(Image: Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
After the Trump Administration rolled out its ghastly family separation policy this summer, RAICES made headlines for its incredible fundraising haul. Dave and Charlotte Willner—two everyday citizens—began a RAICES fundraising campaign on Facebook that shattered the platform’s record, soaring well over $20 million. This success begat more success, as major donors from Jimmy Fallon to Mark Zuckerberg made gifts to the Texas-based RAICES to assist underserved immigrant communities and help reunite families torn asunder by Trump’s inhumane policy.
Ever since the Trump Administration rolled out its first iteration of the Muslim travel ban, corporations have been leveraging the backlash to the White House’s prejudicial policies for marketing purposes. Major organizations—including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU—have benefited tremendously from this trend as businesses pour money into the same causes that grassroots “rage givers” support.
This windfall is an unimaginable blessing for many nonprofits, and the idea of turning down such resources may seem absurd. Yet that is just what RAICES did last month when Salesforce attempted to donate a staggering $250,000.
The gift offer came after Salesforce employees signed a letter encouraging the company’s leadership to cancel a contract with Customs and Border Protection in response to Trump’s family separation policy. Salesforce’s top brass demurred, and sought to respond to their employees’ concerns by contributing financially to RAICES. Taking a principled stand, the organization rejected the gift.
We responded on Monday by telling them we won’t accept the donation until they #CancelTheContract
They refused. pic.twitter.com/Hx0e6l8LEy
— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) July 19, 2018
“When it comes to supporting oppressive, inhumane, and illegal policies, we want to be clear: the only right action is to stop,” RAICES Executive Director Jonathan Ryan said in a statement regarding the group’s decision. “There is no way around this, and there is no room for hair splitting when children are being brutally torn away from parents, when a mother attempts suicide in an effort to get her children released, and when an 18 month old baby is separated from their mother in detention.”
Certainly, not all nonprofits have the benefit of the kind of fundraising surge that RAICES has enjoyed recently. This, however, does not diminish the organization’s incredible response. RAICES has launched new resource-intensive programs to work on the issues that energized their donors in the first place. In other words, not a single dollar can be taken for granted in the pursuit of the organization’s important mission.
Sometimes, gestures and actions can contribute more toward accomplishing an organization’s goals than myopically focusing on dollars-and-cents.