Andrea Smith
Before the publication of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-
profit Industrial Complex, critiques of the non- profit system had been circulating
for years. Yet, there seemed to be little thought that we would engage in a social
justice organizing system outside the non- profit system. This was particularly true
in the antiviolence movement where, as Beth Richie notes in her volume Arrested
Justice, the antiviolence movement has ceased to be a movement and has become
a network of primarily state- funded agencies. INCITE! organized in 2000 in re-
sponse to state co- optation of the antiviolence movement. As part of its statement
of principles, it declared that it would not take funding from state agencies. As the
anti violence movement’s imbrication with the state had led this movement to be
invested in the criminal justice system and its attendant prison industrial complex,
INCITE! was clear that there needed to be an antiviolence movement that was not
invested in carceral feminism and was independent of state funding.
Given the strong critique that INCITE! had of state funding, it is significant
that it had no significant critique of foundation funding. Of course, we would gripe
with social justice organizers at conferences about the problems with foundations
and grant writing. But we did seem to take foundation funding for granted as a
necessary evil.
On a trip to India, funded ironically by the Ford Foundation, we had our con-
sciousness raised about the non- profit system. We met with unfunded organiza-
tions that asked us why we thought the system was going to fund any real systemic
change. We saw organizations that had access to much fewer resources than did
we, and yet this did not stop us from doing amazing organizing. As we began to be
more connected to mass movements globally and questioned by participants who
asked us, “Do you think the system is really going to fund you to dismantle it?”
we began to see the need to think outside the non- profit system for our organizing
We then soon discovered that the revolution would not be funded when the
Ford Foundation, who had promised us a $100,000 grant and told us we could
commit the funds to various projects, suddenly retracted the grant because of our
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