Announcing Fall 2016 Boomerang Grantees

Dec 16, 2016
This year we embarked on another Kindle Project experiment: Boomerang. Remember that program? The one where we conspired to have culture-makers paint the streets paisley, part the seas, and eventually take over the world? Well, we came pretty close! Which is especially impressive considering the election happened, Prince passed, and we learned that two-thirds of wildlife could be extinct in the next four years. In reality, Boomerang was the experiment in which we invited the 2016 Kindle Project Makers Muse artists into the wilds of philanthropy as Flow Funders.

We had no idea where our little adventure would lead us. What unusual groups would we learn about? And most importantly, what the heck would we learn as funders, artists, and activists ourselves? Well, it turns out, some of the assumptions we made were affirmed AND we learned a lot.

  • Creative makers are rooted in community. If we want to connect with grassroots initiatives, culture-makers are key connectors to those communities.
  • Artists are connected to underground and underdog projects. Oftentimes these seemingly ‚Äėhidden‚Äô projects are making the most profound impacts. We‚Äôve got to keep looking under rocks and artists help us do that.
  • Giving with trust and expanding the horizon on who to trust is critical to systems change. Partnering with unconventional leadership, such as artists, diversifies solutions to systems in crisis.

Obviously we could gush about this work till the end of the year. But alas, time is precious. So without further ado, drumroll please, it is time to introduce to you the seven groups recommended by our seven very unconventional and clever Makers Muse artists.

Why Aalokam inspires Jaimie: When I first met Bharathi, Director of Aalokam, I thought that she was one of the most open-minded and prolific performers I had ever met. Bharathi is running a wonderful organization that takes creative risks, is open to unique challenges, is community-minded, and is incredibly generous. I was so enamored with this company, and so excited to have the opportunity to recommend Aalokam for this award.

About Aalokam: Aalokam strives to provide the South Asian diaspora in the New York tristate area continued access to their cultural roots and to introduce South Asian performing arts to the western world. Read more here.

Why Prosigue inspires LIBRE: When I was first told about the Flow Fund and its purpose, PROSIGUE came straight to mind. I fell in love with the spirit and energy of PROSIGUE, having witnessed it first-hand facilitating art workshops with kids. The dedicated staff work tirelessly in developing the capacity of young people to respond to the difficult circumstances in which they find themselves. Workshops on issues of mental, physical and reproductive health build essential life skills, with a view to social reinsertion of young people from marginalized communities. Staff support and guide youth in key life decisions, acting as both role model and friend to talk to. The work of PROSIGUE is incredibly valuable and much needed in Mexico. The way the kids react when they arrive in the centers, that happiness and glow in their eyes in spite of their day-to-day reality, is a testament to the inherent strength and resilience of these young people who deserve the most support that we can give.

About Prosigue:¬†Prosigue is an organization with a mission to improve the living conditions of boys, girls, and adolescents living on the streets or are at risk of doing so. We have 25 years of experience in working with the street population ‚Äď children and adolescents ‚Äď as well as over 15 years in working on prevention addiction, violence, and delinquency. We have helped over 10,000 children throughout this time. Read more here.

Why the PrSYM inspires the Downtown Boys: Providence Youth Student Movement is an incredible force in Providence that organizes at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation by centering youth, female, queer, and people of color leadership in their campaigns, their organization, and their communities. They represent love and justice in every possible way and fight for love and justice in all that they do. They are leaders in the community in confronting issues of police brutality and institutional racism by the police through their work on passing a municipal city ordinance called the Community Safety Act. Additionally, they house the Community Defense Project, which aims to offer, free to low cost legal services, training and support for CopWatch, investigating and intel on problem police, community education and outreach, and healing ourselves from police abuse.

About PrSYM: The story of the Southeast Asian community in Providence, RI is one of struggle and hope. Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) began in 2001 by local students and youth in response to escalating gang fights and violent deaths in Providence’s Cambodian community. We saw an urgent need for a youth led response to the oppression and violence facing the Southeast Asian community. Read more here.

Why¬†the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance inspires BLR:¬†We recommended¬†the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) because they are a community organization in the Rockaways doing amazing work.¬†We collaborated with RWA in September to bring our interactive artwork¬†The Bureau of Linguistical Reality¬†to the Rockaways. As artists we¬†would like to change the dynamics of community collaboration.¬†If we¬†collaborate with a community, we¬†would like to give something back to the community, not what we¬†think a community needs, but rather what they determine they need.¬†The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance had noted that it’s tough to receive funding for their arts and environment program and so it seemed natural to nominate them for the Flow Fund.

About RWA: Rockaway Waterfront Alliance is a community-based organization dedicated to empowering residents of underserved communities in the Rockaways to play a role in the determination of their neighborhoods. We provide enriching education and community programming, which instill both individual and civic respect for nature, and contribute to advancing the physical, economic and social sustainability in the Rockaway Peninsula. Read more here.

Why the Sacred Fire Foundation inspires Paula: I recommended the Sacred Fire Foundation, because its purpose of preserving and transmitting the ancestral wisdom to new generations is important. I identify with the original people’s worldview that we are intimately and integrally linked to the Earth we inhabit, that the Earth is a living being that deserves respect and gratitude from us, its inhabitants.

About the Sacred Fire Foundation: Sacred Fire Foundation works to support the continuance of indigenous traditional knowledge worldwide and to promote the values of indigenous perspective in order to create dialogue and societal change. Read more here.

Why SF Dreamers Project inspires Israel: Santa Fe Dreamers Project has not been around a long time as an organization in Santa Fe, but the impact they have had on our immigrant community has proved immense. The have not only helped undocumented students and families obtain DACA and eligibility to work in the U.S. but also provided tremendous awareness building around immigrant rights and issues. They have provided so much legal counsel to community members that could not afford it otherwise. While others are profiting from the recent changes in immigration law, Santa Fe Dreamers Project is finding ways to provide legal counsel at extremely affordable costs. They are a precious example of people before profit and our constant reminder that immigrants make our community stronger by providing for their legal needs.

About the SF Dreamers Project: The Santa Fe Dreamers Project is a non-profit organization that provides free legal representation to immigrant youth and their family members, with a focus on economic & community development. Santa Fe Dreamers Project is committed to representing every qualified immigrant who walks through our doors. We make every effort to understand the barriers that normally prevent immigrant families in our community from accessing legal representation and design our services with those barriers in mind. The Dreamers Project has a 100% bilingual staff, including three attorneys, a legal intern, and a legal fellow. Read more here.

About FJK Dance, Inc.: FJK Dance is a contemporary dance company founded in 2014 by Fadi J. Khoury and Sevin Ceviker. Dedicated to presenting a unique fusion of dance genres,¬†it fills a void in the current dance scene, fusing the vocabularies of various genres ‚Äď modern, jazz, classical ballet, ballroom, and traditional folkloric ‚Äď into a language that expresses a fundamental, shared capacity to create. ¬†Through our performances, FJK supports cross-cultural dialogue, infusing its works with positive images from many dance traditions. Read more here.