“I wanted to go south in 1963, to Alabama, to join the Civil Rights Movement. I was an 8-year-old Ohioan and my parents said no. I bided my time and at 15 joined a group of young people who helped close down Applecreek State Hospital at the dawn of the Deinstitutionalization Movement.”
Rebecca O. Johnson first learned the value of technical assistance to a grassroots community organization over 30 years ago, when she was Board President of the Contact Center in Cincinnati. She witnessed how knowledge that is provided in ways that respected the needs and learning styles of adults increased skills, improved community organizing strategies, and gave the low-income African-American women who made up the board a more complex sense of what it means to gain, have and use power. At the Contact Center, these women also taught Rebecca how to do grassroots fundraising, one thrift store bag sale and Appalachian barbecue rib sale at a time.
Rebecca has worked almost exclusively with grassroots community-based organizations, including organizing with immigrant and refugee women of color in Boston seeking to gain access to and control of income, and the Women of Color Fundraising Institute (WOCFI). She has also served as the first technical assistance provider for one of the first foundation-based TA programs, at the Boston Women’s Fund (BWF).
The Women of Color Fundraising Institute grew out of her experience providing technical assistance at BWF and sought to provide a high quality, intensive, progressive fundraising, financial management and economics education for women of color with leadership roles in small organizations. Over fifty organizations benefited from WOCFI. Rebecca’s fund development experience is wide-ranging, from the aforementioned thrift store sales to serving as primary fundraiser for several projects, raising money from private foundations, development of fee for service opportunities and individual donor cultivation. Rebecca is a core consultant with RoadMap Consulting, which provides capacity building services to social justice organizations and alliances. She has worked with environmental justice organizations through the Gulf Coast Fund and Environmental Support Center in addition to her personal consulting practice.
Rebecca provides focused, intensive services to the organizations with whom she works.
Rebecca lives in New York. Photo credit: Craig Bailey, Perspective Photo, Boston, MA.