Greek myths if they were set in the nonprofit sector, Part 3

Written by Vu Le

Hi everyone, before we get into today’s blog post, a couple of things. If you’re free this Thursday March 28th at 11am Pacific Time, join me and Nonprofit VOTE for Rally the Sector: Nonprofits and Election 2024. We’ll be talking about nonprofits and the role we play in getting people to vote. It’ll be fun! Register here. It’s free, and automated captions will be available.

Also, please let me know that you got (or didn’t get) email notification of this blog post. It’s been weeks of tech issues, with no one getting notifications for two months, and I hope it’s finally resolved now.

This week, we have more Greek myths if they were set in nonprofit and philanthropy. Make sure to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Jason and the Golden Fleas

Jason was an Executive Director of a nonprofit who, of course, needed funding for his organization’s work. He was told he needed to go on a long and arduous quest to find the Golden Fleas, which are small grants that are burdensome and time-wasting, like a grant for 10,000 drachmas that required an LOI and full proposal with bespoke budget. Across many long years, he collected a handful of these Golden Fleas. They sustained his organization’s work (barely), but they were unpredictable and each usually died after a year, forcing Jason to search for other Golden Fleas forever, the end.   


Medusa was a nonprofit leader who spent years running various organizations. One day, she realized that while programs and services were vital, they were not enough to address the systemic issues that caused these programs and services to be needed in the first place. She believed her organization, and the entire sector, needed to do more advocacy work. So she set out to meet with funders, hoping to convince them to fund systems change.  

And a horrifying thing happened. Everyone she met with froze, as if they had been turned to stone. Funders who had been friendly before now became cold and unreadable. They averted their eyes and ran away screaming; the ones who weren’t fast enough when Medusa approached mumbled about legalities and general counsels and mission drift and not having enough funding in the budget. Despondent, Medusa retreated to her lair. Few visited her. Eventually she became a real estate agent.

Read full article here.

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About the author

Vu Le

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former Executive Director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.

Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.

Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com.