Updated: May 26, 2021
Mary Lasker was a Manhattan socialite who used her wealth and political connections to get government funding for the War on Cancer and the growth of the National Institutes of Health. She’s famous for saying “Without money, nothing gets done” – a powerful truth as meaningful for bottom-up campaigns as for medical research. Hard as it is to admit, few long-term advocacy groups or large-scale campaigns or progressive media and public education efforts survive for long without funding – which often means a dedicated patron or two. Even the amazing grass-roots funding operation created around the Bernie Sanders campaign was pulled over the top by a relatively small set of major donors. It is a central strategic challenge for democratic movements.