In late June 2017, we gathered in Washington, DC for a Financial Resilience Intensive. With the beautiful grounds of the 4-H Center as a backdrop, our thirty-five participants and the Spring Strategies team of facilitators got down to some intense work!
The participants came from many backgrounds and, in fact, many countries from across the Americas. They were working in different areas of the social justice field and facing diverse challenges and opportunities. The issues they were working on were equally diverse: building their brand, diversifying funders, communicating more effectively, looking for ways to better support grantees and fully covering their overhead costs. Despite the differences, all the organizations were looking for new tools and strategies and a chance to network with other organizations that had perhaps trodden the same path.
Ellen Sprenger and the global team of facilitators including Dale Needles, Elizabeth Seja Min, Rini Banerjee, Gopal Rao and Daniela Costa, got down to work, drawing on decades of grass-roots experience, expertise in the areas of resource development, strategic budgeting, communications, and rooted in integral theory and neuroscience.
One participant described the experience as giving them a "deeper understanding of the multiple components of ‘resilience’ and creative thinking about non-traditional income streams."
Another said "I love how this financial resilience workshop touched on so many things that made it concrete and real. I leave knowing that I can play a part in it, not as something that happens out there."
And many participants told us how meaningful this had been and how important it had been to feel that this was a safe space to share with each other, and that leaving the Intensive they no longer felt alone; they had more hope, more tools and more inspiration.
And the learning was mutual. As facilitator Elizabeth Seja Min noted "I have so many new ideas. I have learned from each of you. Seeing how you are thinking of things, how you have grappled with things was really a joy for me."
She also ended by saying something that perhaps many of us in the social justice field need to hear from time to time: "When times are tough around money, let’s remember that who we are, our experiences with money, our backgrounds and relationships with money and all of it, are very grounded, in a collective depth of experience. Who we are is plenty enough to do it. We don’t have to turn into something we are not. We can stay who we are."
Thank you to the Washington DC Class of 2017. We loved working with you! Now go forth and prosper!
All photos by: Ilia Coutsos