For years now non-profit organizations like the Sutherland Institute have advanced policies which reflect conservative values. Progressives in Utah have been largely left out in the cold, especially since the loss of fine organizations like the Utah Progressive Network (UPNet). Too often progressives have been forced to react to legislation they disapprove of instead of going on the offensive with ideas of their own. Those days are coming to an end.
The Citizens Education Project (CEP) has been in existence for more than 10 years. During that time, the grassroots organizers who formed the CEP have had some significant victories. For example, they blocked efforts to bring private prisons to Utah and worked closely with downwinders to make sure nuclear testing in Nevada never resumed. They have also been fighting the Las Vegas water grab in Snake Valley and have a long history of holding the military accountable at Dugway Proving Grounds when others wouldn't. The CEP is proud of its record of standing for openness and transparency and will continue to do so.
Now the organizers that founded the CEP are ready to take the organization to the next level. They realize it is no longer enough to simply block bad policy. They believe it's time to also start bringing good policy ideas to the table. You are receiving this message because we think you agree.
While organizations like the Sutherland Institute have enjoyed considerable corporate support and even have members of Congress like Congressman Rob Bishop raising money for them (see Paul Rolly, Jan 4, 2010 Salt Lake Tribune), progressive organizations like CEP likely won't. For one thing, the CEP won't have much corporate support because we don't intend to muddy the waters on climate change or other issues, we intend to inform and educate the public and policy makers about problems facing Utah and the West and offer real solutions.
By the end of 2010 we plan on having raised the resources needed to establish a foundation that will support a progressive think tank in Utah for years to come, but we will need your support to get things rolling. With your help, we will be a resource for the public and policymakers offering information and ideas that over time can create real positive change in the lives of people across Utah and throughout the region.
By becoming a sustaining member at $5, $10, $25, $50 or more each month, you can help us build the solid small donor support needed to sustain our organization and begin the work of both creating and critically analyzing policy choices that will effect your life and the lives of your fellow citizens for generations to come.
Our goal is at least 1,000 monthly donors by the end of 2010. We know there are far more than 1,000 citizens in Utah who want to see a strong progressive non-profit presence and understand how influential it could be in shaping our state and region's future. If you think the time has come for an organization like the CEP, we ask not only for your contribution, but that you forward this email to others who share our values and ask them to join you in supporting the CEP.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. We know these are difficult times economically. However, the most difficult times are when the need for solid progressive ideas and organizing is greatest. From poverty to climate change, what happens today has serious consequences for our future.
Executive Director, Citizens Education Project
Thursday, January 28, 2010
An answer to Sutherland
From an email: