New York City People's Life Fund

339 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012

2010 Annual Report

New York City People's Life Fund invites held its annual Board meeting at the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 339 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor, on Monday, November 22 at 7:00 PM.

The Year in Review

We have reached the halfway mark in Barack Obama's presidency, and as is customary, many politicos are assessing his first two years. In a Nation survey among political analysts, Barbara Ehrenreich sums up her critique as follows:

Government is not only expensive 'bloated' and all the rest. It has become a handmaid to corporate power—a hiring hall from which compliant officials are selected for vastly more lucrative private-sector jobs, as well as an emergency cash reserve for companies that fall on hard times. No wonder so many Americans unthinkingly conflate 'big government' and 'big corporations.' This is not the kind of government that hires unemployed people to paint murals on post office walls.

Not only is this a government that steers clear of a comprehensive program of public works, a hallmark of the New Deal, but it is a government that spends billions on war. That is quite a far cry from the thirties when military spending was miniscule as compared to today.

Overall, we have seen a dramatic change in the direction of government from that of provider of basic needs for its citizens to protector of imperial interests.

For those of us who have a very different view of society, and what government should provide for people, this direction is totally unacceptable.

Notwithstanding the real shortfalls of the Obama Administration, some key rays of light poke through a bleak overall picture. They should be acknowledged. For example, Obama's successful negotiation with the Russian Republic for reduction of nuclear arms now with an eye toward elimination of this weaponry in the future is encouraging. On the domestic front, the abolition of the pre-existing clause in insurance policies—an arguably criminal loophole for insurance companies which allowed them to deny insurance to anyone who has a pre-existing medical condition—represents a major step in the right direction. This April, Obama took a crucial step toward according the same rights to same-sex couples that heterosexual couples enjoy. When one of the partners in a same-sex couple is hospitalized, patient visitation will no longer be restricted to blood relations. Even more encouraging is that a partner may determine medical decisions when her or his partner is incapable of doing so. Nonetheless, as responsible people of conscience, we must acknowledge that these very real successes are not enough, and our work is far from done.

In the domain of foreign relations, the Obama Administration has been a disappointment. The war in Afghanistan seems open-ended.

War tax resistance is a way of separating ourselves from war and imperial conquest. We believe that tax moneys should be spent for the betterment of people, not for death and destruction. And through our Life Funds, we redirect our moneys to desperately needed services that improve and enrich our lives.

Although grants and support for community groups have dwindled in recent years, next April 15 we expect to redirect $1,000 grants to five deserving community groups. We hope that you will be with us to celebrate life—not death.

A Call to Action

After a year in which we were unable to make grants, our ability to do so next April 15 is a joyous occasion—one we hope to repeat in the years to come. Clearly, there are more than enough community groups providing critical services who might benefit from these grants. These grants represent a very real possibility to better the lives of people, and stand in stark contrast to the money spent killing people on foreign shores.

At a time when people are hurting, fundraising is especially difficult. Clearly, times are hard. But our failure to act now will assure that times continue to get harder. Your sustained support to the Fund, no matter how small, can make a real difference in the impact we can have in the New York City community.