Don’t Stop Celebrating Now, Carry On With The Holidays

Still celebrating

January 27, 2006

Holidays motivate people to take action based on who and what they value. At Quixote Foundation we’ve noticed some people seem to be on holiday all the time, practicing what they believe all 365 days. Here are a few shiny ornaments that never get packed away:

  • Barbara Ehrenreich lived on poverty-level wages to research her book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. She has inspired Quixote Foundation to avoid false economies in the way we do business, showing how the little things add up. Tipping hotel housekeepers is mandatory and reimbursed, and we seek out vendors who provide health care benefits for employees.
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders has led us to seek restaurants and catering services that use local, in-season, free-range and organic products. Now we think about feeding ourselves and our guests as a way to help expand the market for healthy, sustainable food.
  • The Zero Waste efforts of Environmental Grantmakers Association are genius! If we could be as cool and shiny as EGA, or the Sierra Club with their no-waste 2005 Sierra Summit, we’d be pleased. Both organizations push the standard high for clean operations and conferences, and they challenge us to do the same. Beyond the basic reduce, reuse and recycle ethic, we’ve begun composting in-house and automatically purchasing carbon offsets when we travel by air.
  • We wouldn’t have predicted a link between ground transportation and reproductive rights, but we’re tickled that employee-owned Already There Town Car Service donates ten percent of our fare to Planned Parenthood of Western Washington each time we mention PPWW when reserving a ride.
  • The City of Seattle is committed to sustainable purchasing, and practical information the city provides has helped us put vendors and products through our own “sustainable screen.” We’ve begun buying renewable energy through Seattle City Light’s Green Up program.
  • YES! offers hope for independent media and an example of why all foundations and grantees should work for media reform. The relentless practicality of YES! has prompted us to provide a subscription for all our 2004 and 2005 grantees.
  • The Russell Family Foundation and The Brainerd Foundation have inspired us to do business with local and independent stores instead of the big box chains, offered practical tips for running a green operation, and helped with online solutions to prevent grant applicants from sending excess paperwork every year.
  • Mark Ritchie was creative in getting out the vote for the 2004 presidential election. He led National Voice (now the Center for Civic Participation) to take on the “November 2” campaign and inspired us to nag everyone: “Are you registered? How are you getting to the polls? Can we give you a ride?!”
  • ShoreBank’s Development Deposits program uses deposits from Quixote Foundation and other socially motivated investors to fund loans for small businesses, vacant building renovation and other efforts to revitalize local priority neighborhoods.
  • And it seems like every time we turn around National Network of Grantmakers provokes us with more solutions for practicing social justice in every aspect of operations.

All these ideas help us discover new ways to live out our Quixote Foundation ideal of free people in fair societies on a healthy planet. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating a continuous holiday in 2006!

—written by Keneta Anderson for Quixote Foundation