Those who toil in the vineyards of social justice don't do it for the money. But somebody has to pay the bills.
In South Carolina, the progressive movement is about as undeveloped as the intellectual honesty of our current crop of political leaders. And most grassroots groups have withered on the vine for lack of funding.
That's where the Fund for Southern Communities hopes to make a difference. FSC, an activist-controlled public foundation in Atlanta, has been making grants to South Carolina progressives since 1981.
While the grants are small ($5,000 max), they have helped many organizations keep the lights on and the work going. The boost is also psychological, giving grantees a sense that somebody believes in them, and validation that what they are doing is important.
The Fund recently sponsored a conference on using the arts as an organizing tool. Held at an Episcopal church camp outside of Aiken, the event drew activists from the Carolinas and Georgia to share tactics. While political activism is often a thankless and frustrating task, there is no reason it shouldn't be fun.
The conference explored the idea that while progressives can't match their conservative foes on the economic battlefield, they have the edge when it comes to creativity and imagination.
Previous FSC grantees in South Carolina include: the Natural Guard (for organizing projects and POINT); Grassroots Leadership in Orangeburg; Fairfield united Action in Winnsboro; South Carolina Environmental Watch in Gasden; Penn Center on St. Helena Island, Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment in Greenville, Four Holes Indian Organization in Ridgeville, Daufuskie Island Black Culture Association; the Committee for African American History Observances in Georgetown; and the Columbia groups S.C. Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement, Sistercare, Community Focus on Youth and S.C. Rainbow Coalition.
South Carolina representatives on the FSC board are Rudy Williams, Pete Tepley and Catherine Smith of Columbia, Veronica Thomas of Orangeburg and Mildred Myers of Gasden.
The Fund is seeking applications from groups in South Carolina working for social change and community empowerment efforts. The deadline for applications is Sept. 1.
For details, call FSC 404-577-3178.
© Copyright by POINT, 1995
Last modified 8/8/95