Longtime Eugene activist and MRG donor Dan Goldrich has come full circle to recognize that our greatest opportunity to save the planet is to build strong, creative, and powerful communities. “The state of our society is so deteriorated that we have to create community,” explains Dan. “And the good side is that the community is both a means and an end.”
Dan’s activism began as a teenager in the 1940s, when he went to American Friends Service Committee work camps in the Ozarks and Harlan County, Kentucky. This put him in contact with people very different from himself, and got him interested in community organizing as a means of creating change.
His commitment to justice took him from the Ozarks to Alaska, Mexico and then Chile, where as a young professor, he spent several years in the 1960s observing, learning about and being inspired by local political work. “There was so much organizing: farm workers and urban homeless people, the community was so politically literate,” he says. “It was a hopeful and contentious time — it was intoxicating.”
Dan planted roots in Eugene in the 1960s, and was around for the founding years of the Community Alliance of Lane County and their work against the Vietnam War. He also stayed committed to the people of Latin America. “I wasn’t going to be an onlooker or just an academic but a participant,” he says. “I needed to work here at home.”
Because of his activist work, Dan was invited to the original gathering in 1976 where MRG was founded. In the decades since then, he’s stayed connected to MRG, involved most recently on the Peace Fund Grantmaking Committee.
As Dan reflects on his time as a grantmaker, he notes, “I got to see that there are communities doing great work.” And it’s not without its challenges. “I’m forced to pay attention to issues I don’t know about and see groups working in ways I couldn’t imagine. That’s inspiring. A lot of times MRG’s leaders and grantees change my mind.”
Dan has been an MRG donor for decades, and his donations have supported communities across the state of Oregon.
“I’m hopeful because I have seen and experienced people working together and building community. Working with and taking care of one another and our place in nature brings out our humanity.”
Thank you, Dan, for your ongoing commitment to MRG’s community!