Why Anchor, Why Now?
After years of working for single issue organizations, attempting to bridge gaps between disparate organizations to win progressive power in local, state and federal elections, I had a decision to make. Stay in progressive politics and take another electorally focused job or consider for profit positions? I wrapped up my MBA program in May 2017 and was hungry to approach the work with the energy of an entrepreneur.
Most entrepreneurs would tell you they went into business because they experienced a pain point. Where a small, nagging desire to improve their own circumstance bloomed into a full time job. This is the story of Anchor Strategies. The concept evolved over the course of the 2014 and 2016 election cycles and landed on an epiphany that social change requires smart, long term and diversified investment, not unlike modern portfolio theory. Just how someone plans their retirement account, we must invest in aggressive advocacy and power building models AND direct service providers and social service programs. Social change requires patience, persistence, a plan and experience.
What if we were more relentless?
What if we told funders what we needed and asked up front to take more risks?
What if we unapologetically positioned new voices, activists and resistance organizations to become the leaders of our organizations rather than mend toxic leaders?
What if we worked from a theory of aspiration and not scarcity?
What if our planning horizon were years not weeks and we guarded more time to think long game?
What if we viewed elections as a symptom, not the problem?
What if we flipped electoral budgets and funded year round change first, not last?
Anchoring Aspirational Social Change
Anchor Strategies is an attempt to bridge business acumen with social change concepts. We exist to help leaders and their organizations adjust to an evolving and dynamic world where strategic plans can be moot within months after they are written. Anchor Strategies and the team we are building wants to address the ongoing issue of scarcity in social change. We want to work with organizations to meet with their foundations and donors to speak truth to power and shift the culture of social change investment throughout New England. Internally, we want to hire aspirational leaders, on ramp interns and apprentices and help get them placed into social change organizations and businesses.
At the heart of our work, we are committed to shift the funding culture for social change and help embrace and embolden the leaders who will carry out the mission work. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.