What is Solidaire?
Solidaire is a membership community of people with wealth who are committed to supporting progressive social movements which address crucial needs now, next year and beyond. We aim to respond quickly and nimbly to urgent needs, while also making long-term sustained commitments to build movement infrastructure.
Facilitated by Solidaire’s communications platforms, members develop deep knowledge and connections with organizations on the front lines of resistance, action and innovation. Through their interactions, Solidaire members gain the confidence and knowledge of how to channel their donations to organizations that are on the frontier of transforming our society.
Solidaire began with the desire to answer a single question: What is the role of financial resources in supporting social movements that are fighting for deep systemic change?
In 2011, movements shook the globe. From the Arab Spring to anti-austerity protests in Europe, and Occupy Wall Street here at home, we witnessed the power of collective action – of individuals and communities taking to the streets and putting their bodies on the line to make their voices heard. It was surprising and challenging. What did these protesters want? Why was such disruption necessary? These movements upended the status quo, both in their vision and in their tactics.
Watching these events unfold led to reflection on the history of social movements, and the realization that they often take decades to achieve their goals. Deep structural change takes massive shifts in culture and narratives, as well as in social, political and economic institutions. The women’s, abolition, and civil rights movements each challenged a deep conception about who had rights, who was fully human, and who should be allowed to participate in society as an equal.
Upon further reflection, we realized that such movements don’t just happen. They require infrastructure. They require organizations and leaders that can sustain energy and vision over time. And this infrastructure requires resources.
In 2012, we decided to create a community of donors who wanted to participate in building this kind of long term social movement infrastructure. We looked at models and surveyed the landscape. Then, in 2013, Solidaire was born, launching with just a handful of people. Now, in 2017, we have over 130 members around the country, and we continue to experiment and learn together about the best role we can play in creating the kind of deep structural change our society needs.