Summary of Grassroots’ Strategic Plan for 2008 - 2012

Grassroots International works to create a just and sustainable world by building alliances with progressive movements. We provide grants to our Global South partners and join them in advocating for social change. Our primary focus is on land, water, and food as human rights and nourishing the political struggle necessary to achieve these rights.

The rights to land, water, and food are among the most fundamental human rights. At Grassroots International, we have adopted the powerful and profound analysis of movement leaders in the Global South. We use resource rights and food sovereignty as a way to frame political and economic struggles.

Today, unfair, corporate-driven global trade policies and the stark conditions imposed by international financial institutions exacerbate the world’s already unequal distribution of land, water, and food. Harmful policies governing agriculture, trade, and energy devastate rural economies and ecologies. There are growing social movements around the world that mobilize to resist these destructive policies. Among the different sectors of movement organizing, Grassroots has its strongest relationships with movement organizations of peasant farmers and landless workers in the Global South. Leading peasant organizations define and defend land, water, and food as basic human rights. These movement leaders provide a connective analysis which links the right to resources with parallel issues pursued by indigenous peoples, environmental justice activists, the women’s rights movement, and trade unionists. Grassroots works to support these dynamic Global South movements with a strategic combination of grantmaking and advocacy.

During 2007, Grassroots engaged in a strategic planning process that allowed the Board of Directors and staff to participate in dialogue and analysis of Global South movements. We reflected on how the global political context has changed since Grassroots’ founding in 1983. The fruits of board and staff discussions are presented in the overview and analysis section of this strategic plan. In addition, we worked together to create statements of vision, values, and mission. What began, in 2002, as an exploration of “resource rights” as a thematic shift to guide a new program initiative, has now been elevated, in 2007, as the focus of Grassroots’ revised mission.

Grassroots remains firmly rooted in a commitment to support partners in the Global South that are working for structural change within their own countries as well as being leaders of international movements. We continue to view our Global South partners as being at the forefront of successful movements organizing for justice. It is on their behalf that we work. As part of the strategic planning process, Grassroots reaffirmed “partnership” as central to our 25-year-old model and approach to our work. We seek to deepen our long-term financial commitment to partners that have a shared agenda. We also will invest in strategies that strengthen the working relationships among Global South partners, as well as between partners and U.S. policy allies. Grassroots will give priority to supporting partner-to-partner exchanges for learning and strategy development.

Grassroots’ strategic plan outlines the goals and priorities for stabilizing and streamlining operations. There is intentional overlap in the implementation of grantmaking, advocacy, and fundraising objectives. In this way, we will solidify our existing work while testing out new strategies that expand the reach and influence of the organization in the next five years. Our goals and priorities include:

Grantmaking Goal for 2008-2012:   Provide $5 million to $8 million in cash grants to advance the right to land, water, and food as human rights and to nourish the political struggle to achieve these rights. Grassroots provides grants in three interrelated categories: movement-building, sustainable livelihoods, and human rights defense.
Priority 1:          Double the annual grants for our core partners and provide additional strategic grants for key issues, such as protecting the rights of women to land and preserving indigenous territorial rights.
Priority 2:          Facilitate partner-to-partner learning and strategy exchanges and explore ways to strengthen Grassroots’ and partner connections to resource rights and food sovereignty movement organizations in Africa and/or Asia.
Advocacy Goal for 2008-2012: Amplify the voices and positions of Global South partners by collaborating with U.S. public policy allies and asserting partner positions in specific U.S. agriculture, trade, and energy policy debates (e.g. debates on agrofuels).
Priority 1:          Develop formal collaborations with two to four U.S. policy allies to strengthen shared policy positions and advocacy goals. Work together to develop publications, convenings, and other advocacy tactics to promote the right to land, water, and food as human rights and to nourish the political struggle necessary to achieve these rights.
Priority 2:          Implement issue-messaging and advocacy that appeal to new and existing audiences for Grassroots and, over five years, reach more than a million people in the U.S. through direct mail, e-alerts, partner tours, and speaking engagements.
Fundraising Goal for 2008-2012: Position Grassroots as a visible and highly competent vehicle for progressive donors in the United States to support resource rights, food sovereignty, and other related movements defending fundamental human rights around the world.
Priority 1:          Celebrate Grassroots’ 25th anniversary by raising $1 million in special gifts, and pursue an energetic plan to enlarge the base of major donors and new foundations that provide regular gifts.
Priority 2:          Broaden the audiences and the appeal of Grassroots by increasing the investment in direct mail and deepening marketing strategies to reach a quarter-million prospective donors a year, and to secure a donor base of 6,000 by 2010.   
Operational Capacity & Governance Goal for 2008-2012: Realign the operational and governance infrastructure to achieve long term sustainability that supports existing commitments as well as organizational growth.
Priority:             Rescale annual operating expenses and align the staffing structure to fit comfortably within projections for annual operating revenue, and consciously invest in strategies for support of long-term sustainability and programmatic expansion.
Priority:             Invigorate the Board of Directors as the governance and organizing body that must provide leadership and active participation to develop a plan for long-term sustainability. 
Highlights of Grassroots’ Strategy & Organizational Shifts to Achieve by 2012

Grassroots International’s strategic plan outlines a full set of goals, priorities, and measurable objectives for the next five years. An underlying premise is our commitment to stabilize operations while deliberately working to expand the reach and influence of the organization. The following highlights represent the substantive shifts we hope to achieve at Grassroots by the end of 2012.

  • ­View our primary constituency—those we work on behalf of, listen to, are accountable to—as the movement organizations providing leadership for resource rights in the Global South.
  • ­Partner with a core group of 24 effective movement organizations that are providing strong leadership nationally and internationally on resource rights issues, including policies related to trade, agriculture, food sovereignty, and climate change.
  • ­Support movement-building strategies among peasants, indigenous peoples, and other human rights activists and policy allies with grants and facilitated exchanges.
  • ­Provide critical support, even when modest, for facilitating the leadership of women and young people in these movements.
  • ­Form strategic advocacy alliances involving organization-to-organization collaboration that help Global South partners assert their voices and positions with allies in the United States that have a domestic agenda of promoting resource rights and food sovereignty.
  • ­Embrace our role as a grantmaker that engages in “fundraising to provide the progressive alternative for the official U.S. government plan for the rest of the world,” and solidify our core work while reaching out to new audiences.
  • ­Intentionally pursue opportunities that provide for overlap and alignment of our fundraising, advocacy, and grantmaking strategies.
  • ­Be lean and efficient in operations – to maximize the resources that directly go to partners in the Global South.
  • ­Be “global” through pooling of resources with peers or by raising new funds to support an initiative in Asia or Africa by the Year 2012.
  • ­Convene a “founder’s circle” to engage founding members, existing supporters, friends, and alumni of the staff and Board in special projects and political discussion salons.
  • ­25 Years and Still Strong: let’s look ahead to where we want to be at 30, at 50, at 75.

It is with great hope, renewed commitment, and ambition that Grassroots enters its 25th year. We firmly believe that accomplishing the goals and priorities outlined for the next five years – and continuing to adapt to a changing global context while remaining true to our progressive political vision and analysis – will lay a solid foundation for another 25 years of working for justice.

We are here for the long haul and we fully intend to be a part of a progressive movement towards a world with equity, justice, democracy, and respect.

See below a link to our Vision and Values and to a Venn Diagram of Grassroots International's Grantmaking, Advocacy and Fundraising Strategies.

Globalizing Justice: Our vision and values57.86 KB
Venn Diagram63.91 KB