Dear Friends of the Muste Institute,
As most of you know by now, we have some big decisions to make about our beloved peace building at 339 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. While we weigh our options, we find ourselves constantly inspired by the amazing grassroots organizations whose work we support.
From our last appeal letter and the testimonials on our website, you already know what a difference our programs make to these groups’ efforts to build a better future—by stopping war and militarism, eliminating the death penalty, organizing low-income workers, educating people about the dangers of nuclear power, defending prisoners’ rights, and so much more.
These projects are a priority for us—and judging by how you’ve helped us build our grant making over the past few years, we believe they’re a priority for you, too. Please stand with us as we continue to expand this vital work.
All these programs depend on your ongoing contributions:
Building: Without the Muste Institute’s ownership of 339 Lafayette Street, our activist tenants might have long ago been priced out of Manhattan or left struggling to make ends meet. Instead, these groups—War Resisters League, Met Council on Housing, WILPF, Paper Tiger TV, and others—benefit from subsidized rent, shared meeting space and a community spirit that we plan to keep going, whether we end up staying here or going somewhere else.
Grants: From tenant rights organizing in East Harlem to conscientious objector counseling in Oklahoma, from immigrant community mobilizing in Idaho to nonviolent action in Oaxaca and Nigeria, each year we make dozens of grants to small grassroots projects around the world. Our support benefits groups which traditionally have limited access to other sources of funding.
Counter Recruitment Fund: Just over a year old, this fund has already made nearly 40 grants to educate young people here at home about the brutal realities of military service and to help them identify nonmilitary education and job alternatives. With your support we’re funding youth outreach in areas heavily targeted by military recruiters—from low-income neighborhoods of Detroit and Los Angeles to Memphis, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Since its inception, your generous donations to this fund have nearly doubled its capacity, a huge boost at a time when the need for counter-recruitment organizing just keeps growing.
International Nonviolence Training Fund: For nearly 15 years, this fund has been making grants for trainings around the world that help people learn to use the theory and practice of nonviolent action to carry out effective struggles for social justice. Your support has helped us fund projects with women’s groups from Burma, with farmers and students in Palestine, and with nonviolence trainers in Turkey and southern Sudan, to name a few.
NOVA Travel Fund: In just over six months, this fund has already made some 30 grants to help grassroots activists from Latin America, the Caribbean & indigenous nations travel to regional gatherings where they share organizing strategies and build links with groups carrying out similar campaigns. The fund’s goal is to support leadership development among base-level activists from indigenous, peasant and other struggling communities–especially women–who don’t often have the opportunity to travel and learn from each other.
Fiscal Sponsorships: We are proud to partner with such groups as War Resisters League, United for Peace and Justice, School of the Americas Watch, Artists Against War, Syracuse Peace Council, Gabriela Network, International Peace Bureau, Climate Crisis Coalition, and East Timor Action Network, among others. By sponsoring the educational programs of these groups, we boost their fund raising and help them focus on their important work.
Literature: Our Essay Series pamphlets reach thousands of people each year with writings and speeches on nonviolence and liberation from the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Barbara Deming, Henry David Thoreau, Emma Goldman, Aldous Huxley, and Jeannette Rankin. Classrooms and activist groups continue to use these pamphlets as educational tools for nonviolence.
It is essential that we sustain and expand these programs while we consider the future of our building. Your contributions will allow us to continue to provide critical support to all who depend on us—in our building, across the U.S., and around the world.. Please use the enclosed envelope to give the most generous donation you can manage or go to our website at www.ajmuste.org and use the JustGive button to donate on line. As always, your contributions are tax deductible.
We are committed to continue serving as a vital resource for the nonviolent movement. Your faith in and support for our efforts will make that possible.
The Board of Directors of the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute
Peter Muste, Chair