Summer 2016 – Project Update and Fundraising Campaign

A Letter from Eleanor Hancock, Director of White Awake

Dear Friends,

As you may already be aware, White Awake – with it’s origins in the grassroots efforts of a small cohort of DC-based, IMCW practitioners – has experienced remarkable growth since the launch of our website in 2013:

  • the addition of a “Community Voices” section to the site last December, and the introduction of quarterly online newsletters, has increased our FB audience from 250 to over 1000 followers
  • the site is visited regularly by anywhere from 50-150 people a day, with over 1000 visitors at peak moments;
  • I regularly hear from folks across the nation who are integrating these resources into the life of their community.

What all of this means is that individuals and communities across the nation are utilizing White Awake to increase their awareness of race in ways that support positive, transformative change at a time when this awareness and change is desperately needed. We could not have done any of this without the support of so many local people here in DC, including Tara Brach, Hugh Byrne, Kamilah Majied, and Anne Green – who all currently serve on the White Awake board.

There is so much more to share – and I have included more details below – but I know many of you have very busy lives, so I’ll cut to the chase.

The primary use of donations made to White Awake goes to a modest hourly wage that allows me to devote much of my time and energy to the service of the project as it’s director. Our current budget for 2016 is $20,000 and the good news is – we have brought in $10,000 already! We have also secured another $5,000 as a matching grant.

Right now, we aim to raise $5,000 over the course of the next month in order to secure this matching grant, and fulfill our fundraising needs for the year.

Are you in a position to help us do this? If so, you can make a donation online here (if you’d prefer to donate via check, please contact us directly).

Every size donation serves and is appreciated! If you’re able to donate $50-$100, it would be very helpful. For those of you in a position to make a larger contribution, donations of $500-$1000 are invaluable. Obviously, the faster we reach our goal the more time I’ll have to focus on providing valuable resources to our national network of participants. 🙂 Money raised above this year’s budget will allow us to begin work on 2017 fundraising goals. If you have contacts who you think would be interested in supporting our work, please do pass this email along to them.
I appreciate your time, your support, and your consideration of this request. White Awake is the product of so many people’s vision and contribution – it is an honor to be in community with you.

If you’d like to read more about the current vision and development of White Awake, here are some details:

White Awake has a mission of bringing contemplative spiritual practice to white affinity work around race. We fulfill this mission by building and maintaining free online resources to help individuals, organizations, and spiritual communities increase their racial awareness. Our focus is on both education and inner transformation, and our vision for growth and engagement goes beyond the website to the development of active, diverse, supportive networks of white people committed to personal transformation in the context of positive social change.

White Awake is a young project that has experienced remarkable growth since the launch of our website in 2013. While the website was initially used by a small group of local folks (here in Washington, DC), spiritual communities and nonprofit organizations throughout the country now contact us regularly for support in using the tools we provide online. Some of our recent projects include: launching a quarterly newsletter featuring contributions from leading spiritual teachers, including Tara, Ruth King, and Zen priest Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei; leading a cross-racial session on white affinity work at the second annual “Buddhism and Race Conference” at Harvard Divinity School this spring; expanding the curriculum offerings on our site; and collaborating with thought leaders from a variety of backgrounds to bring greater depth and intersectionality to the resources we offer online.

Our newsletter and expanded offerings have been met with a warm reception. Likes on our Facebook page have increased from 250 to nearly 1000 over the course of the last 7 months. Our mailing list is just over 1,700 subscribers, with an open rate (percentage of folks who open our newsletter after receiving it in their inboxes) that is twice the industry average for nonprofit organizations. Due to the growth of the project, we are in a remarkable position to build White Awake through the rest of the year and into 2017.

Our plans for growth include hosting a webinar series this fall for a national audience, and launching a pilot “train the trainers” program in 2018 to support local and regional leadership in bringing White Awake modalities back to their communities. We are currently making an intentional effort to expand into a diversity of faith communities including Unitarian Universalists, Episcopalians, Jews, Reclaiming Pagans and other “inter-faith” communities, as well as InterPlay facilitators and other embodiment-focused networks. We are expanding our working board and developing an advisory council in order to ground the project in the kind of diverse, seasoned experience White Awake needs to thrive.

To meet our goals, we are looking for increasing levels of financial support, as the project now requires more attention and time. We’ve received generous funding from a growing list of individual supporters and major donors, and we’d be very grateful for support from you as well. Every donation counts, regardless of the size! You can make an online donation here, or write us for instructions on how to donate via check.

Again, thank you so much for considering this request, and for all the work you do in bringing about an integral shift in consciousness among white people in our local communities, and in this country.

With warmth,
Eleanor Hancock

Director, White Awake