From the Executive Director
It feels good to be useful. Over the course of the last year, PRA has had no shortage of opportunities to assist organizers, advocates, policy makers, and journalists deal with myriad initiatives of the U.S. Political Right. From the explosion of Tea Party organizing, to antiabortion campaigns targeting African-American women in the South, to racial profiling initiatives targeting Latino immigrants in the Southwest, PRA has been on the case and, often, on the ground. We’ve briefed members of Congress and State Department officials as well as frontline immigrant rights organizers in such places as Arizona – providing research and strategic recommendations on urgent issues of policy and strategy. We’re proud of our accomplishments and also keenly aware of how much more we have to contribute.
The surge in Tea Party and other right-wing backlash campaigns has overlapped with the global economic crisis, a shift in donor giving in response to Barack Obama’s election as president, and my own transition into the role of PRA’s executive director. As demand for PRA’s work grew sharply, we began to feel the financial pinch.
We have left staff vacancies open (including that for a new research director), and have had to pass over some great opportunities for collaborations, investigations, and interviews. We cut our facilities costs by fully half. We also transitioned a valued project on right-wing influence in U.S. foreign policy, Right Web, to a new home with Institute for Policy Studies. With these and other cost containment measures, we have been able to meet the fiscal challenge of the times. We expect our 2010 expense budget will be down by about thirty percent relative to 2009.
Simply put, we’ve had to find ways to do more with less. Such are the challenges of taking on the hard right in hard times. This has forced us to make hard choices and I believe that PRA will be the stronger for it.
Through it all, we have worked hard to maintain and even expand our engagement with organizing and advocacy groups on the frontlines of the struggle for human rights, and to provide incisive analysis to a broad spectrum of progressive change makers. Largely due to the loyalty of individual (as well as some institutional) supporters, and the bottomless dedication of PRA’s staff and board teams, PRA’s finances are stable and we anticipate a budgetary recovery in 2011, setting PRA on a course for long-term sustainability – steadily building our infrastructure in order to maximize our organizational impact. More than ever, we thank you for your support.
Right-wing gains during the 2010 midterm elections have us looking ahead to the new challenges and opportunities we will all face in 2011 and beyond. PRA moves into the new year with a renewed commitment to help progressives find a way forward, against the current of right-wing reaction. Together, we will.
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