“The grassroots energy awakened by the 2016 election marks a real opportunity for reinvigorating the left,” write Christin “Cici” Battle, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For program, and Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress, in a new op-ed for The Progressive. But the power of this movement will be lost again if we don’t start investing in young people, according to [finds] a new report titled “Building Tomorrow: The Need for Sustained Investment in America’s Progressive Youth” recently published by Young People For and Generation Progress.
In particular, the report highlights the funding gap between conservative and progressive youth organizations and tells the stories of young people who wanted to pursue formative roles in the progressive movement only to give up those dreams because of money. The reasons for the gap are likely not what you’d expect:
Progressives might assume that the difference is the much deeper pockets of the right. But in addition to giving more money, right-wing funders are offering support with fewer strings attached, with an eye toward the long-term health of the conservative movement. While progressive funders tend to support specific projects, often tied to voter turnout for elections, conservative funders are more likely to focus on leadership development, capacity building, or to give unrestricted funds.