I am announcing myself as a Community Supported Activist (CSA) and I ask for your support with this innovative opportunity.
What is a Community Supported Activist?
The work I do strengthens the relationships between people, and my livelihood also stems from these intersections. My work is balanced between on-the-ground organizing and weaving between local and regional to global grassroots efforts. This job of cross-pollination does not exist in any formal setting, and within the world of specialization and information overload, it can increase the effectiveness of social change efforts by bringing together people and ideas across issues.
Because I am of service to my community, I am asking my community—that’s YOU—to help support me as I respond to this call of developing the emerging field of cross-pollination. The vast majority of the wealth and value in my life is the energy and creativity that I exchange with dozens of collaborators; nonetheless, I still need about $700 a month.
That means for less than $10,000 a year the world gets a fully dedicated, more-than-fulltime organizer and weaver of changemakers here and afar. If you think the kind of work I do is worthwhile, please support me as your Community Supported Activist.
Try it out: give to this idea and see what happens. If you have the resources, please consider sharing $100-250. If that’s a stretch, give $25, or donate $10 a month – every gift helps! If you are not satisfied in a few months, I’ll return your contribution! You can:
•send me a check: Jenny Leis, 11640 SW Boones Ferry Road, Portland, OR 97219;
•donate through Paypal (click the link on my blog: http://journeydejenny.blogspot.com);
•contribute at a slideshow or meeting around town; or
•give a tax-deductible donation (ask me how).
Thank you to Allen Hancock for kick-starting this program with a $500 donation for my first month! Allen and many others have encouraged me to “put myself out there” as a Community Supported Activist, affirming my unique work.
What am I doing?
* 40% -- Cross-Pollination Project
I am coordinating a year-long pilot program to train 24 cross-pollinators in Portland, thus leveraging my efforts and bringing the experience of cross-pollination to the hundreds of changemakers that we come into contact with. The cross-pollinators will strengthen communication and understanding among groups that may not be aligned in mission, value or language, and do so without the need of creating a new organization.
* 25% -- The City Repair Project
As interim Board President and Placemaking Program Coordinator, I am cultivating the next evolution of City Repair by re-engaging the broader community, deepening our educational workshops, and building capacity for technical assistance support for neighborhoods. (The City Repair Project facilitates neighborhoods and communities to build from the intersections of their lives to create community gathering places and collectively address key local concerns and hopes. www.cityrepair.org)
* 25% -- Tryon Life Community Farm
I continue to serve as Outreach and Development Coordinator for TLC Farm’s unique programs, and also weave TLC Farm’s cross-pollinating work across the region and at the Farm. (TLC Farm is a seven-acre urban sustainability education center and intentional community that integrates ecological, social, cultural, economic and spiritual sustainability. www.tryonfarm.org)
* 10% -- National cross-pollination and connection to global social change efforts
I am planting seeds to facilitate exchanges between cross-pollinators in Portland and other cities. I am also deepening the key connections I made while traveling in Africa, including bringing TLC Farm into a network of 13 other “learning centers” worldwide as part of the Berkana Exchange (www.berkana.org).
By supporting me, you are increasing the capacity for many inspired individuals and established groups to be more effective in making change in Portland and beyond. You are also investing in the re-birth of The City Repair Project and deepening TLC Farm’s unique offerings.
I am eager to meet or chat with you or anyone who has ideas, critique, or guidance as I chart new territory. I will maintain communication with supporters about my work through my blog, monthly email updates, regular slideshows and a bi-annual report. Any other ideas? Let me know what would help you stay informed and connected to my work!
Why I am making this step to invite financial support from my community?
1) No such jobs exist as a regular non-profit staff member.
Most organizations have not yet formed a position for a full time cross-issue, cross-sector connector (some may have a community liaison, networking or outreach position but usually within one particular issue area). The compartmentalization of the workforce today means that most non-profits or similar groups tend to focus on one niche instead of being able to address broader patterns that link many different aspects of changemaking today. By carving this new path, I am laying the foundation for similar opportunities for more people.
2) My work keeps me accountable to a broad network of communities and therefore is stronger if funded by many, not just one.
Receiving support from a grassroots base provides agility and community accountability. During my travels last year, for example, I often received more respect and access to a broader range of people because I was not funded by an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) or motivated by a degree program. Because people knew I didn’t have an agenda, I was able to be present and adaptive to each situation – building collective awareness and action into a greater whole.
3) The CSA is a living example of an integrated, sustainable culture.
Instead of relying on funders that may be distant and mired in bureaucracy, receiving support directly from the people I serve nurtures local decision-making. This approach, I have been told countless times, inspires others with a breath of fresh air.
4) The CSA results in direct and immediate action.
By working with multiple organizations without the restraints of organizational overhead, I am able to focus all of my energy on the essential work of social change.
5) Seeds grow a forest.
My work this year as a cross-pollinator in Portland is an experiment that I plan on growing into a long-term endeavor. I foresee my funding sources broadening as this idea grows––including grant funding and consulting. And, I hope that my model of fundraising inspires others to invest directly in the next generation of local activists.
6) I am being asked to take the “cross-pollination” idea to its next phase.
I am responding to the feedback I’ve received over the last year to continue this work of cross-pollination, and offer my talents to revitalize City Repair and develop TLC Farm.
Thank you for investing in me as a Community Supported Activist!
P.S. Please consider contributing soon – these projects are growing now! Send a check, donate on Paypal, or meet me at an event or meeting!