For over thirty years, North Star has been investing in community organizations that are creating positive, sustainable change on the ground, where it matters most. It carries out its investment through an activist-led grantmaking process.
Although I now teach law school, my formative professional experience was in civil rights litigation. I became a civil rights lawyer because I saw the law as a medium for social change. I became involved with North Star because I understand and appreciate that meaningful social change begins at the community level. I started as a donor. The former board chair, Arva Rice, recruited me to join the board in early 2006.
Now, four years later, I’m still involved as a board member. I’m consistently impressed by North Star’s dedication to progressive community building. The staff is committed, smart, innovative, and forward-thinking.
In my capacity as a board member, I try to be a bridge between North Star and the communities that I interact with the most, which tends to be social justice lawyers and legal academics. This means connecting people who have progressive values to North Star’s work by encouraging them to donate, to attend events, or sometimes even to become board members themselves.
I tell them that North Star deploys resources quickly and strategically—where they are needed most, and where they will have a lasting impact. But North Star does more than just fund grassroots groups; it cultivates diverse leadership through skills-building workshops for community leaders. It connects people across the city who are building social movements.
To make those connections, you need to be informed and you need to be available. North Star Fund knows what’s happening at the grassroots level all over New York City. And North Star Fund is an approachable foundation, available for groups that are new and urgent, as well as established groups with many impressive victories. That’s why I give.