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    We acknowledge the harms of the nonprofit industrial complex, and in particular, the inherent roots of white supremacy, wealth inequality, and institutional racism at the core of the fundraising and philanthropy industry. Our work has upheld this inequitable and unjust system to raise funds. We commit to taking the concrete action steps below to make radical change in our organization’s Development & Communications strategy. As an organization based on teaching storytelling, we must do better in our work to center our participants and mission.

    Some action steps the Development & Communications Team are implementing are below:


    Building strong relationships with our donors, while not centering them in our messaging and communications. 


    Overhauling our public facing storytelling, including a revamp of our website, based on the creation of an anti-racist, anti-colonial, and abolitionist language style guide that will be used for all social media posts, grant applications, website text, and other outward facing communications about our work. This decolonization of language will move The Unusual Suspects away from a scarcity mindset and towards highlighting the vibrant, diverse, and talented communities we serve.


    Revising our social media policy in conjunction with the board to be outward-facing on issues that directly affect our participants and their families.


    Revisiting our funder cultivation and prospecting strategies, while researching the institutions, corporations, and foundations we receive funding from to ensure we cultivate funders that align with our values and mission.


    Making profiles and narratives written about our participants a voluntary and collaborative process. This includes not picking which participants have the most “worthy” stories to be shared, which are often chosen due to personal trauma, but rather putting out a voluntary call for stories to all participants. This change would ensure that participants are partners in the creation and review of the narrative, and have final approval of what is being shared about themselves, their community, and their own experiences and on what platforms. Participants will always have the option of deciding not to publicly share at any time.


    Revamp our fundraising strategy and revisit the roles of participants and Teaching Artists in fundraising efforts using the framework developed by the Community Centric Fundraising Movement, an organization run by BIPOC fundraisers, to ground our work in social justice and prioritize the communities we serve.

    We commit to beginning this work immediately and prioritizing these action steps. We will be fully transparent providing updates in the upcoming months about what the team is working on and progress to date.

    This work must be done to ensure that we are truly living up to our mission, and we do not take it lightly.

    We refuse to uphold the status quo.