It’s Time To Send Some "Thank You Notes"

Thank You Notes

June 22, 2012

Grab your Vegas-style floodlights and oversized megaphone, and let’s spotlight an essential fact: Women need lifelong access to compassionate reproductive health care that respects their autonomy, safeguards their physical and mental well-being, and supports their informed decisions—all of which is enormously positive for society.

Simple stuff, and yet women in the U.S. face a murky tangle of hardships that start with reproductive health care and affect every area of life by extension. Different laws are layered across 50 states, scary terminology is used to misrepresent facts, ordinary citizens are subject to smear campaigns, and people kill people in the name of “protecting human life.” Restrictions on birth control, pregnancy care and abortion are packaged with efforts to roll back other basic rights, so women end up fighting for access to overall medical services, equal treatment and pay in the workplace, and safety from violence. The less money women possess, the more power strangers can have to influence what should be utterly private decisions. And much of the reproductive rights debate would lead young people to believe that having sex — something most everyone does at some point in their life — is shameful, borderline aberrant behavior.

Quixote Foundation appreciates the educators, advocates and health care providers who serve us all well by lighting a path through this perplexing mess, from one-on-one, local kindnesses all the way through to the national policy level. Important decisions about our futures and our health will always be complicated, but these folks understand that supporting women while they make those decisions is simple: Provide information, fund access, protect freedom, and get out of the way.

We think the women and men working for reproductive rights deserve straightforward support too. Over the next five years, we plan to show our gratitude for their efforts with a series of "Thank You Notes" in the form of unsolicited grants. Varying amounts, no particular awards cycle, and no unnecessary paperwork; just a history and/or promise of critical, effective work. In keeping with Quixote Foundation’s core approach, most of these grants will go toward organizing, policy advocacy, public communication and other strategies that protect the right to reproductive health care, rather than to direct services. All of the funds will go to nonprofit organizations that shine bright, leading lights as we move toward meaningful equality for women.

This week, we sent our first Thank You Notes to three brilliant organizations:

  • $25,000 to Women Donors Network for its smart, early partnership with UltraViolet. Among other strong initiatives, UltraViolet is calling out the frank stupidity of anti-choice policies that reduce access to birth control — and helping policy makers understand this hypocrisy will be named.
  • $25,000 for Groundswell Fund, which lives out the reproductive rights movement’s claimed goals of equality and justice, supporting grassroots organizing and policy change efforts led by low-income women, women of color and transgender people.
  • $5,000 to the Center for Policy Analysis for the Trust Women Silver Ribbon Campaign, a collaboration among dozens of organizations to bring this country’s majority support for reproductive rights out of the silent margins and into the vocal mainstream.

We hope you’ll look into these organizations and consider sending them a “Thanks” of your own.

—written by Keneta Anderson for Quixote Foundation