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Welcome to In an Auscape! What's an auscape? It's a word my friend Katie came up with that means "The sensation of a second stretching into a minute, a mile, or a year." Is that fresh or what? This newsletter is where I'll describe my (bi)weekly minutes, miles, and years. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
What I'm About
We're nearing the end of 2020 (thank god), and that means your inbox, like mine, is probably filled with end-of-year appeals. I've received so many, from organizations I haven't donated to in years, from organizations I've donated to once or maybe not at all, from organizations I just donated to like one minute ago.

The end of year appeal is one of the few times a year that most organizations ask their supporters for money all at once (see Giving Tuesday and annual member drives for others). It's also a competition that, honestly, nobody wins. 

But I want to tell you about my job, and use this space I love so much to ask you to help support an organization that has improved my life deeply. If you know me at all, you know that finding work that feels right has been a struggle for me. I've looked long and hard for a place that fits, where I'm supported by leadership and my values are mirrored in the values of the organization. Where I can try new things and where the pacing changes and where if I need to go to the dentist in the middle of the day, nobody's looking over my shoulder or watching the clock. 

Hand in Hand has been my work home for only a few years, but I'm thrilled by my work all the time, and I'm so grateful for that. My work feels meaningful, I have just the right amount of autonomy, and I love my colleagues. Together, we have moved policy, implemented bills that improve people's material conditions, and worked to change the culture of domestic employment.

I have always mindfully decided not to donate to my workplace. I have always felt, when working for nonprofits, that I give hours and hours of my time, often much more than I account for on paper, and that's my donation. But this year, I'm giving to Hand in Hand because I'm proud of the work we do, and the work I've done.

Pulling together trainings on anti-racism, one-to-one conversations, and civic engagement has given me incredible new skills and confidence. Creating a platform for our members to take leadership and find their voices has been an enormous thrill. And meeting people who want to testify in upcoming campaigns gives me a lift that's different from everything else in my life.

Friends, I would be honored if you joined me in giving to Hand in Hand this year. I'd be even more honored to talk more with you about how you can become more involved, especially if you hire someone who works in your home. We all need support and care, and almost everyone will employ someone in their home at some point in their lives. Making employment ethical and fair for everyone, through policy and culture, has been one of the greatest joys I never expected to have in my life. 
Who I Followed
Donation Priorities
Here's where my money goes. Did you know that Black-led organizations and grassroots community organizing nonprofts are granted the least amount of money in the nonprofit world? Check out Vu Le's Nonprofit AF article (this whole website is awesome, by the way) and then give to the small Black-led organizing projects where you live. 

Community Bail Funds - Cash Bail criminalizes poverty by keeping people in pretrial detention if they can't afford to get out. As COVID rages through jails and prisons, getting people out from behind bars is crucial. I probably don't need to tell you that the racial disparities are exactly as stark as you would expect. 

Mutual Aid Networks - Richmond Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is giving people money, food, PPE, and more. These are the items that are getting people through this brutal moment. Find the mutual aid network where you are and donate whatever they're asking for. 
Pleasure Fix
The last week has been filled with festivities, from Chanukkah celebrations to fire pits to cocktail hours on the porch. We've seen new friends and old friends, played games and shared gifts, baked and friend and shaken and stirred. There's more time, and I can't wait for every single shared moment.
As you read this: I'm making plans for my two weeks off! 
Into this newsletter? Support it! I’m on Venmo @sklar-face

Big ups to Ana Alvarez—writer, designer, cat enthusiast, and coffee whisperer—for my logo. Hire her!

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