The Foundation for a
Compassionate Society Report


The Foundation for a Compassionate Society is a feminist organization working for social change according to women's values. It was created on the premise that the social system we call "patriarchy" is responsible for the grievous problems that plague not only women, but society at large, locally, nationally and internationally. By accessing and implementing the values of other-orientation that are necessary for mothering, it is possible to create a shift of paradigms. A new economic order, and a new way of thinking, with alternative method of philosophy, psychology and politics can issue from the perspective of those human beings who are socialized to care for life rather than to dominate and destroy it.

Women's values have often been degraded and despised, made to seem products of "instinct" and exploited unmercifully. The reason for the war against mothering values is that they threaten the dominant paradigm and value of ego dominance. Perhaps even misogyny derives from the patriarchy's hatred of other-orientation. Attempts have been made by the patriarchy to neutralize these values by co opting and reproposing them as its own (an example of this is the "nurturing" done by such powerful organizations as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which "aid" developing countries but in such a way that the receivers actually nurture the givers). However, the use of force against women and other men has been the most common method by which patriarchal values have been imposed. War, economic exploitation, racial injustice, violence of all kinds derive from the model of male dominance and female submission which our society continues to broadcast at all levels in spite of the desire of many good-hearted individuals, both women and men, to change. Because the values of patriarchy continue to guide the policies of our institutions, it is difficult to identify other values strong enough to oppose them, However, the values of mothers are at least as pervasive as those of violent men and are an alternative which is already there waiting to be tried.

Unfortunately, women often believe the picture of the role of mothering that is purveyed by the patriarchy, and , disbelieve in our own value's. Because patriarchy prioritizes strength and force, we begin to value it. Because it lauds women's presumed passivity and "place in the home" we forget the continuity of nurturing values with the rest of life outside the family. The situation is that of one group which believes the point of view of another group which is parasitic upon it, while discrediting its own point of view. If the "hosts" could identify and believe in their own point of view they would be able to recognize the situation of parasitism, and begin to change the direction of their altruism away from the parasites. This, of course, threatens the other group, the parasites which does everything it can to camouflage the truth.

Here in the U.S., we in privileged groups have a responsibility to the people upon whom our system makes us parasitic and from whom we reap benefits, to do everything possible to create large scale changes. It is possible to do this by liberating women (and men) from patriarchy, not into patriarchy as has sometimes been proposed. We can take the beneficial aspects of our system and transform their use for the good of all according to the values of mothering instead of those of domination.

The patriarchy has wasted the wealth of the world on its phallic armaments and organizations, its status symbols and legal and illegal chemical methods of consensus. It does this because the profit motive requires scarcity to continue to function, and patriarchy rewards a few with a phallic "more." The "haves" require the existence of "have nots" in order to be confirmed in their privilege. Instead women, who are born without a phallic symbolic incentive, are more inclusive and other-directed. Being socialized as caretakers we learn to see others' needs and to satisfy, not exploit them. Abundance, not scarcity, is the birthright of all people on this magical planet, but scarcity is being artificially created in order to permit the power of the few over the many. The many are being weakened so that the "strong" can have power over them.

Women, those human beings who are socialized into nurturing which is distribution within the family must be in charge of distributing the goods on a wider social scale to those with the needs, so that abundance can continue privilege of the few must become cause for shame. For many years I have been developing this perspective and using my money and my time to try to implement it.

The news we see every day on television attests to the bankruptcy of the system of patriarchy. Men, women, and children with pain-wracked bodies and horrified eyes look out at us from pictures of Bosnia or Rwanda where marauding men with the armaments they bought from our first world (ego dominant) businesses have asserted their ego dominance and that of their leaders by killing, raping and maiming those who happen to belong to the "wrong" group. While we may now be beneficent towards them, sending aid individually and by government intervention, we have also ourselves been the marauders or supported them, watching airstrikes with pathological detachment or enthusiasm, when the group we were collectively attacking through our armed forces was "wrong" because in opposition to U.S., or because it had a "wrong" individual patriarchal dominant ego at its head.

To the 250,000 Iraqis who died during the Gulf War must be added another 250,000 who have died since, from disease caused by war-related destruction for example, cholera. Their equally sick and terrified faces do not stare out at us from news photos. The patriarchy is adept at covering up and causing us to avert our gaze from the terrible effects of its own violence. If we buy this paradigm and do not oppose it, we become co-responsible even if we never leave the comfort of our own homes.

As a wealthy U.S. woman, I realize I can be classified more with the perpetrators than with the victims of this violence and I desperately want to take my responsibility to end it. I also realize that it is intimately connected to the situations in our inner dues and among the poor everywhere whose voices are not heard by those who "have" because they "have not," and the "haves" who decide upon authoritarian and punitive measures to keep the "have nots" in compliance. I believe that the valves and policies of domination will never solve the problems created by domination. We must change to a paradigm of caring values, which are already there in women's individual lives everywhere, though they are made difficult, even sacrificial, because of the scarcity which patriarchy creates by waste spending. It has to create this scarcity because, in spite of its self-promotion as the bringer of wealth, it cannot efficiently function in a situation of general abundance.

By putting my money at the service of nurturing values, and trying to promote the recognition that most women are already practicing them individually, though not yet collectively, I have hoped to reveal to women and good men the existence of another way which is already there inside everyone, waiting to be implemented institutionally. Only by excluding or co opting those who have to care for others as their social role could patriarchy hope to continue its destructive rampage, even to the final destruction of Mother Earth.

To stop patriarchy, we must reevaluate the mothering ways as a model for the behavior of all and diminish the value given to ego dominance. An increase of women in public office is an important step in this direction, but as long as the women themselves espouse and support patriarchal values and cannot consciously identify an alternative value system in themselves, they will not be able to make effective and permanent changes. Moreover, the system of government itself has been so twisted and shaped by the patriarchal mentality, it is difficult for women to maintain their alternative ways when they become part of it, to change the system from a position of difference rather than from a position of sameness and compromise.

It is necessary for vast numbers of women to reclaim the lifegiving values that have allowed them to nurture life in the midst of societies based upon the kind of cruel ego dominance that many men have seen as the proper role of their gender. We have mistakenly believed that women have not imitated that ego dominance because we were too "weak." The truth is that we have been acting according to a very different-perspective. We must reclaim this perspective and promote it by supporting women in government and at all levels of society. We must also make clear to men everywhere that there is another model to follow. And we must consciously begin to alter our institutions in this direction. If we can create a paradigm shift towards these values, the people of the earth can collectively eliminate the patterns which have brought us again and again to disaster. With this approach in mind, I have concentrated my efforts in several areas. To begin with I created a donation program in which I was able to practice what I was preaching by financially nurturing many groups working for peace, feminism, inclusiveness, and the freedom of information. I took control of the fortune which I had inherited and nurtured others in the peace movement with it, thereby practicing other-oriemed values in an area in which, the scarcity created by patriarchy often disempowers women givers and diminishes possibilities of success of social change organizations. In comparison to the money spent by the right wing on maintaining the system of oppression my dollars were a pittance. However I am convinced that they had a very nurturing effect as does the money given by other progressive funders. I tried to give the money freely, without strings attach, in order to implement those values. I found this was often difficult to do. Because our consciousness around monetary things is very patriarchal, and full of psychological distress, I have tried to maintain an attitude of racial. In spite of the difficulties, I am still convinced that tree giving is the way to contradict patriarchy by promoting the alternative, mothering model.

I learned that I had a lot in common with other women activists working for peace. Even when they did not know my ideas on the subject, did not understand, or did not agree with me, they still acted in nurturing ways towards their projects and other people. I knew that the mothering way had been so discredited (or over-sentimentalized) that it was hard to bring it to consciousness or generalize its application to areas not having to do directly with children but with social problems like war, arms spending, political deceit, economic exploitation. We have been divided and conquered and our commonality as women has been driven underground so that we do not even recognize it ourselves when it is motivating us in the same direction.

In 1982, I asked my cousin Sissy Farenthold, who had already done ground breaking work as a woman in politics, to help me find groups to fund, and to take on the administration of the effort. For a long time we did the funding in what I would describe as a very capillary non-bureocratic way. I made decisions on the basis of my concept of patriarchy and how to oppose it through empowering women. Some of the groups came to my attention from Sissy's many contacts, some came through Lori Harvey, who was my assistant at that time. Others were brought by chance, "by the Goddess," as I like to think of it, and by spin-offs from the various projects in which we got involved. After the first couple of years, I was spending almost all my waking hours on the donation program and on projects I initiated or participated in personally. It was a exhilarating experience. As Jane Greer, who was Sissy's assistant in Houston and later our business administrator once said "When they talk about people living lives of quiet desperation - they are not talking about us."

One thing I am sorry about is that I remained anonymous for the first years. I had been led to think I should not say what I was doing - perhaps I was still afraid of being "unladylike." People also said that I would be deluged with requests - which hasn't happened. However, I realized that most people have so many hang-ups over money it might be very easy for them to misunderstand the whole effort. Later I decided to "risk" it anyway. I felt it was my political duty as a woman to stand up and say what I have done. It has been really rather painless though never completely comfortable which is why, I suppose, this Foundation report has been so long in coming.

The donation program is still in effect. This is the 12th year, I am giving away less money to other organizations now, and Sissy is no longer doing the administration of it. A couple of years ago we decided to consolidate everything around Austin where I lived and the Foundation has its base, so we dosed the offices in Houston and in Corpus Christi. In fact, I have given away most of my money now and the Foundation for a Compassionate Society itself absorbs whatever income I might be giving to other projects.

I began the Foundation in 1987 to coordinate the various projects that had already begun. In 1984, I first began renting Stonehaven Ranch, near San Marcos, Texas, as a place where groups working for peace and feminism could go free or at a low cost to have their meetings. I think it was Deb Slager, who managed the ranch for a long time, who invented the phrase "nurturing the nurturers." Stonehaven is a cost effective enterprise because with the salaries of two caretakers, utilities, and sometimes food, we can serve hundreds of groups, giving them the experience of a beautiful woman-led and woman-caring space in which to have their meetings. Several years ago, I finally bought Stonehaven. Margie First and Pamela Overeynder are now its excellent care-givers. For a few years we were providing the space free to groups, but now we only do that for special occasions. I am sorry we are not still providing it free for all.

The second project which later became part of the Foundation was the Austin Women's Peace House - which I began in 1985 as a women's free space in a house next door to my own in Austin. I hired a coordinator and we offered it as a meeting space for women, a place to do classes and yoga. Soon we moved it to another space and two new coordinators took the project on, Jackie Stames and Marsha Gómez, a sculptor and Native American activist. We moved the Peace House once more to Austin's East side where it could be of more service to Austin's community of color. It thrived for several years, but finally closed in 1991 when Bashira, the woman who was coordinating it at that time moved away. In 1987, when a second retreat center came up for sale on the other side of Austin, and I bought it, Marsha Gómez became its coordinator, together with Ester Martinez. With sleeping space for about 30 people and twenty acres on a stream near Lake Travis, Alma de Mujer (Soul of Woman"), as the space is called, provides a meeting place for groups working on cultural diversity, spirituality, peace and related issues. These two women have cared for this beautiful meeting space and put literally thousands of people in touch with Mother Nature's material and spiritual bounty over the years.

Meanwhile, in 1987, I bought a building in downtown Austin to serve peace and justice activists as a free office space. Called the Grassroots Peace Organizations Building, for lack of a catchier title, it is a valiant three story building in the midst of skyscrapers, on Congress Avenue (Austin's main street) from which one can see and be seen by the Capitol, which goes to show that you don't have to have an office in a phallic symbol to be effective. Over the years, a large number of groups have been housed there, some of which have been so successful they have moved on to larger quarters, some of which have folded, and some of which are still with us. Ana Sisnett, originally from Panama, was for many years the coordinator of the Peace Building and gave it the tune of inclusivity and fairness which continues today, though she herself is now working more on international networking, especially with women of color, both on and off the electronic highways.

In 1992 asked Ana to put together a delegation of women of color to go to Europe to connect with groups there and to see the status of immigration and effects of racism in those countries. With the help of Charito Basa, a Filipina immigrant activist who works for the Foundation in Rome, the delegation made many contacts and gathered useful information. The next year a second delegation went to the UN Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, and now Ana has also traveled widely to conferences in Central and South America. She is known also as Technomama," as she and activist Gisete Mills are doing computer training and networking for women of color. The two women have been attending preparatory meetings for the UN Conference in Beijing, coordinating the Foundation's activities and Media Programs for the Conference.

In 1985, I participated in the U.N. Decade for Women final conference in Nairobi, as the fonder and one of the organizers of a most interesting and creative collaborative effort, the Peace Tent. In 1984, I helped create a sort of international affinity group of some thirty women activists from fourteen countries we called it the "Feminist International for Peace and Food" (FIFP), I was able to fund, help organize, and participate in several meetings in different locations in which we discussed deeply the philosophy and strategies of feminism.

Through this project I met several women who have become long term co-workers. Ellen Diederich and Fasia Jansen from Germany have collaborated with me to create a large number of innovative projects for peace. Even before the Peace Tent they facilitated a tour of Comadres, the Mothers of the Disappeared from El Salvador, through Europe to tell the story of their oppression to heads of state, parliamentarians, and women's groups. I had already begun the El Salvador support work in 1983 sending Sissy there to meetings, and funding several fact finding tours -of union activists, of Vietnam veterans, and one of women, which I had asked Sissy to organize. When we heard that the Comadres had been denied visas to the U.S.A. to receive a peace prize, I thought the Europeans should hear their story. Ellen and Fasia organized the trip with additional organizational help from the Institute for Policy Studies. Chilean Isabel Letelier headed the Third World Women's project at IPS, to which I was also giving financial backing at the time. She and others from IPS contributed their contacts and ideas to the effort.

Shortly after the tour ended, work began for our effort at the Nairobi Conference. I was able to send many women including all the Feminist International for Peace and Food to Nairobi, as well as others who wanted to collaborate on the Peace Tent but were not part of the group, and still others (for example a group of African journalists and a group called "Development of Alternatives for Women in the New Era" (DAWNE) who were not involved in the Peace tent.

In Nairobi, the thirty women of FIPP stayed all together in a house I rented. At the conference we organized and facilitated the use of several large tents which we rented and attached to each other, as a free speech space for women from countries which were at war with each other, or in adversary situations. Along with free speech, we gave space for free expression and communication, poetry and singing, and space for displaying arts and crafts, posters, signs, and pictures of the victims of oppression. The Nairobi Conference Forum was attended by some sixteen thousand women from many nations, and many thousands of them visited the Peace Tent. Our effort was particularly important because the attempt had been made by conservative organizations to keep the issue of war and peace out of the conference as "not a women's issue.' The success of thc Peace Tent proved the contrary and set an important precedent for future meetings. Members of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and many other groups collaborated on the Peace Tent which was open to the input and energy of all. It was an enormous and very successful effort of good will and the enhancement of women's commonalities and freedom to speak the truth. There have been many re-creations of Peace Tents in many different countries and WILPF is now planning one for Beijing. I wish them great success because I believe that the issue of international violence is definitely as much a women's issue as is domestic violence. And as is the silencing of women's voices and the censoring of women's consciousness. Women must collectively address all these issues in order to have a basis for freedom.

After the Nairobi conference, Ellen and Fasia continued doing work on their own, recreating Peace Tents in European cities. Meanwhile, I bought a large camper van and Alice Wiser (Canada and U.S.) and Marsha Dc Rosa (U.S.), Gertrude Kauderer (Germany), and Carmen DeI Rio (Chile) and others drove it from town to town in the U.S., talking about the conference and about the issues of women and peace. Later, I was able to buy a van in Germany, and Ellen and Fasia drove it from Greenham Commons in England through Europe and Eastern Europe all the way lo Moscow round trip, to attend the conference on Women and Peace there in 1987. They were accompanied by other European women and were received by women in cities and villages along the way. Many of us also attended the peace conference in Moscow, which was sponsored by "Women in Development in Europe (WIDE), and in the U.S. by Women for Racial and Economic Equality" (WREE). I was again able to contribute to the travel of other women from the U.S. All of this activity took place long before the fall of the Berlin Wall and really demonstrated the strong solidarity that existed among women.

Unfortunately, in such a short space, cannot tell the story of all the innovative projects mv co-workers and I have created over the years, I necessarily have lo leave aside many of them. However, I believe I we work did for Central America, particularly El Salvador, was unusual and helpful. In 1986, for example, I funded and participated in a fact-finding trip to Central America of five US Attorney Generals, put together by Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, and facilitated by the U.S. Salvador Institute. I had introduced Jim Mattox to a Salvadoran priest a couple of years earlier and the idea came up then, though it took time for it to finally mature. From this most interesting trip, as well as from my previous experiences with the Peace Tent, it occurred to me that women from warring factions could understand each other much better than men and create a common basis of understanding. I asked Sissy and Bella Abzug and Mimi Kelber to help organize a group of prominent U.S. women to meet with the women Commandantes from the FMLV. We had the first of these meetings in Cuernavaca in 1988, and the second, affectionately called 'Cuernavaca dogs' (Organized with the help of Luz Guerra who then was working for the Foundation but now works for AFSC) in 1989. In these meetings there was much joy at coming together as women, healing the wounds caused by the war of oppression and resistance none of us wanted and trying lo understand each others point of view.

Looking back, it seems clear that the effort to allow women to communicate with each other, to tell the truth as they see it and live it, beyond the boundaries of patriarchal lies and propaganda, is particularly consistent with the idea of nurturing. lies and propaganda are the false food that glut but do not feed our hearts and minds, and cannot produce right action or, finally, a society in which not profit, but abundantly satisfying the needs of all, is the motivating force for what we do. The monopoly of the channels of information by the patriarchy is growing daily. In spite of the appearance of freedom given by the great number of sources available-they are often sources which filter out alternative information and work together to present a single picture. Patriarchy almost automatically and mechanically imposes its point of view, Creating and supporting pathways which are alternatives to the information super highways, spaces where truth-seeking women can happen upon truth-telling women, no matter the culture or class, is necessary in order to promote and keep alive the nurturing paradigm. The core of communication, which can be trusted, comes from the touchstone of women's daily lives where the lies play out economically in personal cost, when the means of nurturing are not available, {footnote. (The means of production and consumption are basic patriarchal economic categories, while the means of nurturing are not considered because this is a process that has to do with the needs of the other, Patriarchal economics is based on the hypothesis that self interest motivates life and does not recognize the motivation other-orientation-which is not in agreement with that hypothesis). This core must be saved, blown upon like a hot coal, to keep the fire alive. I have often thought that fire was like communication, in that it is something that can be given to others abundantly, without losing it oneself, This is one of the reasons that I wanted to use the name FIRE, which stands for the Feminist International Radio endeavor, for the shortwave radio program I initiated and continue to support in Costa Rica. This two hour daily program, one hour in English and one in Spanish, allows women to speak their truths, to hear each other address major problems, whether they are peasants or professors.

Now in its fourth year of operation on Radio for Peace International, a shortwave station that can be heard all over the world, FIRE is run by a team of four wonderful feminists from Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Chile, and the US. It is a channel for a South-North perspective, while the flow of information usually follows the path of dominance, from North to South. The FIRE team often goes to women's conferences to teach women about the use of radio, and show them that their own voices can have an equal impact with those of men.

Technomama is a computer networking and teaching project that performs a service similar to FIRE'S at conferences, making computer technology available to women, especially to women of color. Ana Sisnett and Gisele Mills implement this project, traveling widely and making many contacts to put women in touch with each other. These projects counteract the mystification of the technology of communication, allowing women an access to resources which otherwise are falsely defined as 'too difficult" for them.

WATER, Women's Access to Technological Resources, is a project designed by Deborah Hill to teach women from different backgrounds and nations to create, shoot and edit video programs. The project is located in Austin, in the WATER house which also provides sleeping space for women coming from out of town to learn. Computer networking is taught there by Ana Sisnett, while Frieda Werden, who started WINGS, the Women's International Newsgathering Service in 1986 together with Katherine Davenport, teaches radio production. While WINGS, which is a program of international women's news, syndicated to some 80 stations, is not a Foundation project, however it receives Foundation support.

'Let the People Speak' is a weekly television program on Austin Community Access Television created by Trella Laughlin, which I have been supporting since 1985 Trella became a member of the Foundation staff in 1988. Originally produced in an interview format, the program has given a space for the presentation of the views of local and international activists and thinkers from different cultures and situations. I have sent Trella and others to video important women's conferences and to travel to other countries as the video element of fact-finding delegations. The programs produced from these trips provide a point of view that is not available in the mainstream media. Trella also produces the video documentation of many conferences put on by the Foundation, so that the information made available there is also provided to the larger community through Community Access Television.

An analogy to gift giving for social change may be found in arts for social change. There the gift, or talent is given, also with a multiplier effect, to inspire and inform. Many of the women in the Foundation are artist-activists. Marsha G6mez, is a renowned sculptor. Chilean, Liliana Wilson, who does all our graphics creates powerful paintings of social criticism. Ari Chagoya, Maria Limon, Ana Sisnett, and Frieda Werden, are accomplished poets, Ruthe Winegarten is a prolific and highly respected author of books in women's history, as well as a poet. Activist performance art is the gift of Sally Jacques, who has the ability to involve large numbers of the public in symbolic performance statements about issues such as war, AIDS, greed, violence and pollution. With lyricism and grit, Sally organizes many Foundation activities, while continuing to do her own performance and dance work. Her commitment to bringing social issues to the attention of the artistic community gives a wide scope to her interaction with the public.

When I first went to protest the nuclear test site in Nevada in 1986, it occurred to me that it would be important to create a symbol of women's love of the earth to be a constant presence there. I talked this over with Marsha Gómez, and she agreed to create a sculpture to place near the test site. "Madre del Mundo," is now an internationally known and beloved image of Mother Earth. The government would not allow her to stay at the test site, and confiscated her. We were able to free her from their warehouse by paying her fine, and she now graces a knoll at our Alma de Mujer retreat center.

During this period I realized that the test site was an appropriate location for a temple I had long wanted to build to the Egyptian goddess of fertility and rage, Sekhmet. A promise I had made to the goddess when I was in an Egyptian temple long ago, resulted in the birth of my first daughter. Since radiation damages the structure of our genes, it seemed appropriate to honor their true structure and the life-giving capacity of Mother Earth and all her creatures, in that location.

In 1992 was finally able to buy a piece of land on the highway near the test site, which I gave back to the Western Shoshone, to whom it originally belonged. They agreed to let us build a small temple and meditation space there. I asked Marsha to create a statue of Sekhmet, bringing the goddess back into our contemporary culture after several thousand years. This statue, as well as another casting of Madre del Mundo now reside in the temple.

Eco-architect, Molly Nieman, designed the temple, while a young people's affinity group, CHAOS, did the actual construction, staying in the desert the months required to bring it to completion. Pamela Overeynder was the main temple building organizer, while Jody Dodd, and Yolanda Reyes also contributed much time and effort. A dome made of copper hoops has recently been constructed and installed by Richard Cottrell. This year Cynthia Burkhardt has been the temple keeper, tending it as a sacred space and helping to organize events with the Shoshone, as well as womens' spirituality ceremonies. Patricia Pearlman will take over the temple keeper's job when Cynthia follows her path to other activities in November. Visitors are welcome at the temple and are asked only to treat it with respect.

For many years I have been convinced that the image of the Divine Feminine, is an important element of feminist consciousness and the restoration of the gift paradigm. I have attempted to bring women from the movement for Women's Spirituality, to our retreat centers and involve them in our activities. Several years ago I met Patricia Cuney, who had begun to create large and very successful Goddess Conferences. I was impressed by her organizational abilities and finally asked her to work with us and to manage the Stonehaven Goddess Program, which makes national speakers and teachers of workshops available to women in this area.

It has been important to try to maintain multi-culturalism in our spirituality work. When I first came to Austin inl983, I met Shamaan Ochauum, a spiritual teacher deeply committed to healing the divisions among the races. In 1992 was able to ask her to assume responsibility for an alternative healing center which we called the "Living Well". India Donovan, was brought by the Goddess to join her team at that time, and Ari Chagoya, who had first worked on the video projects and then at the Peace building, coon joined them. Patti Salas, a young activist midwife, recently moved back to Austin, after several years co directing the Casa de Colores project in Brownsville, and has become the fourth person working at the Well. Patti first began working for the Austin Women's Peace House back in 1987, which makes her one of the Foundation's oldest associates, though she is one of its youngest in chronological age. While at Casa de Colores Patti, and co director, Chicana arts activist Helga Garcia Garza, increased their knowledge and commitment to the "Méxica" spiritual tradition, traveling often to the interior of Mexico, to participate in ceremonies and trainings there.

I have tried to mention as many as possible of the Foundation's activities. One international project that I would like to say something about before closing is the work of Carmen del Rio in Chile. Over the years she has created soup kitchens in the poblaciones in Santiago, started a women's anti-military organization, and most recently, set up study groups among poor women on AIDS.

Since 1987, the on-going projects I have been describing have been gathered together legally under the name of the Foundation for a Compassionate Society, a not-for-profit, private operating foundation. The donation program functions through the Foundation for a Compassionate Society Donation Fund. The name "Compassionate Society" implies not that we are particularly compassionate individuals - though we do our best in that personal direction - but that society itself, and its institutions must become more compassionate. "Compassion" does not mean only sympathy or pity. Rather, it means changing the conditions of cruelty-first so that cruelty is not promoted as a value, justified by the need for survival-in-scarcity, or for macho self assertion. Second, it means creating institutions that are based on women's nurturing values for the common good, so that the model of the satisfaction of human needs, rather than the model of ego dominance and accumulation may be implemented and rewarded at all levels, from the individual to the planetary.

The Foundation is based in the Grassroots Peace Organizations Building in Austin, though it has its administrative offices in Kyle, Texas. The administration of the financial side of all these activities is a demanding job which is necessary to create a transitional form, an organization nurturing social change, which can survive as an organization within the patriarchal economy of exchange. Yana Bland Ph.D. and San Juanita Alcala make this possible as the excellent facilitators of this office. I first met Yana when I went to Malta in 1989, as part of a delegation of Women for Meaningful Summits, to be present while Bush, and Gorbachev, were meeting there. Mother Nature was also present at that summit. She caused a major storm the moment the ship of the heads of state arrived, which ceased the moment they left. Perhaps it was Mother Nature who inspired Yana, who is Maltese, and an economist, to begin an Association of Women of the Mediterranean Region, to try to improve environmental and social conditions in that area. When her travels brought Yana to the U.S., I was able to enlist her uncommon energy in support of the Foundation's complicated internal financial workings and fiscal seaworthiness. San Juanita Alcala, provides wise and warmhearted budget control. Both women struggle with the large quantities of paperwork which are necessary to feed the bureaucratic beast. Mary Nell Mathis, a Certified Public Accountant, in Austin, watches over our bottom line with maternal encouragement. Ruthe Winegarten courageously assists me with correspondence, grants and other Foundation business.

Over the years we have attempted a few for-profit ventures, under the name 'Change of Heart' Inc. Among the was a cause related store of Indigenous products called "The Four Directions', first located here in Austin. 15% of the purchase price went to causes chosen by the customer from a list provided by the store. I also opened one in Rome, in 1992, with the help of some women I had known when I lived there, Teresina Carracoi and Elena Angeletti, as well as my daughter Emma. The reasoning behind this store was to bring Native American products to the country of Columbus, in the 500th year of the commemoration of his invasion of their territory, the Americas. The store is still prospering there. Another Four Directions store was begun in Germany, by Ellen and Fasia, and they are making it work as part of their cultural center. Unfortunately, the store here in Austin proved to be too expensive and we had to close.

Sometimes I support activists work without going through the Foundation which avoids bureaucratic glitches. The work of activists Susan Lee and Erin Rogers, has been done in this way, since they are dealing particular with the issues of breast cancer and nuclear radiation, with special emphasis on changing policies regarding nuclear dumping and nuclear power plants.

Each of the projects I have described, and each of the persons I have mentioned, provide support for still other people who arc working for social change. I believe that being part of this community of dedicated women gives us all a heart connection to each other, to a world wide movement for peace and to a future where all can live peace and abundance. I appreciate everyone who has put time and energy into this work and feel blessed to have been a part of it. It is my conviction that most people in their hearts long for a way to solve the problems that a plaguing humanity. This is a way. I invite you to listen to your heart and to join us. We need your financial support.

- Genevieve Vaughan