The Impact Project

How To Use Wealth For Social Change

One of the articles in We Can Do It! (IC#33)
Originally published in Fall 1992 on page 49
Copyright (c)1992, 1996 by Context Institute

Anne Slepian and Christopher Mogil direct the Impact Project, a non-profit organization that helps people with financial surplus (whether huge or modest) find fulfilling, effective ways to integrate their values and money.

The Impact Project was established on the belief that many people with financial surplus long to use their resources (money, time, love, and talents) to help create a sustainable world.

But many people feel stuck – deluged by direct mail appeals, depressed by the daily news, anxious about personal security, and hopeless about doing anything for the world of real significance. So they deny their surplus, or feel immobilized by guilt, or make small gestures with their time and money – none of which are particularly satisfying.

The Impact Project helps people get unstuck. The staff provide compassionate, step-by-step, practical and emotional help, guiding people through a process of empowerment that involves:

  • Taking charge of one’s money – how it’s invested, controlled, and spent; planning concretely for future financial needs and determining what is surplus.

  • Working on emotions that get in the way of taking charge. Re-evaluating old messages learned from one’s family and society .

  • Building a sense of security in non-financial ways, such as developing community, spiritual practice, satisfying work, and new practical skills. Creating a satisfying lifestyle more congruent with one’s values.

  • Developing a work niche that best uses one’s talents and caring. Sorting out which world problems one most cares about and getting involved.

  • Creating ongoing structures for support and action.

Through this process, we are excited to see people gain the clarity and confidence they need to both realize their own dreams and to act more powerfully for the world.

For information about the Impact Project’s workshops and individual sessions, contact Anne and Christopher at 21 Linwood St., Arlington, MA 02174

MORE RESOURCE IDEAS:

A Territorial Resource, 221 Lloyd Bldg., 603 Stewart St., Seattle, WA 98101; 206/624-4081 – A public foundation funding social change activities in the Northwest US. The foundation sponsors educational events for donors and provides a supportive community for donors and board members to evaluate and fund progressive organizations.

The Funding Exchange, 666 Broadway, #500, New York, NY 10012; 212/529-5300 – A national network of alternative foundations that funds progressive grassroots organizing locally and nationally. Community activists have a central role in the grantmaking process. FEX offers donor-advised grant-making services.

The Ministry of Money, 2 Professional Drive, Suite 220, Gaithersburg, MD 20879; 301/670-9606 A Christian ministry for exploring money from biblical, psychological, and sociological perspectives. Among other things, MM leads "pilgrimages of reverse mission" to Third World countries and has supported the development of a women’s network.

National Network of Grantmakers, 666 Broadway, Room 520, New York, NY 10012; 212/505-7094 – A network of staff and board members of progressive philanthropic organizations along with individual donors to social change. NNG sends out a newsletter and conducts an annual three-day conference.

Resourceful Women, c/o The Women’s Foundation, 3543 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94110; 415/431-5677 – Offers classes, support groups and conferences for women who have $25,000 or more. RW coordinates a national women’s donor network.

Shefa Fund, 7318 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19119; 215/247-9704 – A public grant-making foundation supporting progressive Jewish renewal. TSF hosts donors’ forums and plans to organize "tzedakah" groups for people to pool their contributions.

Tides Foundation, 1388 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94109; 415/771-4308 – Promotes creative philanthropy nationally and internationally in six general areas: land use, economic public policy, environment, international affairs, community affairs, and social justice. Individuals and organizations can set up donor-advised or "component" funds.

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