To frontline workers,
To others who have been a part of FPYN,
To youth and communities,
To others in the sector who are really trying to change things sometimes from the inside and sometimes from the outside,
We have some pretty big/drastic news about the future of FPYN to share with you. We know this letter could have a deep impact on many people, so at the end there is an invitation to respond.
What's happening to FPYN as an organization
The “organizational part” of FPYN is on its way out. Our various grants have ended. The FPYN office is gone and there are no paid team members as of the end of April. The mishmash and website are also up in the air. The currently remaining paid FPYN person, Yumi, is focusing on closing the final grant, removing FPYN from the Tides administrative platform, and recording the history and lessons she's learned in her time with FPYN.
Over the past year, we worked hard to get new grants. In fact, the quest for money began to shape our activities and our outlook. We started to bend FPYN to the search, instead bending the search to FPYN. And FPYN began to change.
It doesn’t help that the sector's funding and organizational models make it nearly impossible to closely follow, nurture and sustain the energy of all the beautiful impulses we have. We spent so much time behaving out of fear, like so many organizations are led to do by the set-up of the sector, that we lost our way. We tried to do things "correctly". Turns out "correctly doesn't work.
In the end, we did not find grants that matched what FPYN really is, or what FPYN tried to become.
We are sorry
We are sorry we got caught up in the game of this sector. In the last year we got focused on the wrong things - talking, planning, going after grants, more talking, more planning. We are sorry for slipping into corporate-speak and for heading towards institutionality.
We know that frontline workers felt the disconnect. We are sorry for not naming all of this sooner.
We forgot to listen. We forgot how. We forgot ourselves and what FPYN felt like. We forgot that we are already truly sustainable if we listen to each other and tell the truth.
So, in a way, FPYN is returning to sustainability. We are telling the truth.
So what's left?
Frontline workers are left. Frontline workers who are the heart of the sector and hold the belief in young people that very few others seem to in this city (and beyond).
In a nutshell - FPYN is left! Just as it started. People who are courageous, fiercely honest and know how to love with brilliance.
A part of FPYN is dying. And maybe it's time - maybe it makes room. Maybe FPYN is just so damn strong it pushes out anything that doesn't align with its purpose and its movement - that doesn't match it's spirit.
Maybe FPYN will be quiet for awhile and re-emerge in a new form. Maybe FPYN will pass gracefully, and the seeds planted in the past 8 years will grow into new projects and groups.
...Or maybe this is too optimistic.
Some of us are freaked out, some of us are struggling with shame and guilt. Some are relieved, others are confused. Some of us are fighting mad. Some of us are grieving. We are a big mix of things.
FPYN is us, so what happens next?
So many of you hold the heart and soul of FPYN.
If you want to share your feelings and thoughts - of anger, sadness, confusion, relief, ideas of where should we go from here, or whatever - you can write to Keli at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please respond. We would like to post some of your responses on the FPYN website. Let us know if we can post your response and/or if you want it to be anonymous.
This letter has been collectively written by past and present, paid and unpaid members, some past stewardship group and steering committee members and is the result of many conversations.
With so much love,
Yumi, Keli, Myia, Franz, and Jenny and others that love FPYN