We’re announcing today that the Invisible Children you’ve known is drastically changing. We are downsizing the bulk of our U.S. programs and operations at the end of the year to prioritize our political advocacy and central Africa programs through 2015.
Whether you slept outside with us in 2006 at the Global Night Commute to protest the use of child soldiers, rallied in the streets of DC for the passage of a bill that would make it U.S. law to capture Joseph Kony, surrounded Oprah Winfrey’s studio in Chicago to get the LRA story on the news, attended one of our 15,000+ film screenings or a Fourth Estate Conference: you built Invisible Children, so we want to share some news with you.
When our three founders got on a plane with a camera in 2003, they never imagined that the story they found would lead to this incredible journey. And sitting here eleven years later, we cannot believe how much we’ve been able to accomplish with all of you. But despite making incredible progress towards our mission, it’s been difficult to fund the breadth of our work, especially over the last two years.
So based on our current financial projections, we have decided that the best decision is to shut down the media and mass-awareness efforts in the U.S. and to focus all remaining funds (and future fundraising) on the execution of our most essential programs. We will also be handing off ownership of our Ugandan programs and offices to regional partners.
What this will look like going forward
Because of this decision, things are going to look a lot different. We won’t be visiting your school in vans, we won’t be making new videos or selling T-shirts. We won’t be hosting major awareness events, benefit concerts or grassroots fundraisers. Invisible Children will be moving out of our San Diego office and the majority of our staff will be let go, including our current executive staff.
What you will get in 2015 is a lean, experienced team doing the hard work in the trenches on Capitol Hill and in the heart of central Africa, maintaining the critical programs that are protecting communities targeted by the LRA and helping those in captivity safely find their way home.
We know that the momentum we all have created can still be a powerful force, with or without the walls of a building. We believe in the integrity of this movement and that your commitment will endure with or without a trending hashtag. So, we are going back to where we started, a bunch of littles in a ragtag posse, volunteering to act when called upon.
How we’re dealing with it
We won’t lie, it hurts to let go of this part of our work. But we are so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together: a 92% reduction in LRA killings in the last 3 years, 1.8 million displaced people returned to their communities, 2,659 people abducted by the LRA returned to their families in the last four years, 11 Ugandan schools rebuilt, 6,000+ Ugandan scholarships awarded, 3.7 million pledges delivered, two bills passed through U.S. Congress, and so much more. Your voice and work has made (and continues to make) all the difference, and we are forever grateful for your choice to join us in this journey.
We hope that you are proud of the decision we are making. We believe it is the best way forward for supporting an end to this conflict.
What we need from you
Currently, we need to fundraise $150,000 to keep a small team in the U.S. and Africa to continue the most essential programs through 2015. If we fall short, these programs will end before our work is completed. Every dollar we raise in the next few months will go toward our Finishing Fund and will enable us to responsibly handover our programs to local community partners by 2016.
If you’re able to help right now, this is what we need you to do:
Donate to the Finishing Fund – We need to raise $150,000 by December 31st to support the continued operations of Invisible Children’s most essential protection, defection, and advocacy programs through 2015.
Join CITIZEN – This volunteer activist network will be called upon for political advocacy initiatives. All it takes is your email and your voice, and we’ll alert you when we need you to speak up and contact your representatives in Washington.
We’re firing ourselves, but we’re not quitting. Because we won’t stop until every captive man, woman, and child is out of the LRA.