Effective Advocacy for Grant Funds Usage

I am an individual, resident & business owner of California's 28th congressional district. In 2015 I launched CRUVOIR (2015-2020) a California corporation conducting business as a high-end designer clothing store on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, California

By Soren Ronan

Effective Advocacy for Grant Funds Usage

I lost my business from the looting that occurred on May 30th, 2020 when the Mayor of California ordered the LAPD a stand down mandate during the BLM riots. Scores of opportunists & masked armed looters took advantage, damaging commercial & personal property & engaging in open theft, vandalism, & violent destruction of my property. The total damages were over 1.5 million dollars of designer clothing, sneakers, jewelry, & rare vintage pieces.

The protesters were honoring Melina Abdullah, the lead organizer of Black Lives Matter LA chapter, who led call & response chants of ‘Disrupt White Capitalism.’ a concept she believes is the root cause of police violence in America. Abdullah, who is also a college professor, went on to drop a string of expletives that seemingly foreshadowed what was to come after the rally would end. “F*** the police,” she shouted into the megaphone. “F*** white capitalism. F*** The Grove. F*** 3rd and Fairfax. F*** Beverly Hills.” By nightfall, stores at every shopping district Abdullah mentioned had been vandalized and looted, and several LAPD cruisers in the Fairfax District were set on fire.

By nightfall, stores at every shopping district Abdullah mentioned had been vandalized and looted. Abdullah’s 16-year-old daughter, Thandiwe, also addressed rallygoers. She co-founded the Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard and has been speaking at local protests for several years. In 2018, she was honored by Time Magazine as one of the most influential teens in the country.

“I know you want to cry, I know you want to tear some shit up,” Thandiwe said. “If you want to set some corporations on fire, you know what? I don’t care about Target burning. I don’t care that capitalism burns. I don’t care that white people in their f***ing office buildings are upset. I don’t care that you can’t go nowhere because you’re stuck in f***ing traffic. I don’t care that you can’t get to your job or your doctor’s appointment or to wherever the f*** you want to go.”

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None of my property was covered by insurance, so I have shuttered my doors & dissolved my company.

My property was accessible, cases were ripped, displays pulled down, all in honor of a very deliberate call & response record to loot & destroy 'white spaces of affluence', but the problem cannot be reduced to such politics alone …

My question is, what would it look like to just give cash grants to people (or small business owners in my type of position) instead of having nonprofits be a ‘middle man’?

I’m asking because I’ve seen how grant funds are spent & tracked & have thought about real life changing work through mutual aid initiatives rather than programs & services that aren’t always relevant to the community. Not a super critical analysis, just thoughts …

I hope you agree with my sentiment. I know some that have worked in the nonprofit sector & one of the biggest complaints about nonprofits is that they often do what makes them ‘feel good’ instead of what produces the greatest impact or best outcome. If giving business owners (who lost everything from the looting) money directly without any service is more impactful than a program or service, that is what we should be advocating for.

That being said the funding entity has to be on board with this as well. Most funding sources (public & private) require or desire a "program" because they are largely paternalistic in nature. This causes a cyclical process …

Nonprofits pitch programs & services because that is what funding sources want. Since funding sources want programs & services, nonprofits hire people with that expertise & viewpoint. Its pretty horrible …

Some people do come together to work on art & stuff like that … the kind of work I specifically am involved in, but I guess that can also be funded directly without strings attached …

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