Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

February 8, 2022

The Polyamory Foundation,
a new source of activist funding

Several years ago at a Poly Living convention, a pair of friends took me aside and told me they wanted to discuss something over dinner. It turned out they were writing their wills, and one wanted to leave a substantial sum of money for polyamory education and support. But they weren't sure where, or how.

I told them I was donating to Loving More (which puts on Poly Living) and also named the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Woodhull, and a couple others. But what they were talking about was in a different league. In particular, they were not expecting to die and the money to come available for many years.

We were quite aware that activist organizations come and go over the years and sometimes fall into unexpected hands. We knew of tragic stories where a benefactor left a big pot to a beloved cause, and then when the bequest finally came through it was misused by unintended people or flat-out stolen. A poorly guarded treasure chest is likely to draw sharks, and the only winners may be the various parties' lawyers.

I had also heard tales of a progressive group that was destroyed by a benefactor dropping an unexpected bequest on it. Factions formed up and fought to mutual destruction for the pile of gold that each felt they ought to control, for the purest of reasons. When the stakes were low they had gotten along and accomplished things.

"What this movement really needs," I mused to the two over dinner at the convention, "is a foundation that would give money to fund projects, not people or organizations. It would need an independent board that would make grants to projects on their merits on a case-by-case basis, there at the time. It would need a mission and guidelines that were legally locked in. Lots of other movements have foundations like that, and we don't."

"Well, Alan..." said the will-writer, giving me a spreading grin....

"Ohhhhhh, shit," I thought.

Now, after several years of discussions in the community, team building, several offers of promising routes forward that petered out, lawyer brought in, incorporation and 501(c)3 and all sorts of IRS regs navigated, i's dotted and t's crossed, it's real: The Polyamory Foundation is alive and open for business.

It is set up as a tax-exempt private grantmaking foundation, educational and charitable. Our purpose is to provide money for projects "that advance awareness and understanding of egalitarian, ethical polyamory as a valid and workable relationship choice; or that inform the public of polyamory’s principles and best practices; or that support the needs and interests of the polyamory community."

Along the way, somebody none of us had heard of showed up out of Seattle high tech, got enthused, and donated a treasure chest of early money just like that -- enough to fund a respectable first year of grants. We're guessing that this is a sign there's more money out there that has been looking for a home like this.

For more about the foundation, see its website. We're ready to take grant applications now -- to help pay expenses (receipts required) for your educational, charitable, or community-support polyamory project that's within our statement of purpose. Posted around the treasure chest are the regulation guard dragons; if you would like a handful of the gold to use, expect paperwork and agreements as required by the IRS rules for private foundations, as well as our own bylaws.

Two points from the grant page: 

In choosing what to fund, we expect to give particular consideration to projects that:

● Will have benefits that are concrete, widespread, and permanent. Efficacy matters.

● Will reach marginalized or under-represented communities that have particular unfilled needs and opportunities for polyamory education, awareness, and support efforts. Representing such a community counts in your favor.

What sort of projects? Some possible examples from our announcement page:

Have you nurtured an idea for advancing polyamory awareness and community but lacked the funds to carry it out? Have your plans to put on a conference been thwarted by the large deposit that hotels require upfront? Have you been running a poly conference but it took a bad hit from Covid cancellations, and you don't know where the money will come from to get it back on its feet? Do you want to offer scholarships for more low-income people to attend your poly educational event, but you can't afford to? Do you have great material to present but need a bit of help to finance a tour? Need equipment for a poly-community project?

Talk to us. Whether your idea is large or small, if you have developed a plan but are stymied by lack of funds, that's what The Polyamory Foundation is here for.

Per our charter, we fund expenses for specific projects and activities. We can help you achieve your goals that fit our Statement of Purpose (see homepage), especially if cost has been a problem. The polyamory-awareness movement has always had lots of great people with great ideas. If you've got it together, we may be able to help you carry out yours.

We are still new and small as foundations go. We are currently accepting applications for grants in the range of $100 to $4,000. 
We hope to make 10 or 20 grants in our first year, and yes, we do take applications for as low as $100. For some effective, creative people even a hundred bucks -- for a printing bill, or expenses to give a presentation, or necessary materials -- can be a roadblock that it wouldn't be for someone with more means. We hope to even that up a bit.

Since the modern poly movement began taking shape about 37 years ago, it has accomplished spectacular success in public recognition and understanding on the barest of financial shoestrings. That has happened thanks to passionate volunteers all over. We hope to help. We intend for the Foundation to become an increasingly significant resource supporting creative choice in consensual relationship structures for decades to come.

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Blogger Reg said...

Is this a US-centric endeavour or will it be funding projects worldwide?

February 13, 2022 2:07 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

US only for now. The legal paperwork and other requirements to be allowed to make grants in other countries is just too much at present. But I hope so as we grow!

February 16, 2022 7:12 PM  

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