Above the Fold, September 4

Dear Colleagues,

As we head into the holiday weekend, I’d like nothing more than to be able to wish you a happy long Labor Day weekend, accompanied by a cheery message toasting our nation’s workers and reflecting on the many invaluable contributions and hard-won victories the labor movement has achieved. But with 40 million people unemployed, 185,000 dead from COVID and Black people continuing to be attacked by police and the criminal justice system, the sentiment rings hollow and disconnected from our daily reality.

It’s overwhelming right now and we’re all exhausted. That is why even though it’s important to make space for ourselves and others to express tension, pain, grief and fear – it’s equally important that we prioritize investing in our own, and collective, wellbeing.

While we’ve increasingly come to understand self-care as critical to our health and wellbeing, even embracing the concept of self-care as a necessary form of resistance, practicing community care takes the idea one step further by broadening the focus toward meeting the needs of others in service of the collective wellbeing of our communities. Community care consists of both small- and large-scale actions that we can take to show support. Defined another way, community care is “people committed to leveraging their privilege to be there for one another in various ways.”

Community care can take many forms, including protest, volunteering, or even just checking in with a friend or loved one. Depending on each of our roles and positions, the way we give care may look different. I invite you to spend some time thinking about and identifying the forms of care you can provide for others that both feed your own sense of wellbeing and allow you to care for others
As the adage goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. This weekend, I hope we all can be intentional about taking time to rest, reconnect, restore. As leaders, you have the power and obligation to demonstrate the value of investing in resilience

This Labor Day weekend let’s encourage our staff, and our colleagues, to take a break from our jobs – to be present in our life’s work: our family, our friends, our communities.

Together, we can create and cultivate a new culture within the social change sector. One, that will enable us to increase our capacity for innovation and collaboration, which will ultimately lead to more effective solutions and strategies.

Thank you for all that you do.

Yours for equity and justice,

Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Women’s Funding Network 
President & CEO

Principles and Practice Letters from Elizabeth