Thanks to extraordinary grassroots support over the past two months, Real Change enters 2009 on firm ground. Our priorities are basic: focus on the core, make the most of our assets, and increase our capacity to do the work.
We will expand our vendor team to meet the increased demand that grows out of increased desperation and need. Our organizing will focus on our role as truth-tellers, agitators, and mobilizers to address the ongoing assault on the poor and the realities of institutional racism and the criminalization of poverty. We will reorganize to fully utilize our strengths. We will focus on expanding our grassroots support and earned income to better provide opportunity to those in need, to tell the stories of the very poor, and to build a strong movement for economic and racial justice.
When I tell people about the amazing success of this year's Winter Drive, which beat our $180,000 goal by $45,000 and raised 87 percent more than we did last year, I say it comes down to three things:
1) During hard times, people support the groups that effectively address the needs of those who are most in crisis. Real Change's combination of self-help opportunity and aggressive activism to address root causes of poverty fits the bill; 2) When you take risks, tell the truth, and get up in power's face, people respect you for it and respond by supporting the work; and 3) Real Change enjoys extremely high donor loyalty. People have watched our work grow and develop for 15 years. They know what we stand for, and enjoy an immediate sense of relationship to our work through our vendors.
These are very challenging times, and the need for Real Change has never been greater. Thank you for your support, and welcome to the New Era.