Why Grants Should be Eliminated with Vu Le of Nonprofit AF

Vu Le of Nonprofit AF discusses grant writing challenges

I met Vu Le at the Grant Writing Professionals conference in D.C. We talked after his wonderful keynote. I love his fresh outlook on the grant process and progressive nonprofits!

Vu and I discuss:

  • Race and gender inequality in nonprofits and grants
  • Vu’s own nonprofit, RVC, and how they help diverse communities
  • Funding for conservative nonprofits vs progressive
  • How to get funding for progressive projects
  • The weaponization of logic models
  • How we can improve grant processes
  • Why grants should be eliminated altogether
  • Vu’s blog at Nonprofit AF and keeping things relatable
  • Finding balance with your work and creative passions
  • What’s next for Vu!

Vu’s Top Quotes:

“Animal missions, parks, environmental… yes, these are all important. But that also means that we are not addressing things that wealthy individuals don’t want to think about because it makes them uncomfortable. For example, systemic racism, or the fact that we have kids in cages right now.”

“We have to do a better job talking about these issues and lifting up these important things”

“Imagine a food bank is like ‘We know there are lots of hungry people but we only have so much to go around so we’re just going to ask poor people to write essays and talk about how hungry they are. And we’re going to score them on a rubric of how good their essays are and then we’ll give food that way.’”

“We basically treat nonprofits the way that society treats poor people. Like, ‘We’ll help you, you’re poor, you need money, but we don’t actually trust you to buy food because we just think you’re going to buy beer or hot Cheetos.’”

“All funding should be general operating funds because I think I’m reaching a point now where I believe that restricted funding is becoming unethical. Because it is preventing us from doing work that would save lives.”

Vu’s Bio:

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former Executive Director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.

Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.

Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com, formerly nonprofitwithballs.com.

Connect with Vu:


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