A long-time donor to social justice movements, Erika Leaf was mainly focused on racial justice, feminism, and environmentalism. Then a few years ago, her adult daughter asked her to double down on her giving around the climate crisis. The future “looked like a hellscape to her,” says Erika. And she wanted her mother to be part of mitigating this crisis through her giving. “It was really poignant to hear her say that,” she notes.
So Erika started looking into climate organizations, and that’s when she deepened her investment in Corporate Accountability. “You are smart actors and I love that,” she explained. “I love that you use your knowledge and strategy to leverage power, in order to have a bigger impact than you would normally have in a situation”—like at the U.N. climate meetings.
And she is impressed that we raise funds for our allies like the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice. “Structurally, as a policy, and in practice, you are supporting the ecosystem in which you operate. That is how it should be. You can’t do it all, and you don’t have all the answers. An established organization in the U.S. with access to donors should be sharing the power with and giving a platform to international groups and smaller groups that are part of the same ecosystem.”
Now, when Erika looks to the future, she works on cultivating hope. “If I don’t have hope I’m useless to myself, to the movement,” she says. In particular, she finds hope in the young people in the movement. “There are all these young people who are very smart and connected—to each other, to movements, and to the history of movements. They have a lot more resources than activists of the past did in some ways. They are going to do really good work as they go through their lives and it’s going to matter. And there’s a lot of them, and they care. A lot of people are activated right now. That gives me a lot of hope.”
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