter, Rebecca, Sarah and Talia