2007 Annual Report
On November 24, New York City People's Life Fund held its 2007 Annual Board Meeting at the A.J. Muste Institute. Following below is the text of our update to membership:
The Year in Review
In March of next year, the U.S. will enter its fifth year of war in Iraq. Despite the portrayal of the “surge” by President Bush and General Petraeus as having brought stability to Iraq, evidence of continuing violence abounds.
Meanwhile, Congressional efforts to bring home some troops and to shorten tours of duty have been unsuccessful. Congress simply cannot summon the necessary votes to override a veto or to stop a filibuster. In other words, although the Democrats have control of both houses, they lack the strength to slow down the pace of our involvement or to withdraw troops. So the maiming and deaths continue. And the war goes on.
As with Vietnam, the quagmire, unforeseen and unplanned for, will undoubtedly plague the next administration. But for the American people, the deprivation and scars of neglect on the domestic scene will continue for at least a decade.
The protests, the marches on Washington and the increasingly loud voices demanding withdrawal of troops have brought about change in Congress. Escalating protests have emerged in a strong chorus of dissent. A number of representatives in Congress are hammering away at the urgency of withdrawal. In large part, the alternative community has made ending the Iraq War a central issue of the day.
The First-Ever PLF Gala
On September 17th of this year, the New York City People's Life Fund presented its first-ever Gala Benefit. Judging by audience reaction and enthusiastic comments, it was a resounding success. Stellar performers such as Kathleen Chalfont, Rome Neal, Vinie Burrows, Judith Malina and Hanon Reznikov gave of their talents to publicize the work of the Life Fund and to carve a broader outreach to the community.
In the past the Life Fund has relied on resisted war taxes, which are returnable, as well as general contributions to satisfy the needs of community groups. In recent years, our ability to make grants and loans has dwindled. It became absolutely vital that we introduce the accomplishments of the Life Fund to a larger audience.
Thus was born the idea of holding a Gala, which would be both entertainment and outreach. We wanted to familiarize the New York City community with the range of our work, with past accomplishments and with our hopes for the future.
And that we did. It was a spectacular evening of drama, song and testimonials. Knowledge of the past was revived. The future stands ready to embrace the past and continue the Life Fund tradition.
Revitalizing the New York City People's Life Fund
This year's Gala event was very enthusiastically received by an audience reaching beyond the confines of the war tax resistance community to a broader peace and social-justice-minded audience. This year's benefit inspired its audience to take part in the activities of an organization dedicated to sustaining life, to rejecting death culture and to providing support for community efforts largely ignored by the government. For this reason, the event was a significant achievement. Those attending the Gala got firsthand reports from groups that have benefited from the support of New York City People's Life Fund, thus putting faces to the names of groups that make a difference in their community.
Introducing Our New Pledge Program
On the heels of this resounding success, the benefit is only the beginning of a much larger effort to revitalize the Fund so that it may resume its granting activities. As a first step, we announced a new pledge program allowing monthly support to NYC PLF. If you are interested in making a pledge, please contact us. Your sustained support can make a real difference in the New York City community. The testimonials given at the Gala by organizations that received our support speak volumes on the difference you, as an individual, can make through your support of the Fund.
The lifeblood of our work is the spirit for change in our community. In order to bring this change closer to reality, let's work together to create a solid base. We're counting on your support.