From Powerless to Powerful – Non Profit News

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The following is a transcript of the video above, from our virtual magazine roundtable “Owning Our Economy, Owning Our Future.”

Sara Horowitz: We who care about the economic piece of how the democracy fits together, I feel like we’ve been wearing this shawl of impact investing and this corporate mindset that we don’t even think about. It’s like the moment that you have an idea, you have to say what the impact will be and how you will raise millions of dollars. The effect of that is that people aren’t starting things because they don’t feel that they can or have the capacity. So, it’s not just because they don’t have the money, it’s kind of shutting down a lot of activity. But I think people used to feel much freer to start things. And that kind of leads to the second thing, which is, I really think that there’s a different mindset—call it mutualism, solidarity economy, citizen sector, union movement, co-op movement—that when we look at human beings, we look at their power. We try to mobilize with their strength, their magic, and their energy. And we start with that.

But so much of the culture, I think, in the nonprofit sector, which I think can be corporate and onerous (and I say that lovingly), is that it makes us say that we have to start from a place where people are powerless. And I really feel like there’s something semiotic going on here, that we keep building these buildings on this foundation that’s not sturdy. I feel like at this moment, there is going to be a giant reframe. I think it’s really a scary moment, because we’re clinging to these things, because they feel like the old rules; when you look at anything around economics—especially around big communities, every ethnic group, every group, every Black community—every group has a way of coming together and pooling resources from hundreds of years ago, but somehow, we forget about that. I really do feel like that there’s something so important. And that’s what I’ve been really looking at, is building out this idea of a mutualist society and bringing people together who are practitioners in caring about that.

 

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