Wow...so it's been a while since I’ve had that the opportunity to post something… time really does fly. Since my last post, it has been a real beehive of activities here at Red String. We just concluded our second of three grant cycles, we're in the middle of planning two fundraising events, a Get-Together in August and a Golf Tournament in September, and an on-line auction, along with our everyday activities.
In between all the busyness, I try to catch up on what's happening in our world, and to be honest, it's hard not to get a bit discouraged.
I recently read an article by Joanna Mang, an English professor at San Diego Mesa College, who conjectured that there’s nothing more depressing than positive news. Positive news? Really? This statement really piqued my curiosity.
The world, Mang argues, is quite obviously an awful place and the eternal optimists who try to convince us otherwise through news clips, blogs (including ours?), and other social media outlets are only trying to mask that fact.
According to Mang, “Positive news is necessarily regressive because it does not identify, much less critique, systemic problems or injustices." She further argues that "Positive reporting, in its presentation of problems as not just solvable but currently being solved, can [actually] be demotivating." In other words, she suggests that followers of "positive news" are being induced to do "precisely nothing" with the information they consume.
Look. Here at Red String, we get it. We watch and read and debate and worry about many of the same issues and questions that all of you do. How do we create a more equitable playing field? Widening educational gaps between students from high and low socioeconomic status. Families still struggling to make ends meet. Lack of adequate services and support for home-bound elderly and family caregivers. What is it going to take to make a difference?
That said, we hope you don’t ever get to the end of one of our postings or quarterly magazine and feel complacent. If anything, we want you to be energized. This has never been about the warm glow or creating a false sense of hope. We understand that the issues we seek to help solve are complex, multi-faceted, and evolving, and we realize that when it comes to complex social problems, meaningful social change is not achieved by quick fixes or money alone. Effective philanthropy requires becoming part of and helping to nurture an ecosystem within a community that include residents, businesses, government, and community, faith-based, and non-profit organizations whose efforts, cumulatively and over time, can deliver lasting impacts.
Herein lies our mission - to play our part in seeking, engaging, and providing resources and solutions to help level the playing field of life, and along the way, inspire others to leave the world a better place than when they came into it.
Over the past four years, together, our community of supporters made a tiny dent in this ecosystem, distributing over $140,000 to partner charities who are dedicated to improving lives, livelihoods, and communities, and are making real change happen.
We want to thank all of you for joining us in our journey, becoming part of our story, and who made our giving possible. You all know who you are.
(to be continued)