What does it take for someone to decide to burn a $100,000 check in these economic times? Who does that, and what could possibly get them to reach that boiling point and give them the cause and conviction to literally burn a funding source?
Let me introduce you to Marlene Sanchez, Executive Director of the Center for Young Women's Development:
Brave New Foundation is launching a new campaign called Boiling Point. Boiling Point is the online destination for those who have had enough with today's economy and want to take action and fight back. It will serve as a home to share stories, organize and enact resistance against the often overwhelming circumstances of these times.
Marlene Sanchez and the Center for Young Women's Development are an example of this type of economic resistance. The Center works with young women who have been involved with the juvenile justice system and/or the underground street economy and gives them the tools and skills to create positive change in their lives and communities.
In these tough times, non-profits are finding it hard to maintain their funding levels. Like many other organizations, the Center has had to trim down their services and reduce their staff. And so one might assume that they would be thrilled to receive an unsolicited check for $100,000 in the mail. Except, as the women at the Center see it, not all money is good money.
The $100,000 check came from Craigslist Charitable Fund. As a plethora of recent news stories have documented, Craigslist, just weeks ago, stopped allowing "adult services" -- i.e. prostitution -- to be sold on their site. For the last seven years, the site has charged an overhead on such posts, making $34 million in one year alone from those fees. After the Center decided not to join a coalition of other women's organizations working to get Craigslist to stop hosting the ads, suddenly this check appeared in their mailbox.
Despite needing additional funding for their organization, Marlene and the women at the Center decided it was more important to keep their integrity than to financially benefit from the exploitation of women and youth. And so they took the $100,000 check, prayed over it, and lit it on fire.
As women who were all raised poor, burning such money was a powerful act of resistance. They did it in private, for their own reasons and not for a media narrative. A simple Facebook status update mentioning the act drew dozens of comments and "likes" and tapped into a sentiment of awe and shared frustration over the idea that, because so many struggle in this economy, morals are supposed to be ignored for any way to get ahead, even if it pits us against others we aim to support and hold up.
Boiling Point was lucky to catch this story on Facebook, and are honored to share it with you as a form of the resistance and community we aim to build and support. To become an early part of this burgeoning community, and to learn more ways people have reached their Boiling Point, join us here.
And if you would like to support the Center for Young Women's Development, you can do so here.